RE: Jim Gray article on Next Generation Databases
Right. In the Kama Sutra, don't try the advanced positions until you master the simple ones. If you are too old by the time you get to those, at least you had fun before you died. Kay's point was that most innovations occur in smaller sets but that computer science en masse is a pop culture. So exactly yes: HTML made SGML successful, much to the chagrin of the HTMLers. Bo Bice will make southern rock successful again much to the chagrin of the Allman Brothers and Lynard Skynard and they will all be happy to let him record their old material for his new albums. Copyrights are wonderful when the means of distribution is tightly controlled. And I thank Intel every day for the extra money in my bank account because we won that lawsuit for their theft of our IP for pushing their crappy instruction set through our design. Sometimes, architectures do matter. Patent them. Yes, you would still be subscribed to comp.text.sgml and arguing about rellocs and having fun. Kay said he didn't worry about it. He is having fun. len From: Bob Foster [mailto:bob@o...] Bullard, Claude L (Len) wrote: > Alan Kay points out an interesting bit of data: Moore's > Law gave us approximately a 40,000 to 60,000 increase > in processor speeds while CPU architecture only gave us > about a 50 increase therefore wasting about 1000% of Moore's > Law on expedient architectures. > > http://www.acmqueue.org/modules.php?name=Content&pa=showpage&pid=273&page=3 I think if Alan Kay tried that line of argument here - that one old Xerox benchmark isn't speeded up much means that hardware designers threw away a 1000x performance increase - he'd get the same treatment as those who have benchmarks that prove that XML parsing throws away 50x performance compared to binary XML. It is just as likely that the reason that old benchmark doesn't run faster is because it doesn't run an inner loop out of registers, or, even better, flow data through a pipeline. Moore's Law does not guarantee that random memory access speeds up in proportion to CPU speed. In other words, the bottleneck for the kinds of benchmark Kay is likely to be interested in - symbolic processing - is the Von Neumann architecture. The reason CPU designers don't build a better general-purpose architecture is, sure, expedience, but also they don't know how. As to his choice of expediency as the primary reason why all progress is not forward, I'm reminded of the doctor who was nervous about prescribing antidepressants because their common side effects included the very symptoms they were supposed to treat. You could as well choose expediency as the reason any progress gets made at all. Automatic garbage collection sat on the shelf, in terms of mainstream computing, for over 40 years before Java won acceptance of it by the expedient of a syntax that looked a lot like C. Use of the := operator for assignment would probably have killed it. Intel went merrily along building crappy little processors until it was threatened by RISC, whereupon it expediently adopted all the little design tricks RISC had and expediently threw silicon at the problem of mapping their crappy instruction set into a RISC pipeline with register mapping. By this means they decisively demonstrated that, in the long run, as long as you share the same meta-architecture, instruction set's got nothing to do with it. SGML and its predecessors were the most successful text formats you never heard of for over 20 years before the expediency of HTML yanked it into the mainstream. Without HTML there would be no xml-dev, and if that ain't forward progress, I don't know what is. ;-}
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