Methodology Development and Real Success Story for application of TRIZ in IT/SW field
"- - 2007"

Methodology Development and Real Success Story for application of TRIZ in IT/SW field

Kim SungCheol*, Korea; Sergey Antonov, Russia;
Vassili Leniashin, Russia; Song MiJeong, Korea
* Corresponding author: fexit@samsung.com



Abstract: It is not so easy to do transformation from initial situation to problem statement for IT/SW stumbling block. Moreover, sometimes it is very different from all recommendation of classical TRIZ. We consider in our article some aspects of TRIZ application in IT/SW field for system design and algorithm design. As the result, some elements of customized TRIZ methodology were developed for IT/SW designing through the TRIZ activities performed in Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology(SAIT).

1. Introduction

Information Technology(IT) is defined as a total of means of technologies of hardware(HW) and software(SW) for constructing the information-technical system, and including technical device and general information system, the information-technical system is defined as the technical system for acquiring, processing, storing and transferring the information to a person. In other words, the information-technical system can be also defined as the system that achieves technological purpose that senses, processes, stores, transfers, and represents the information by using laws of natural science and information technology(information theory, communication theory, etc) to offer beneficial functions to human through information.

IT/SW technology has the special properties as follow.

1. SW technology corresponds to Control part in technical system of Figure 1. (A)

2. SW technology plays an important role on representing the analog world into the digital world. (B)

A. From the TRIZ viewpoint, the technical system[1] is represented as Figure 1. the technical system is defined as system that achieves technological purpose by using laws of natural science to offer beneficial functions to human.

Figure 1: general technical system and control explosion
Figure 1: general technical system and control explosion

Since the early year of 1980, SW technology has grown up explosively. So control part in technical system has become bigger and bigger, and the complexity of control part itself made the technical system more complex and dynamic because of control explosion. Therefore we need to redefine the technical system into the functional system.

The features of control part, especially IT/SW are classified into time and context.

Time feature means that IT/SW is working time-dependently and represents the timing flow. And,

Context feature means that IT/SW treats the situations surrounding the information.

B. SW technology used in transforming the analog world into digital world is mostly intangible and invisible. So, we can not treat the digital objects such as RF signal and bit data, visibly and easily. In the domain of IT/SW, the measurement system functions to convert the invisible object to visible object. Therefore, we need to develop the tool for converting the invisible and intangible object to visible and tangible object in order to change the object more easily through TRIZ thinking.

The most existing studies[2,3,4] for application of TRIZ in IT/SW have suggested the approach of adding the examples of IT to the 40 inventive principles rather than the approach of considering the special properties of IT/SW technology. They had limitations on providing the practical help to the engineers of IT/SW field. Just the examples of 40 inventive principle related to IT/SW does not give good guide to the user for better applying TRIZ, because it is not so easy to do transformation from initial situation to problem statement for IT/SW stumbling block. Moreover, sometimes it is very different from the recommendation of classical TRIZ.

This paper presents the practical method for applying the TRIZ to IT/SW field, especially algorithm concept design and system architecture design. This paper suggests some of the results achieved through research and development period from 2004 to 2006 in SAIT.

According to the cognitive psychology and organizational psychology[5], the three elements such as technology, person and skill should be equipped harmonically in order to improve the productivity of research and development. Here, productivity means efficiency or effectiveness.

In other words, the domain knowledge for IT/SW technology, the creative research methodology and the internal motivation of person are the requisites for maximization of creative research productivity.

These three elements interact with each other to work harmonically. The usability between person of IT/SW field and skill(TRIZ), the efficiency between skill(TRIZ) and IT/SW technology, the specialized knowledge between person of IT/SW field and IT/SW technology (Figure 2).

Figure 2: relationship between skill, technology and person
Figure 2: relationship between skill, technology and person

When we support the IT/SW engineers using TRIZ, we found that TRIZ was weak and insufficient for usability and efficiency (or effectiveness). It should respond the characteristics of IT/SW technology.

We need the analysis of TRIZ from viewpoint of IT/SW technology, rather than the analysis of IT/SW technology from viewpoint of TRIZ.

2. Development procedure and method

For developing the methodology customized for IT/SW, we use procedure like the development cycle of 3 step such as research step, consulting step and education step(Figure3).

While we execute the development cycle, we apply the case study research based on action research[6].

Figure 3: development cycle through action research
Figure 3: development cycle through action research

3. Methodology development

Seen from result of action research, the weak points of TRIZ from viewpoint of the IT/SW technology follow as:

(Problem 1) The expression of problem in IT/SW technology is difficult. TRIZ tool is not relevant and effective to express the timing flow of algorithm. In addition, the cause of technical problem is tightly linked with each other, and the technical contradiction is also connectively linked. So, it should be expressed.

