Across many industries, a common theme is emerging: the complexity of systems we wish to understand is growing at an alarming rate. Sometimes this increase in complexity is intentional; for example, the addition of new control parameters on cars to increase fuel economy or engine power. In other cases, such as patient drug trials, the complexity is inherent, and the challenge is to take more of this complexity into account to come to a better understanding of the experimental data collected.
November / December 2002
Widespread adoption of the PC over the past 20 years has given rise to a new way for scientists to measure and automate the world around them - virtual instrumentation. Today, virtual instrumentation is coming of age, with engineers and scientists using 'virtual instruments' in literally hundreds of thousands of applications around the globe, resulting in faster application development, higher quality products, and lower costs.
One of the most notoriously unfulfilled promises of the computer age has been the idea that the advent of electronic technology would usher in the era of the 'paperless office'. The reverse has happened - computers mean that we generate more paperwork in the office, not less - with the result that the very phrase 'the paperless office' has become something of a standing joke. It is a brave move on the part of several LIMS companies therefore, to come up with a modified version of that promise.
Some people are hailed for their discoveries or inventions, but those who made them possible are often forgotten. Paul Messina has not been forgotten. A distinguished computer scientist in his own right - but where he really made his mark is in getting things done. Those who give out research grants trust Messina, because he delivers.