The Atlas Collaboration: A Distributed Problem-Solving Network in Big Science
9 Pages Posted: 19 Jan 2009
Date Written: February 1, 2008
The nature of the problem tackled by the ATLAS collaboration - the creation of a radically innovative particle detector experiment - makes ATLAS an exceptional case for studying DPSNs. The problem solving is distributed across multiple groups of problem solvers comprising 2000 scientists in 165 working groups across the globe. Similarly, the engineering, construction and installation of the many components is distributed across this collaborative network. The initially surprising finding of the case study is that this joint innovation effort succeeded despite breaking with most rules of traditional project management. Philipp Tuertscher analyzes what it took to make such a loosely structured organization work, and raises the question if such structure was even required to develop a complex technological system like the ATLAS detector?
Keywords: distributed problem solving, ATLAS collaboration, particle detector, innovation, project management, organization, technology
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