6. Interoperability

With Liming Zhu

The early bird (A) arrives and catches worm (B), pulling string (C) and shooting off pistol (D). Bullet (E) bursts balloon (F), dropping brick (G) on bulb (H) of atomizer (I) and shooting perfume (J) on sponge (K). As sponge gains in weight, it lowers itself and pulls string (L), raising end of board (M). Cannon ball (N) drops on nose of sleeping gentleman. String tied to cannon ball releases cork (O) of vacuum bottle (P) and ice water falls on sleeper’s face to assist the cannon ball in its good work.

—Rube Goldberg, instructions for “a simple alarm clock”

Interoperability is about the degree to which two or more systems can usefully exchange meaningful information via interfaces in a particular context. ...

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