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Scrum: Subsumption Architecture and Emergent Behavior

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  • Jeff Sutherland
    Yesterday I posted an article on the birth of Scrum that generated some questions on Rodney Brooks subsumption architecture. See
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 14, 2004
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      Yesterday I posted an article on the birth of Scrum that generated
      some questions on Rodney Brooks' subsumption architecture. See
      http://jeffsutherland.com/scrum

      One could argue that Agile processes emerge architectures by building
      the simplest possible thing and evolving into more complex behavior
      by implementing close connection of developers to code, pre-organized
      patterns of behavior, simple refactoring techniques, no central
      control, no shared representation, and short daily meetings with face
      to face communications.

      This sounds remarkably similar to the University of Michigan AI Lab
      Cliff Notes on Rodney Brooks:

      Brooks reasons that the Artificial Intelligence community need not
      attempt to build "human level" intelligence into machines directly
      from scratch. Citing evolution as an example, he claims that we can
      first create simpler intelligences, and gradually build on the
      lessons learned from these to work our way up to move complex
      behaviors.

      Brooks' Subsumption architecture was designed to provide all the
      functionality displayed by lower level life forms, namely insects.
      Using a common house fly as an example, Brooks claims that creatures
      at this level of intelligence have attributes such as close
      connection of sensors to actuators, pre-wired patterns of behavior,
      simple navigation techniques, and are "almost characterizable as
      deterministic machines". The Subsumption architecture provides these
      capabilities through the use of a combination of simple machines with
      no central control, no shared representation, slow switching rates
      and low bandwidth communication.

      Anyway, for those who had questions on Brooks concepts, the links are
      now posted on my Scrum site.

      Jeff Sutherland
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