# A mathematical foundation of reflexion?

btanksley@hifn.com btanksley@hifn.com
Thu, 13 Jan 2000 12:29:10 -0800

```> From: Laurent Martelli [mailto:martelli@iie.cnam.fr]
> Subject: Re: A mathematical foundation of reflexion?

> >>>>> "Massimo" == Massimo Dentico <m.dentico@teseo.it> writes:

>   Massimo> [remember that a colon definition is a procedure
>   Massimo> difinition] As a metric I did some analysis of code
>   Massimo> examples Chuck has provided.  The numbers I find most
>   Massimo> interesting is that the length of the average colon
>   Massimo> definition is 44 characters.  The length of the longest
>   Massimo> colon definition was 70 characters.  This is a sign that he
>   Massimo> has factored, factored, factored.  How big are the average
>   Massimo> definitions in your code?  Smaller definitions are easier
>   Massimo> to code, easier to test, etc.

> And harder to understand when there are too many of them. It is easier
> to understand a program made of a single 10 lines function than one
> made of 10 function of one line. But of course, a program made of 10
> function of 10 lines is easier to understand than one made of one
> function of 100 lines. For most people I think.

We can argue for a long time about trivial problems, but it only really
matters when the problem's nontrivial.  Chuck Moore claims that he can write
any program in less than 1K of code.  His VLSI CAD program is the only major
program I've seen, and it's VERY impressive.

That's a short track record, but an impressive one.  It indicates that it
might be worth listening to him and giving him the benefit of the doubt.

Of course, since we _can_ argue about your trivial example, I might as well
-- I disagree.  A random factoring would be very difficult, but a sensible
factoring would certainly make things easier to read.

> Laurent Martelli

-Billy

```