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Showing posts from November, 2006

Algorithms versus Architecture

I was trying to explain to someone the other day what I did; he was in BioInformatics. It occurred to me that there was a dimension in computer science that I had not been able to articulate properly before: algorithms and architectures.

Some people who call themselves Computer Scientists of one flavor or another focus on solving what seem to be basically algorithms. For example, getting the right image processing algorithm or credit scoring algorithm. On the other hand, others who also call themselves Computer Scientists focus less on the algorithms but on the organization of the computer system. For example, ensuring that the image processing can actually be used effectively in a user's context.

I have noticed a tendency for people to clump themselves into either the algorithm class or the architecture class. I personally gravitate to the latter. I have also noticed a tendency for algorithmists (sic) to discount the contribution and relevance of the work of the architects -- and v…

The mind body problem

Just started reading a book: Mind in a physical world. About the mind-body problem.

I cannot imagine any experienced programmer having a problem with the mind-body relationship. Especially any programmer that is familiar with assembler programming. The instruction

in A,$24

(from about x-ty years ago:) together with the complementary

out $26,A

would surely put at rest any issue with the relationship between the mind and the body.

Perhaps I am missing something. I will read and find out...

A missing piece

For some time now I have been thinking that the key to a framework for safe and effective action across the Internet was the Norms and Institutions paradigm. In that paradigm, the key concept (it seems to me) was the social act; or rather, that all human actions are rooted in the social context.

At the same time, we have been working on the SOA Reference Architecture, and I feel that it is important that SOA itself be grounded in the N&I paradigm. In the approach that we are taking, we are taking multiple views on the SOA theme. Each view is characterized by a viewpoint -- literally a point of view of the architecture. One of these views is the Service as Business view, and this view is expressed in language that would be instantly familiar to anyone aware of the Norms and Institutions framework.

A challenge in such a multi-layered approach to architecture is to link the different levels together in a convincing way (ideally, in a way that is both clear and obviously supporting).

In …