(Problem 2) Engineering parameters are so abstract and treat only the higher level of contradiction to apply it to the characteristics of IT/SW technology. So, it is difficult to reveal the lower level of core problem using them.

(Solution direction for problem 1)

-The tool should have the type of problem relevant to IT/SW technology.

-The tool should have the method for expressing the problem according to the type of problem.

-The tool should have the method for manipulating the expressed problem.

-The transformation of scales and resolution between systems should be flexible and

expressible systematically.

-The tool should express the fundamental core problem that S/W technology has.

(Solution direction for problem 2)

-The tool should have the implementation method of higher concept.

-the process from initial situation to concept generation should be improved.

This paper also presents the method to express the property of algorithm when designing algorithm. The algorithm consists of many functional elements. and those functional elements are tightly connected with each other and time-dependent. The algorithm which the engineer designs has the property of Useful Effect Chain(UEC).

By the way, if the higher specification and new requirements are needed, the algorithm needs the higher efficiency or new function. In this case, the specific functional block of the algorithm has the harmful capability. So, it causes the harmful effect to the adjacent and connected functional block. If we trace the connected harmful effects according to the each functional block, we obtain the Harmful Effect Chain(HEC) of algorithm. Through this logic, we analyze the algorithm.

In summary, the following 3 terms are the basic concepts to represent the developed methodology customized for IT/SW field.

1) Ideal Output Image

Ideal Final Result in TRIZ is defined as the solution which satisfies both two characteristics from viewpoint of technical contradiction. But, the algorithm has many functional blocks. It has sometimes the multiple connected technical contradictions. So we introduce the concept of the Ideal Output Image. In practice, this concept helps the IT/SW engineer to formulate the ideal concept and analyze the algorithm. While applying the ideal output image, IT/SW engineer becomes to use visualization technique.

2) Objective law

The objective law is the law dominating the natural world whichever we recognize or not. This methodology includes the intended laws dominating the information-technical system to expand the concept of existing objective law. In practice, the many engineers know the special rule and law to implement the system. But, they suppose that hypothesis is right. So they feel difficult in identifying what they know and they dont know, and in addition, they feel difficult in what element they change to generate the new system concept. As we already know, the objective law is not only the barrier to block the problem-solving colliding with the needs. But also it is the key to solve the problem through the overcome of psychological inertia.

3) Analogy

As author mentioned before, SW technology plays an important role on representing the analog world into the digital world. So the SW engineer makes use of the structure of the analog world to implement the architecture of digital world. In order to understand the SW technology, we need to think metaphorically. Through the metaphorical thinking, especially analogical thinking, we can see and manipulate the invisible or intangible object such as RF signal and Context consisting of bits. Through analogy skill, IT/SW engineer can make use of technologies of other fields more easily and effectively without big gap. It means that the applicability of the classical TRIZ by IT/SW engineer improves much more than before. In practice, many people could understand TRIZ concept and use it.

4. Real success story

Table 1 depicts the list of successful IT/SW fields TRIZ project performed in SAIT.

Actually, the many solutions were created by the creative effort as referred method. The important thing is to use the other fields technology into my fields technology. Analysis of result shows that successful 27 projects are classified into 4 kinds of types and 3 levels of scope (Figure 4). As years go on, the larger projects from small unit to large unit were performed through TRIZ activity, and the type of project was transited from neck problem solving with trade-off into algorithm design, system architecture design and technology prediction.

Table 1: list of successful projects related to IT/SW field Table 1: list of successful projects related to IT/SW field
Figure 4: analysis of distribution of successful projects
Figure 4: analysis of distribution of successful projects

5. Conclusion

The developed method provides good efficiency and usability to IT/SW engineer intending to apply TRIZ to IT/SW field. The useful methodology including Ideal Output Image with visualization, Objective Law and Analogy was utilized. Also IT/SW engineers in SAIT apply TRIZ to their R&D activities.

References [top]

[1] Semyon D. Savransky. Engineering of Creativity: Introduction to TRIZ methodology of inventive problem solving. CRC press LLC, 2000.

[2] Kevin C. Rea. TRIZ and Software - 40 Principle Analogies, Parts 1 and 2. The TRIZ Journal, September 2001

[3] Kevin C. Rea. Applying TRIZ to Software Problems Creatively Bridging Academia and Practice in Computing, The TRIZ Journal, October 2002

[4] Gennady Retseptor. 40 Principles in Microelectronics. The TRIZ Journal, August 2002.

[5] John R. Anderson. Cognitive Psychology and Its Implications. Fourth Edition, W.H. Freedom and Company, 2005

[6] Yin Robert K. Case Study Research: design and methods. Sage Publications, 1994


         Methodology Development and Real Success Story for application of TRIZ in IT/SW field