Beauty in Science, Technology, and IoT

Richard Gate - Technical Lead for ObjectSpectrum

December 1, 2022

Firstly, a little early but Merry Christmas to all. It’s a beautiful time of year for me talk about beauty in the context of simplicity, elegance, symmetry, and information.

Recently I was at a business networking get-together and had a very interesting conversation with a Business Coach, Mentor, and Consultant. An all-in-one package rather than three individuals that is. It is always good to talk to people from different fields from your own, as completely different perspectives can be gained. His background was in healthcare and human performance, with an interest in helping individuals and teams draw the dots between their psychological habits and their state of physical and mental health. Whereas mine is in solid science and technology. These may appear to be different worlds but, as it turned out, there was considerable overlap. Particularly in the formation of ideas and concepts, and in the inherent beauty in their development in the human mind. He was also qualified in Traditional Chinese Medicine, Acupuncture, and Chinese patent herbal medicines.

This took the conversation into some more spiritual aspects of the beauty and holistic nature of Chinese philosophy and medicine. I ended up explaining how the world of Theoretical Physics also had a spiritual nature in the beauty of the theorems and how they evolved. In particular, I talked about an old lecture I had seen recently by Richard Feynman, an American Theoretical Physicist who was particularly known for his work on Quantum Theory and Particle Physics. One of the areas covered in the lecture was the discovery of a sub-atomic particle called the Omega-Minus Baryon. Much like laying out the chemical elements into the “Periodic Table of Elements”, which shows the elements grouped together by similar properties and allowed the prediction of hither-to-undiscovered elements, sub-atomic particles could be grouped and laid out in diagrams that “pointed” to the existence of further sub-atomic particles. An inverted pyramid diagram of existing sub-atomic particles “pointed” to the new Omega-Minus Baryon. A beautiful method for prediction.

I must apologize for the complexity of the above, but you can just let it wash over you and look at the diagrams because the point is that out of the complexity there are beautiful results that Physicists “expect” to discover. Simple schemes are looked for because that’s the best way to go. Simplicity and elegance are always the best and this applies to IT and IoT systems just as much as Chinese Philosophy and Particle Physics.

Looking for beauty and simplicity in IT Systems, and particularly in IoT Systems, with their inerrant large quantities of data, leads you to the best solutions. Receiving data from IoT devices and producing useful information from the data is in itself a beautiful process. Raw data is like the sea of elements before being organized into the Periodic Table, which gives you information about the structure of the elements. Organizing raw IoT data into graphical representations, literally allows you to see the patterns in the data and make predictions about outcomes. Having a simple means of organizing this data makes this happen quickly. If you must create reams of computer language code to analyze the data, it will be very time-consuming, and making small changes to the presentation and analytics will take far too long. Therefore, your data presentation and analysis system must be very flexible and built on a platform that does all the “heavy lifting” for you. Receiving data and making it available for analysis should just happen with only the simplest definitions of where your data comes from and where it is going. The graphical display of the data should use a “declarative” method to control how the data is presented, in which you just specify how it looks and let the platform do the work of showing you the results. Parameters that control what is displayed would be simply entered into the system. Selecting a date range for the data, for example, or highlighting values outside of an acceptable range allows you access to the underlying information that can be hidden in raw data.

Getting useful information from raw data coming from IoT devices is a beautiful thing because, after all, it’s the information, not the raw data, that delivers value.

Have a Beautiful Christmas!