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System Design and Structuring

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Brian RandellORCiD


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The task of implementing a large and sophisticated computing system is often unduly costly and time-consuming, with the resulting system exhibiting inadequate performance and reliability, because of excessive system complexity. Such complexity can be reduced significantly by ensuring that the system is constructed out of a well-chosen set of largely independent components, which interact in well-understood ways. However, the task of structuring a system, i.e. of choosing and defining appropriate components, can be very difficult. This paper describes a technique of system structuring which involved distinguishing the functionality which a system is intended to have from other desirable attributes, such as reliability and security, and then using separate components to provide each of these attributes. Various UNIX-based systems which have been implemented at Newcastle are used to illustrate this structuring technique.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Randell B

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Computer Journal

Year: 1986

Volume: 29

Issue: 4

Pages: 300-306

ISSN (print): 0010-4620

ISSN (electronic): 1460-2067

Publisher: Oxford University Press


DOI: 10.1093/comjnl/29.4.300


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