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complexity
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Proverbs, aphorisms, quotations (English) by Linux fortune

"However, complexity is not always the enemy."

  -- Larry Wall (Open Sources, 1999 O'Reilly and Associates)
innovate /IN no vait/ vb.: 1. To appropriate third-party technology
through purchase, imitation, or theft and to integrate it into a
de-facto, monopoly-position product. 2.  To increase in size or complexity
but not in utility; to reduce compatibility or interoperability. 3. To
lock-out competitors or to lock-in users. 4. To charge more money; to
increase prices or costs. 5. To acquire profits from investments in other
companies but not from direct product or service sales. 6. To stifle or
manipulate a free market; to extend monopoly powers into new markets.  7.
To evade liability for wrong-doings; to get off.  8. To purchase
legislation, legislators, legislatures, or chiefs of state.  9.  To
mediate all transactions in a global economy; to embezzle; to co-opt power
(coup d'tat). Cf. innovate, English usage (antonym).
        -- csbruce, in a Slashdot post
Many companies that have made themselves dependent on [the equipment of a
certain major manufacturer] (and in doing so have sold their soul to the
devil) will collapse under the sheer weight of the unmastered complexity of
their data processing systems.
                -- Edsger W. Dijkstra, SIGPLAN Notices, Volume 17, Number 5
        Risch's decision procedure for integration, not surprisingly,
uses a recursion on the number and type of the extensions from the
rational functions needed to represent the integrand.  Although the
algorithm follows and critically depends upon the appropriate structure
of the input, as in the case of multivariate factorization, we cannot
claim that the algorithm is a natural one.  In fact, the creator of
differential algebra, Ritt, committed suicide in the early 1950's,
largely, it is claimed, because few paid attention to his work.  Probably
he would have received more attention had he obtained the algorithm as well.
                -- Joel Moses, "Algorithms and Complexity", ed. J.F. Traub
        There was once a programmer who was attached to the court of the
warlord of Wu.  The warlord asked the programmer: "Which is easier to design:
an accounting package or an operating system?"
        "An operating system," replied the programmer.
        The warlord uttered an exclamation of disbelief.  "Surely an
accounting package is trivial next to the complexity of an operating
system," he said.
        "Not so," said the programmer, "when designing an accounting package,
the programmer operates as a mediator between people having different ideas:
how it must operate, how its reports must appear, and how it must conform to
the tax laws.  By contrast, an operating system is not limited my outside
appearances.  When designing an operating system, the programmer seeks the
simplest harmony between machine and ideas.  This is why an operating system
is easier to design."
        The warlord of Wu nodded and smiled.  "That is all good and well, but
which is easier to debug?"
        The programmer made no reply.
                -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"
There are probably better ways to do that, but it would make the parser
more complex.  I do, occasionally, struggle feebly against complexity...  :-)
             -- Larry Wall in <7886@jpl-devvax.JPL.NASA.GOV>
Economies of scale:
        The notion that bigger is better.  In particular, that if you want
        a certain amount of computer power, it is much better to buy one
        biggie than a bunch of smallies.  Accepted as an article of faith
        by people who love big machines and all that complexity.  Rejected
        as an article of faith by those who love small machines and all
        those limitations.
Laws of Computer Programming:
        (1) Any given program, when running, is obsolete.
        (2) Any given program costs more and takes longer.
        (3) If a program is useful, it will have to be changed.
        (4) If a program is useless, it will have to be documented.
        (5) Any given program will expand to fill all available memory.
        (6) The value of a program is proportional the weight of its output.
        (7) Program complexity grows until it exceeds the capability of
                the programmer who must maintain it.
Expansion means complexity; and complexity decay.
Reality is just a convenient measure of complexity.
                -- Alvy Ray Smith
Simplicity does not precede complexity, but follows it.
The complexity of software is an essential property, not an accidental one.
Hence, descriptions of a software entity that abstract away its complexity
often abstract away its essence.
- Fred Brooks, Jr.
Fools ignore complexity.  Pragmatists suffer it.
Some can avoid it.  Geniuses remove it.
-- Perlis's Programming Proverb #58, SIGPLAN Notices, Sept.  1982
"The computer programmer is a creator of universes for which he alone
is responsible. Universes of virtually unlimited complexity can be
created in the form of computer programs."
-- Joseph Weizenbaum, _Computer Power and Human Reason_
No guarantee of accuracy or completeness!
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