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Re: [ontolog-forum] How not to write specifications (VISTA costs)

To: "[ontolog-forum] " <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "Sharma, Ravi" <Ravi.Sharma@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Thu, 3 Jul 2008 07:19:39 -0600
Message-id: <D09FFCFB3952074082D4280BC24EAFA801B21845@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>

As a Recipient of Apollo Achievement Award from NASA, for Human (called Manned) Space Flight Experiments I used to see the Budget figures for congressional overall approvals as ~$25 B but do not recall whether it included a few B dollars for Skylab follow-on as well as later design costs for Space Station and Space Tug Phase B Program, all of which I participated in during 1968-1972.


Also the total number at a given time for all personnel on the program were mentioned as ~140,000 but that might be inflated if count the transitioned personnel (i.e. rotations and replacements).


Certainly the technical program success is attributable in a large part to open communications and systems engineering approach of pooling diverse expertise for a focused goal, somewhat similar to open process of community professional information / expertise sharing. I wonder why we are not doing that more thoroughly for very complex projects software, global environment, developing societies - basic needs, or energy.


For example, we do not seem to have goal or coherence on energy – which is a solvable problem but there is no commitment to goal (for Apollo there was), only crumbs in underfunding and a very short term congressional commitment (and changing funding levels every 4-8 executive years). Nationally and globally significant events require 10-30 years funding and expectations.


In spite of these limitations, NASA is to be congratulated for earth studies (Terra, Aqua, Aura), planetary as well as (though very delayed) human explorations, as those programs also have longer gestation times.


How can ontologies help in improving upon the classical systems engineering (already proven and successful) by adding means of better organization and retrieval of information, perhaps approaching “understanding” of phenomena and processes better?




(Dr. Ravi Sharma) Senior Enterprise Architect

Vangent, Inc. Technology Excellence Center (TEC)

8618 Westwood Center Drive, Suite 310, Vienna VA 22182
(o) 703-827-0638, (c) 313-204-1740 www.vangent.com

Professional viewpoints do not necessarily imply organizational endorsement.

From: ontolog-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:ontolog-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Gary Berg-Cross
Sent: Tuesday, July 01, 2008 2:56 PM
To: [ontolog-forum]
Subject: RE: [ontolog-forum] How not to write specifications (VISTA costs)


The Cost of project Apollo (from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NASA_Budget)


NASA's budget peaked in 1966, during the height of construction efforts leading up to the first moon landing under Project Apollo. At its peak, the Apollo program involved more than 34,000 NASA employees and 375,000 employees of industrial and university contractors. ...


In March of 1966, NASA told Congress the "run-out cost" of the Apollo program to put men on the moon would be an estimated $22.718 billion for the 13 year program which eventually did accomplished six successful missions between July 1969 and December 1972. According to Steve Garber, the NASA History website curator, the final cost of project Apollo was between $20 and $25.4 billion in 1969 Dollars (or approximately $135-billion in 2005 Dollars).


Gates has said (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/13812973/) Microsoft was investing $8 billion to $9 billion in developing Vista and the company's next version of Office, its key cash-generator. 


So the cost in current dollars while large is quite a bit less than the entire Apollo Program....


Gary Berg-Cross, Ph.D.


Principle for Semantic Technology


SOCoP Executive Secretary 





From: ontolog-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx on behalf of John F. Sowa
Sent: Tue 7/1/2008 12:45 PM
To: [ontolog-forum]
Subject: Re: [ontolog-forum] How not to write specifications


The person who made that claim was none other than Bill Gates himself.

FMc> I would like to know the evidence that you have for:

JFS>> This complexity explains how Microsoft managed to spend more money
 >> on developing Vista than NASA spent on the Apollo mission to the
 >> moon.

I tried to use Google to recover the original quotation, but the
words "gates apollo vista moon" got 801,000 hits.  Most of them
were irrelevant, but many of them referred to the original claim,
but without citing an exact quotation.

I also substituted the code name "Longhorn", which MSFT used during
the development stage.  The words "gates longhorn apollo" produced
137,000 hits.  The closest I found was an article dated 15 October 2003:


    Microsoft Longhorn to cost as much as man on moon project, Gates says

    But surely one of his more remarkable claims here at the Etre
    conference in Old Berlin was the following bite.  Bill said that
    developing its next generation of Windows operating system software
    will cost as much as it cost the United States government to put a
    man on the Moon. That'd be Neil Armstrong...

    We checked our notes again. Bill definitely said that the next
    version of Windows costs as much as the US spent putting a man on
    the Moon.

But it's not clear whether the dollar amount Bill intended was
adjusted for the inflation since 1969.

Can anyone with good Googling skills find more data on this point?


PS:  This is a good example of the need for more sophisticated search

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