Tags / Philosophy

Technical Debt and Entropy

I seem to find myself with a lot of unproductive time - time when I can’t be working on real problems - problems that need access to tools such as a coding environment, terminal, internet searching, and somewhere to capture notes. Situations such as walking the dog, driving, and getting simple chores done are examples of these times. Times like this though, are good for thinking, and recently i’ve been thinking a lot about the concept of technical debt. [Read More]

History Of Gödel Numbering Part 3

This is the third and final article in this series. Part 1 and part 2 describe how the concept of Godel numbers were first used to solidify the foundations of computing, then subsequently neglected by mainstream computing as it evolved until research at Hewlett Packard showed how the concept could lead to the caching of pure computation. In this final part I want to show the implications of this discovery for the future of IT. [Read More]

History Of Gödel Numbering Part 2

In the first post in this series I introduced Godel numbers and the important role they had in the foundations of computing. In this post I want to show how we took the concept to pioneer an approach to cache computation. A technique of identifying and eliminating redundant processing. Please entertain my third person prose. Picking up the trail In 1999 a small group of researchers in Hewlett Packard Labs were working in the domain of e-payment and digital commerce. [Read More]

History Of Gödel Numbering Part 1

At the break of the 20th century the prominent German mathematician, David Hilbert, posed 23 unsolved mathematical problems. He believed these problems were critical to progress in the field. Many, but not all of these problems have since been solved and some have given great philosophical insight. In particular his second problem asks for a proof that arithmetic is consistent, that is the arithmetic that we learn at school and forms the basis of much of the social and economic structure of our society. [Read More]

Engineering the Artefact not the Process

I am dissatisfied with the IT industry. From the outside people think it’s all moving so fast and is full of relentless innovation towards the future. From the inside it feels at least in part like a stagnating pool with innovation increasingly confined to narrow niches. Is this because we are focusing too much of our collective energy on the process rather than the artifacts we are creating? The first real practical computers were realised in the 1940’s though the theoretical foundations were established a decade earlier. [Read More]

Separating Architecture from Code

The MP3 format is a great technology for compressing audio because it can be progressively configured to reduce the complexity in an audio stream in the parts that humans are less able to perceive. It understands the psycho-acoustics of human hearing and the typical waveforms that constitute music. By working in a constrained domain it can represent the data in a more concentrated form. Similarly JPEG is a great technology for compressing photographs because it can reduce the complexity in parts of an image that humans are less able to perceive. [Read More]