[cap-talk] Potting the web-calculus - peace?
Jed at Webstart
donnelley1 at webstart.com
Wed Dec 7 20:44:17 EST 2005
I'd like to try the role of peacemaker for this thread:
At 04:07 PM 12/7/2005, Tyler Close wrote:
>On 12/7/05, Ian G <iang at systemics.com> wrote:
> > Tyler wrote:
> > > ...Fortunately, we have this thing called the lambda-calculus...
> > I see this as ludicrous...
>Perhaps you just have your eyes closed.
Let me start out with the obligatory:
I'm sympathetic to both points of view in this exchange.
Firstly, its certainly true that active professionals in the IT
may well not be steeped in the more academic aspects of the
discipline such as the Lambda Calculus, Turning machines,
perhaps the notions of various sorts of completeness for
algorithms, language classification or the like, but they can still
do good professional work. Even without being familiar with
these terms and the academic background, they are likely
familiar with comparable concepts and concrete implementations
in other contexts of their everyday work that may be inherited either
directly or indirectly from this pioneering academic work.
To me whether or not one recognizes and/or acknowledges the
giants closer to the bottom of the stack is not particularly relevant
to the discussion.
I agree with Ian and I as I understand it with Ping before him
that the term "Calculus" is somewhat off putting for a general
audience - even for many or most IT professionals. I taught
Calculus and Differential Equations at the University level
and thoroughly enjoy and appreciate the many contributions
in this and other base academic areas. However, I also
acknowledge that most people are not steeped in these
disciplines and find them unfamiliar and ringing a somewhat
"ivory tower" bell that is foreign to their practical daily lives.
As Ian indicated in the "What's in a name" discussion, one
area that we need to work on is finding terminology that will
work for the general audience. I think it's fine for us to use
terminology that is more precise and more deeply rooted in
finely honed academic traditions (e.g. such as the "capability"
term, the find distinctions between the various subject terms
like "process" and "active object", etc.) in discussions among
people versed in this technical area and familiar with the
finely tuned meanings of the terms. However, I think it is
also important for us to be able to distinguish between that
terminology and what may be appropriate for a more general
In my opinion the term "Web Calculus" is not an effective
one for use with a general audience, though I well understand
and appreciate Tyler's reasons for using it in a more focused
So - perhaps all I've done is succeeded in alienating both
sides (mostly Tyler? I hope not), but that's my best shot.
I hope we can continue to use the more academic sorts of
terminology in its appropriate area to clarify and refine precise
meanings and fine nuances of semantics, while at the same
time developing terminology that will effectively communicate
the base needed concepts to a wider audience.
I believe we all have a strong shared interest in succeeding
with bringing POLA sorts of access patterns to the masses
(e.g. to protect against Trojan horses and other sorts of
deliberate or inadvertent misuse of permissions). I hope we
can work together from our different backgrounds and
experiences to help make this technology generally
without degenerating to personal insults ("ludicrous" or
"eyes closed"). Any chance for peaceful coexistence and
even cooperation for our common goal?
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