Denning’s 7 Great Principles – Communication
The computer scientist Peter Denning has suggested seven different aspects of computational thinking which he calls 7 Great Principles. The majority of these principles are manifested into modern-day computing and information technology and provide a good structure for new applications within computing/IT wishing to become successful.
One of these principles is that of communication. This is how we can transmit information between entities reliably, securely and efficiently. The way in which communication is achieved is by using information which can be encoded into messages, these messages are encoded into signals that move through a medium. Communication is used in almost every application within computing and IT, this is partly due to the diversity of communication and how information can be digitally encoded into various types of message. Weather this is sending written data, audio files, pictures or videos information can be encoded, compressed or even hidden in order to communicate.
Over the last 50 years the principle of communication has had many achievements. Inventions such as the mobile phone, fax and email have all required the use of encoded messages from information. In order for these inventions to be successful at communicating reliability, security and efficiency must all be optimized as well. For instance a mobile phone must be able to compute the correct recipient to send data to otherwise the communication would not be reliable. It would also have to take into account the data inputted my the user sending the message (in this case being able to accurately record their voice) again for reliability of the communication. The message would also have to be encoded into signals which could be passed through the air and be re-encoded into the original message for the recipient of the message to be able to hear. This would have to be done almost instantaneously in order to maintain efficiency and the message would also have to be private for it to be secure. All of these expectations are met with the invention of the mobile phone and therefore proves it to be a successful achievement with the principle of communication.
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In 1970, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency started a network of computers that exchanged digital packets rather than traditional analogue signals. The network routers dynamically selected any available path to send packets to their destination, and the receiving computers reassembled the packet streams into the original messages. This ARPANET was the beginning of the modern Internet. Its ability to dynamically reconfigure its routes made it easily extensible and its ability to resend packets made it highly error tolerant. The Internet has become the world’s largest distributed communication, retrieval, and computing system.
An example of where communication is used within a modern application domain is within websites that deal with online auctions. For instance within an online auction the protocols for communication have to be established along with the reliability and security of the information being sent between users of the website. Protocols of communication would consist of data being sent between the buyer and the sellers on the website as well as the general public using the internet. Types of communication would be things such as the seller advertising their product to the potential buyers, this would include pictures of the item along with a description and starting bid. The buyers could also have the ability to make a bid on the advertised item of however much they want and be able to re-bid if someone else offered a higher price. The buyer could also communicate with the buyer with any questions or queries about the item they wish to buy. Communications should be made to notify the buyer who won the item and allow them to then communicate with their online banking account in order to transfer money to the seller. As well as all these forms of communication involved in buying and selling, other forms of communication would have to be made for advertising outside of the website to the general population in order for them to communicate with the website themselves.
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As mentioned before reliability has to be taken into account when using communication, especially when a users bank account details are being taken into account. Communications between buyers and sellers will have to be kept accurate and kept constantly recorded. So that communications are sent to the right people at the right time and therefore clean transactions are made during bidding. This could be done by using an account system when each buyer and seller has to make an account documenting all their details which they have to use. This gives the communications a direct path so that messages will be reliable and efficient.
As well as this security is a big factor in an auction website. Users need to be able to send money to their sellers without anyone intercepting this information and potentially stealing their bank details along with other personal information needed to make the transaction. A high level of communication security can be achieved if the information in a communication is hidden so that unwanted viewers of the communicated information have a very low probability of finding the data. A way of doing this is to use encryption on important communicated data. This uses a computation that converts messages into ciphers which are under the control of one or more keys. This gives a high level of security within communications and only allows decryption by a fast algorithm if the receiver has the necessary keys.
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Overall the principle of computing is a very important one when done correctly by taking into account reliability, efficiency and security. If this wasn’t achieved the biggest websites today within Web 2.0 such as such as eBay and social networking sites such as Facebook would not be possible without principle of communication.