If I may recommend a book that is an incredibly readable overview of some
the leading edges in computer science research, “The Computation Beauty of
Nature” by Gary William Flake is one of my favorites.
Another interesting thing is Steven Wolfram’s new book, “A New Kind of
Science”. It’s a 1200 page stump composed of 20 years of his research (he
got a PhD from MIT at the age of 20, got the MacArthur Foundation genius
award, wrote Mathematica…) which is basically theorizing that all of
nature and the universe might be reducable to cellular automata. That is,
there is no grand, unifying, horrendously complicated equation that
‘42’ but rather a beautiful interaction by many types of simple automata.
(note - I haven’t read this one >
I know this is not related to software directly but I like the fact that
computers are opening up the wonders of the universe for us.
“Robert Krten” <> email@example.com> > wrote in message
news:ad0his$p52$> firstname.lastname@example.org> …
Remember the Simpson’s episode with Homer on top of Moe’s bar with his
Limo pulls up, George Harrison pokes his head out and says, “It’s been
Well, that’s kind of the way I feel about the current state of affairs
the software field.
Remember when an “operating system” was something to fear and hold in
How did those guys do it? What made it work? How did their memory
work? Nowadays, it’s “been done”. POSIX says “this is the set of
you will have”. QSSL, to their credit, has done an excellent job in
the POSIX specs, leaving very little to the imagination. Sure, QNX 4
are really “clean” implementations of operating systems, taking tons of
and so on to do, but… “it’s been done”.
The separation between filesystem, TCP/IP stack, device drivers, and
is again so well done that it leaves little to “wonder” at.
Remember compilers? This was something that was almost “godlike” in its
ability to “understand” C code and generate low level machine code.
Nowadays, “it’s been done”.
There are tons of other examples.
The database guys haven’t progressed – a database is still not some
wonderful, futuristic AI-like replacement for memory, it’s just a set of
into files. Wheee… “it’s been done”.
The point of this tirade (and I did warn you-all it would be one > > )
is that I’m really kinda bored – what’s going to be
the “next” exciting thing in the software field that you can hold in
and terror (like OS’s and compilers used to be)?
About the only thing that jumps out at me is the field of AI – and this
because of two things: my own general ignorance of the state-of-the-art
the field, and my perception that it’s all just the same old crap – do
still use LISP? Are they any closer to making a truly artificial
I don’t need something that looks and acts like a human – if it is
“artificial” it could have its own way of looking at the world and
with it – that’s fine. It doesn’t need to love, or express emotion, or
able to compose music (necessarily). It just needs to be able to do
that shows its intelligence.
Anyway, I’m done. Anyone have any ideas on what would be “fun”? (apart
restoring old computers, of course > > )
Robert Krten, PARSE Software Devices +1 613 599 8316.
Realtime Systems Architecture, Books, Video-based and Instructor-led
Training and Consulting at > www.parse.com> .
Email my initials at parse dot com.