On technical contradictions between measures of ideality
or
why improving partial characteristics of a system is not the way to make it ideal in Altshuller's sense

Y. B. Karasik
Thoughts Guiding Systems Corp.
Ottawa, Canada.
e-mail: karasik@sympatico.ca

Altshuller resisted attempts to characterize evolution of a technological system towards ideal machine as the process of improving partial characteristics of the system. Here are excerpts from his debates on the subject with people that thought otherwise [1]:

There would have been nothing to debate, had Alsthuller had an example to show that improving partial characteristics may not advance a system towards the ideal one. Unfortunately he did not have it and his opponents took advantage of it. That is why I decided to present such an example here.

Single-shaft gas turbine engine consumes 30% more fuel than twin-shaft gas turbine engine of the same power. However, it is 3 times lighter, occupies less volume, cheaper, and more reliable [2]. Which of them more ideal then?

From the standpoint of the partial characteristics (power/fuel consumption) single-shaft engine is less ideal than twin-shaft. But from the standpoint of partial characteristics (power/weight), (power/volume), (power/cost), and (power/reliability) it is more ideal.

Thus, there are technical contradictions between different "measures" of ideality. Improving all partial characteristics is not always possible. And these contradictions are not always resolvable.

So, how to evolve a real system to the ideal one? Here the ambiguous views of Altshuller turn out to be more inspiring than their trivial "disambiguation" by his mediocre opponents.

R E F E R E N C E S:

  1. Published on the internet at various web sites (see e.g. http://triz-summit.ru/ru/confer/TDS-2006/203452/203521/)
  2. Arthur W. Judge, "Small gas turbine and free piston engines", Chapman & Hall Ltd, London, 1960, p. 361.