Interview

Formula 1 system architecting – Part 2: The religious, centralist worldview of an engineer

René Raaijmakers
Leestijd: 6 minuten

‘System architecting under extreme circumstances’ is how you could describe Guido de Boer’s job at Mapper over the past fourteen years. Part 2 in a series of interviews in which he shares with Bits&Chips his unconventional view on developing systems, in the run-up to his keynote at the Dutch System Architecting Conference on 20 June.

Guido de Boer likes to reconsider stuck habits, to ask questions about generally accepted truths. In a conversation with him, we regularly come across the quirks and instincts of technicians. They’re often very creative, but at the same time, they’re trapped in their own somewhat religious, centralist worldview. This manifests itself in their tendency to want to control everything and their desire for a total overview. Engineers want to think about what should happen at any time in the machine. They want to come up with the entire software structure and determine in detail how everything works mechanically.

Nonsense, De Boer says: “That shouldn’t be done at all. It’s about making agreements and thinking. What abstraction am I in? If I’m the boss of this box, who should I make arrangements with? When the wafer stage is my responsibility, I have to come to an agreement with the guy of the wafer handler: cut the agreement in two, archive it and stick to it. It’s not at all important if there are a hundred cables or ten computers inside.”

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