Friday, December 12, 2008

Fractal Friday - Computer Science is broken

Joe Gregorio says that computer Science, at a deep and fundamental level, is broken. Nothing significant has happened for may years to move the state of the "science" forward.

I tend to agree. A lecturer of mine in college, in, oh what was it...1984 or so, used to say "nothing significant has happened since 1968". That was the year of Algol 68. I think he could make the same statement today.

Now I am more of an information-guy than an algorithmics-guy but I would be inclined to say that nothing significant has happened since the invention of the word processor.

Joe asks "where are the fractals"? I think they are in the documents. Headings and sub-headings to any depth with anything you like in between the headings, in any order. Self similar. Arbitrarily deep and fiendishly difficult to process automatically. That is the real world. A messy world of "unstructured" stuff that we call "content" lest we sully the word "data".

The un-real world is the so-much-simpler concept of tables and fields and scalar values...That is what is broken IMO. The science of computer science knows a lot about the theory of computation - it is a branch of math. But data...content...documents...well, I think we are still in diapers on that subject.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Pet Peeves - Unicode

Internationalization? Just use Unicode!

Right. Yup. That will fix it.