The Watt Governor and itsrelevance to software systemsMatthew Skeltoncontact@matthewskelton.net
2Watt Governor•   What is the Watt Governor?•   How it works•   Control systems•   Why it is important•   Applications•   ...
3What is the Watt Governor?• Mechanical device used  in steam engines to  regulate speed• 1st-order negative  feedback dev...
4How it works• Connected to machine  drive mechanism• As speed increases,  weights are thrown  further outwards• Opens/clo...
5Control Systems• Speed limiter – trucks ▫ As speed nears limit,   additional speed causes   additional throttle-down• Ste...
6Why this is important• Recall: steady speed,  independent of load• Result: predictable output• Allows planning of: ▫ Capa...
7Applications• Not just mechanical devices• Concept can be applied to  other self-regulating  systems  ▫ Human societies, ...
8Relevance to Computer Systems• Physical application: ▫ Hardware power and cooling• Computer software: ▫ Resource Governor...
9Any Questions?
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The Watt Governor and its relevance to software systems

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What is the Watt Governor?
How it works
Control systems
Why it is important
Applications
Relevance to computer systems

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The Watt Governor and its relevance to software systems

  1. 1. The Watt Governor and itsrelevance to software systemsMatthew Skeltoncontact@matthewskelton.net
  2. 2. 2Watt Governor• What is the Watt Governor?• How it works• Control systems• Why it is important• Applications• Relevance to computer systems• Q&A
  3. 3. 3What is the Watt Governor?• Mechanical device used in steam engines to regulate speed• 1st-order negative feedback device• Invented around 1788 by James Watt (Scotland)• Etymology: ▫ “Governor/Government” and “Cybernetics” both share a common Greek root: κσβερνός (steersman)
  4. 4. 4How it works• Connected to machine drive mechanism• As speed increases, weights are thrown further outwards• Opens/closes a throttle valve to control input• Goal: steady speed, independent of load
  5. 5. 5Control Systems• Speed limiter – trucks ▫ As speed nears limit, additional speed causes additional throttle-down• Steam engines• Internal combustion engines• Power generation
  6. 6. 6Why this is important• Recall: steady speed, independent of load• Result: predictable output• Allows planning of: ▫ Capacity ▫ Cost ▫ Delivery• Better service from the system
  7. 7. 7Applications• Not just mechanical devices• Concept can be applied to other self-regulating systems ▫ Human societies, including organisations ▫ Planetary weather ▫ Evolution of species• Absence of governance leads to “run-away” speeds (and melt-down)
  8. 8. 8Relevance to Computer Systems• Physical application: ▫ Hardware power and cooling• Computer software: ▫ Resource Governor – SQL Server 2008• Service Management• Cloud Computing ▫ Potential for much greater and more dynamic scalability than before• Problems have been solved before... since 1788!
  9. 9. 9Any Questions?

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