This whitepaper discusses why integrating modern systems requires a new modular, network-centric approach that relies only on standard APIs and protocols, provides stronger information-management services, and avoids historical problems of integrating complex, heterogeneous systems. The paper focuses on "real-world" systems, that is, systems that interact with the external physical world and must live within the constraints imposed by real-world physics.

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The growing popularity of cheap and widespread data collection “edge” devices and the easy access to communication networks (both wired and wireless) is weaving in more devices and systems into the fabric of our daily lives. As computation and storage costs continue to drop faster than network costs, the trend is to move data and computation locally, using data distribution technology to move data between the nodes as and when needed. As a result, the quantity of data, the scale of its distribution and the complexity integration is growing at a rapid pace.

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Designing and building an unmanned autonomous vehicle (UAV) is one of the most difficult problems in engineering; and it is particularly challenging from a software systems perspective. By optimizing software performance, scalability, high availability and reliability, security, interoperability, and affordability, system designers can create a UAV that is adaptable to new mission parameters while remaining robust across the product lifecycle.

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The Rise of Data-Centric Programming The network is profoundly changing the nature of system design. The "web" is just a first step; the Internet today focuses on connecting people at human interaction speeds. Future networks will connect vast arrays of cooperating machines at rates meaningful to physical processes. These connections make truly distributed applications possible. Distributed applications will drive the future in many areas, from military information systems to financial trading to transportation.

Truly profound technologies become part of everyday life. Motors, plastics, computers, and now networking have made this transition in the last 100 years. These technologies are embedded in billions of devices; they have melted into the assumed background of the modern world.

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