Software directions to ponder over...

Date view Thread view Subject view Author view

Date: Mon Sep 25 2000 - 03:37:13 PDT

Dunno whether any of you have seen this. #5, 8 and 14,
especially are thought provoking...


Created 8/21/00
10 Software Questions of the Century

1. Software engineering keeps discovering "deeper" abstractions,
that once understood, advance the field. Is there a "deepest"
layer we cannot go beyond? What is it?

2. Software has continually lagged behind hardware in things
like cost curve, ease of use and standardization. What
discoveries would it take for software to surpass hardware, or
what is the reason this is impossible?

3. Software is still an art, not engineering. It's so
intractable we are essentially living in the dark ages, like
before Copernican Theory (the planets revolve around the sun),
before Einstein's theories of relativity and before Euclidean
Geometry. Is there a collection of software theory that will
suddenly turn art into science?

4. Will software/hardware be able to eventually pass the Turing
Test, or will this require a biotech approach?

5. Will software itself disappear, replaced or absorbed by other
fields that we know not yet of?

6. Why is software development so hard to learn? Is there some
catalyst or approach that would fundamentally change this?

For example there might be 5 new words to add to the English
language. These would be taught at a young age. Programming
languages and tools would use these words/concepts, making the
transistion to thinking about programming nearly no transition
at all. The entire population could program....

7. No software language has survived indefinitely, other than
1's and 0's. Will there eventually be one that does, much like
English seems to be doing?

8. Are there software particles more fundamental than objects?

9. Is it possible to create a language and IDE which rejects any
attempts to insert defects, and is productive?

10. Will it become possible to prove any system has no defects?

_Bonus questions:_

11. Currently computerdom can be physically partitioned into
hardware and data. Will any additional top level partition(s) be
added? For example, what if some self-evolving programs need to
never be turned off. Would this be a new partition?

12. Are 1's and 0's the optimum base digital data standard? For
example, why not four values, like DNA?

13. Will something like "graylean" augment boolean? A graylean
can have three values - true, false and somewhere in the middle
(black, white and gray). This is not the same as true, false or
null, because null means the boolean itself is undefined.

Mature societies, such as China, have long approached issues as
black, white or gray, unlike the West which sees issues mostly
in black and white. For example a tourist's parked car was hit
by a Chinese driven car. The trial came up. The judge found the
tourist to be 10% responsible. The tourist was outraged, and
asked, "Why? How could I have possibly been responsible?" The
judge replied, "That's easy. If you hadn't have been here this
wouldn't have happened." (true story)

Paul Reavis [] comments: I would submit
that this one has already been answered.*

*This is essentially a description of fuzzy logic, so the answer
is "yes". Fuzzy logic is already in use (mostly in hardware and
embedded devices, for example japanese washing machines that put the
"right" amount of detergent in the water depending on the amount, type,
and dirtiness of your clothes). Fuzzy logic works on fuzzy values,
which you can think of as percentages of truth.*

*It's fascinating stuff, and there's already a fair amount of
science and math backing it up.*

14. Will the three rules of solid (what's the proper term?)
programming - sequence, decision and loop - be replaced by a
whole new approach, perhaps allowing a whole new language
generation? What is it?

15. Two or more engineers will never arrive at the same
identical solution to anything but a trivial software problem.
Why? Will we discover ways to make software problem solving 100%
convergent? What are they?


H u g h e s S o f t w a r e S y s t e m s
Prestige Opal, 146 Infantry Road, Bangalore - 560 001, India
Tel: +91-80-2286390,91,92 x7088 Fax: +91-80-2286393
Mandatory quote:" "

Date view Thread view Subject view Author view

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Mon Sep 25 2000 - 03:37:45 PDT