RE: Semantics, Complex Systems, (XSLT) Programs which Write Th
Hi Roger, Your experiment is quite interesting. A couple of years ago, I played with a stylesheet that modifies itself to set different sort settings. The user could choose the column to be sorted, the XSLT document was modified (i.e. the xsl:sort element), the stylesheet re-applied, and obviously the table was sorted with a different column as the sort key. I didn't found the stylesheet particularly hard to maintain even if it was modified at run time. This is probably because we got the desired result at first (the stylesheet went through a debug session) then the modification where applied to the code at a later stage. I think that we can consider two kinds of modification or successive adaptations: a) On the model (i.e. corresponding to the the xml document we used in the game of life) b) On the strategy or action (i.e. corresponding to the XSLT stylesheet applied to the XML document). So, on the one hand we have the object state (i.e. the model encoded in an XML document) and on the other hand we have the model transformation (i.e. the XSLT templates applied to the XML document). Obviously the transformation is discrete. So if we want some dynamic behavior, we have to include cycles, each cycle changing the XML document's state. If we modify the XSLT stylesheet we change the initial conditions, the more the templates could be modified by external entities, and the more it will be hard to know in advance the end result. We have then a non deterministic behavior created from highly deterministic tools. Funny no? Hence what is creating a non deterministic behavior is: a) The capacity to apply style sheets to an XML document more than one time (i.e. n cycles) b) The capacity to modify the stylesheet before a cycle. c) The capacity to switch from a stylesheet to another before a cycle. So, on my side I am thinking about a language that will encode these things. So, for instance, if you apply a certain stylesheet to this "program" it will create the whole environment to execute that code. Potentially, a computing grid can be created from such "program". For the other stuff about meaning or semantics, take a look at the work done with "distributed cognition". The classical cognitive domain is limited to individual brains. The distributed cognition approach considers cognition as a distributed act that includes artifacts and people: each entity storing some representation and being a step toward some cognitive goal. Cheers Didier PH Martin http://Didier-martin.com
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