Glamour, elegance, universality and emergent techniques

Jay Nelson jay@REDACTED
Wed May 28 16:08:20 CEST 2003

Once again the OO discussion rises and the blasphemers
curse in church -- during the silence when all are listening,
no less!  One hopes this can only mark the coming enlightenment
fomented by a scientific revolution

Sometimes the solution is not at hand, so reason must give
sway.  Yet instinct and emotion can provide direction in the
fog, and verily one can recover the path not yet trodden.
I offer then only my sensations.  Close your eyes, breathe
and let your mind rest.

On glamour vs. elegance:

Glamour is the veneer of appeal that leaves one empty after
discovering the ruse of the shill.  External exuberance with no
apparent source is a mirage.  Elegance, on the other hand,
arises from inner harmony and a transcendent essence.

On universality:

Objects are everything; everything is everything.  In any case,
I prefer reductionism and recursion to exceptions, iteration and
imperatives.  A problem solved as a corollary to a larger universal
is elegant; an assemblage of incongruous components would only
appear glamourous to Dr. Frankenstein during the frenzy of
creation.  Find me a result to achieve and I will search for a cause
of inevitability, rather than a series of barriers that attempt to
corral the solution.

On simplicity and complexity:

Simple approaches solve 80% of the problem quickly, whilst the
remainder proves inevitably out of reach.  Complex approaches
solve 40% after toil, 80% after sweat, and 95% after much suffering.
What appears a solution is dogged by nicks and burrs and other
annoyances, and in reality the solution dissolves under stress.
Elegance is the merger of simplicity and complexity: on meeting
all seems as it should and it is obvious, on reflection deep
mysteries abound yet are miraculously resolved.  Typically it is
not achieved until both simplicity and complexity are rejected.
[AI -> OO -> COPL]

Emergent techniques:

Blueprints and scripts are brittle.  Strong earthquakes will ruin
the methodical architect.  Adaptive behaviour, resilience and
emergent techniques are necessary to survive the rigors of
nature.  And so it is with social organization, evolutionary designs
and tools of the trade.  Monolithic systems were abandoned with
the realization that dinosaurs could not rule Earth.  Self-propelled,
collective computation by more intelligent individuals proved
dominant.  Emergence teaches us that something more may
yet conquer the present majority.


More information about the erlang-questions mailing list