[plt-scheme] Computers considered harmful

From: hendrik at topoi.pooq.com (hendrik at topoi.pooq.com)
Date: Thu May 7 09:51:24 EDT 2009

On Thu, May 07, 2009 at 09:47:22AM -0400, hendrik at topoi.pooq.com wrote:
> On Thu, May 07, 2009 at 03:42:13PM +0300, Ivan Altaparmakov wrote:
> > hi 
> > this was neglectable part of my post :))) 
> > the more important part was the rest of my post :))) 
> > 
> > 
> > i think the tendency in programming  
> > is that "to program" would mean 
> > to explain the problem to the computer in such a way 
> > that it would be able to solve by it self 
> > (one of steps in this direction is HtDP i think and all 
> > ideas of functional and logic programming).
> > 
> > there would be no "debugging"  
> > only correction of your explanation. 
> > for this is needed only skills of the mind 
> > which could be achieved even without computer ... 
> > although it is better if there is a computer :))) 
> > 
> > how i know the first ever computer program was written 
> > when the computer was only draft on paper  
> The first program ever to be run on a stored-program computer was, I'm 
> told, a sorting program.  When it didn't work, the engineers spent a 
> long time examining the hardware.  Eventually it dawned on them that the 
> program itself might be at foult.  When they examined memory, they 
> couldn't make sense of it.  It turned out that there was a bug in the 
> way that they had set index registers, and that the program had started 
> sorting itself.
> It's also the case that in one early book on programming in which every 
> program was proved correct by hand, many of said programs actually 
> didn't run when placed on an actual machine.  Issues like integer 
> overflow hadn't been considered.  Without which, of course, the whole 
> formal reasoning process was seriously flawed.
> I think there's a serious illusion that formal verification and careful 
> thought can replace debugging.  Maybe someday, but not yet.

And I'm sure debuging will never replace careful thought as a viable 
methodology for anything that has to be reliable.

-- hendrik

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