Alexander The Great

February 13, 2008

Philosophy of Programming

Filed under: Science,Software — alexanderthegreatest @ 7:55 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Forrest published an article callled Programming With Jackson Pollock.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with Mr Pollock’s work, he painted by throwing paint randomly at a canvass. The comparison here is with how computer software is written. I know Forrest is involved with making computer programs, but I didn’t think he had the type of appreciation of philosophy and quantum physics this article hints at – which is why I think it’s interesting enough to point out.

First, the article describes computer bugs as emergent properties – this is the language of chaos theory. Forrest professes that bugs don’t live in individual lines of source code. They live in the interaction between the different parts of software, between other systems in place, and between the user.

This leads to quantum physics, and the concept of entropy. Extremist Christians use entropy to suggest that evolution can’t be possible, because in a closed system, things fall out of order, not the other way around. Criptographers know that an application can borrow entropy from the real world by timing network or disc access, or key strokes.

It’s good stuff. I like it when people make disparate connections visible.

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