Having time&knowledge

Francois-Rene Rideau fare@tunes.org
Wed, 2 Dec 1998 03:55:48 +0100

>>: Paul Dufresne
>: Brian Rice

>>We have been waiting for the new version of the OS toolkit for
>>about one year almost without doing anything.
I think this is inaccurate. We have considered using the OS kit,
and might still use parts of the old 0.60 released version,
though it is clear cs.utah.edu isn't going to publish any of what they
wrote since anymore.

Anyway, our problem isn't lack of low-level infrastructure;
there are plenty of low-level runtimes (including Linux) waiting for
some reflective system to sit on top of them.
What we lack is well-defined guides for implementing high-level things.
Or else, we'll end like VSTa.

> what?!?  why low-level stuff?  why products designed by conservative
> thinkers?  'favorite language'?!?  you're addicted to the old system.
> we're here to make a new system.  and since the project is a
> cybernetical one, one of ideas and concepts, your own thought patterns
> affect how you work on the project and whether or not you help it.
That's one way to tell things.
I'd just add that we're not being new for the sake of being new.
On the contrary, we're mostly trying to skim the essentials of computing,
as have been already discovered by tradition, though a lot of it
has been mostly ignored.

> this entire
> development is centered around building a population of data-structures
> from which can be read logical meaning. in other words, these
> data-structures would form a reasoning system

I don't believe in "one size fits all" data-structures.
Well, we'll still need some for bootstrap or communication purposes.
But the datastructures are strongly dependent on the algorithms to
be used upon them, and are to be co-optimized with the programs
that manipulate them. Now, we're not here to discover brand new algorithms
(though it'd be great if we did find one or a few), but rather to
put together a reflective system out of existing techniques.
So before we start thinking about new data structures, we'd better
get the existing ones right, and see how people with a long experience
of using them do.

In the particular field of logical reasoning, there is a LOT of literature
by "AI" people about inference engines, and deduction-based systems. I
readily admit I know very little about what AI people did, except that
they achieved a lot of great things, but are (sadly) isolated from
mainstream computing, and particularly from formal method people and
completely from operating systems people.

Lemme call for Review existing reasoning systems:
please send pointers, comments, etc,
and check them in a new page of the Tunes Review CVS...

> the key to reading that kind of writing is that you must learn to work
> with totally arbitrary symbols, for the purpose of removing any
> preconceived notions about the system.  this is the real benefit behind
> symbolic logics and mathematics.
That's a Bourbaki kind of statement. Sometimes, it helps to forget
bad preconceptions. Sometimes, it's useful (and even necessary) to
remember good preconceptions, or to make a link back to existing notions.

> for now, i don't believe that that is possible.  i've discussed earlier
> how a full tunes system would be capable of ontological relativisation,
> giving itself new meaning for every context.  this property alone means
> that no definition is complete for tunes, since it will not suffice for
> millions of contexts which could be constructed from within tunes.
Agreed. Still, for communication purposes, there need be well-known
standard commonly agreed-upon default starting contexts of evaluation!!!
So the above just means that the system is reflective,
but doesn't give us a starting point.

> in addition, how do you explain to the average person what a system is
> which has no true data encapsulation?  it's like saying that nothing
> means anything, except to the system as a whole.  people just don't
> explicitly think that way on the average.
Well, this statement holds in C and assembly, so it's not new!
Moreover, we should allow and encourage, in TUNES, the use of well-defined
evaluation contexts wherein there IS true data encapsulation, up to normal
(non-reflective) use. Reflection is needed, but it's sure not for everyone's
everyday use: it's precisely for "let's do it once, forget it afterwards"
kind of use.

## Faré | VN: Уng-Vû Bân   | Join the TUNES project!  http://www.tunes.org/ ##
## FR: François-René Rideau |    TUNES is a Useful, Not Expedient System     ##
## Reflection&Cybernethics  | Project for a Free Reflective Computing System ##
Trying to be happy is like trying to build a machine for which the only
specification is that it should run noiselessly.