Workshop effects [Re: The IETF environment]

Brian E Carpenter <brian.e.carpenter@gmail.com> Mon, 28 April 2014 20:53 UTC

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Date: Tue, 29 Apr 2014 08:53:04 +1200
From: Brian E Carpenter <brian.e.carpenter@gmail.com>
Organization: University of Auckland
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To: dcrocker@bbiw.net
Subject: Workshop effects [Re: The IETF environment]
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On 26/04/2014 16:59, Dave Crocker wrote:
> On 4/25/2014 9:15 PM, Brian E Carpenter wrote:
>>   But if the
>> IAB holds a workshop on ploomdoogleblits, which will undoubtedly
>> include some IESG members and some people who aren't members of
>> the I* at all, some ideas will emerge about how the IETF should
>> respond to the ploomdoogleblit work that is going on in academia or
>> industry. Drafts will appear,
> 
> 
> It could be interesting to document this presumed cause/effect
> relationship.
> 
> Start with a listing of every workshop.  Then indicate the related I-Ds
> that were initiated afterwards.  Then indicate which ones made it to RFC.

It may be more subtle than that. Other possible effects of workshops
include *preventing* work, or diverting work to another SDO. And the
sample size is low - I certainly didn't mean to imply that this is
the major source of IETF innovation. Also, counting drafts and RFCs
doesn't measure value.

Another thing is timescale. Let me give you an example which is not
IAB related. In December 1998 there was an ad hoc workshop on
middleware, reported in RFC 2768 in 2000. It was part of the thread
of activity that led to the Globus toolkit and the Global Grid Forum
(now the Open Grid Forum) and then to this stuff called Cloud Computing.
So for *big* innovations, we're talking about very complex threads of
activity and timescales of more than a decade. Picking apart the
contribution of a single workshop is going to be very hard.

On balance I decline to make an amateur analysis of all this. I think
it needs a much deeper study by someone who is an expert in tracking
the history of technology.

One thing I'm fairly sure of. Some of what the IRTF+IETF does is
R&D, and R&D is allowed to fail. If there's no risk of abject failure,
there's also no chance of great success.

    Brian