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Re: Obama II

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  • Warren Adams-Ockrassa
    I recall Carl Sagan despairing that Reagan believed it. The amount of money and resources that went into live tests would suggest there was faith at the top,
    Message 1 of 22 , Nov 11, 2012
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      I recall Carl Sagan despairing that Reagan believed it. The amount of money and resources that went into live tests would suggest there was faith at the top, regardless of what those 'lower' in the chain of command might have thought. 

      At the time SW was being promoted, it gave all the appearance of earnestness. 

      • Warren • off console • w azkrmc.com • h nightwares.com

      On Nov 11, 2012, at 20:52, Nick Arnett <nick.arnett@...> wrote:

      I didn't realize how unclear it is whether Reagan and other top officials regarded it as a bluff or not, until I poked around a bit just now.  Easy to see how they might have started off serious, then decided to re-write history and say it was all a bluff.  I have some up-close and personal experience with the Reagan White House rewriting history - their version persists in most peoples' minds still; when I tell my version, most people are still surprised.  Shows the power of the bully pulpit, sure was interesting to see it first-hand.

      Nick


      On Sun, Nov 11, 2012 at 3:00 PM, Dan Minette <danminette@...> wrote:
      On Star Wars, it worked as a bluff, but I don't think Reagan was bluffing.
      I think he believed.  I know as a fact that the Defense Department said they
      would require that all programming for applications they used would have to
      be done in Ada (I think within 5 years) because Ada was a compiler that
      automatically eliminated bugs. Anyone who wrote any software at Dresser
      Industries had to write a program in Ada, even scientists like me.  But,
      that was back in the day when the head of computer departments for major
      corporations had no idea how computers worked.

       > Back to the facts. The Romney team said the software was running 20-30
      minutes behind.

      Well, I also read that parts of it simply failed....reporting 0 votes from a
      long list on election day.  The part that targeted voting lists to cull
      those who haven't voted for attention can be made modular.

      >But in that situation, you have to really over- design for scalability.

      Or modular.  Let the software run on 10,000 computers in every regional
      office, with just the sums sent to the main headquarters.  Obama's software
      worked....and I think its because it was field tested for months....it was
      intended to track voters for months, not just on election day.

      Dan M.


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    • Dan Minette
      ... regarded it as a bluff or ... started off serious, then ... up-close and personal experience ... most peoples minds still; ... of the bully pulpit, sure
      Message 2 of 22 , Nov 11, 2012
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        >I didn't realize how unclear it is whether Reagan and other top officials
        regarded it as a bluff or
        >not, until I poked around a bit just now. Easy to see how they might have
        started off serious, then
        >decided to re-write history and say it was all a bluff. I have some
        up-close and personal experience
        >with the Reagan White House rewriting history - their version persists in
        most peoples' minds still;
        >when I tell my version, most people are still surprised. Shows the power
        of the bully pulpit, sure was
        >interesting to see it first-hand.

        If it was a bluff, it was a brilliant bluff. Getting the USSR to focus on
        Star Wars instead of invading Europe and hastening their collapse to
        minimize the time of risk was just what Truman thought of when we came up
        with containment instead of war. As it was, we were luckly. If the coup
        wasn't overturned, the USSR would have reformed and a last gasp attack on
        Europe might have happened.

        Dan M.


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      • ALBERTO VIEIRA FERREIRA MONTEIRO
        ... Ugh. Mormons have taken control of the Internet (by Facebook). I m glad they didn t take control of the USA too. Alberto Monteiro the paranoid
        Message 3 of 22 , Nov 12, 2012
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          Bryon Daly wrote:
          >
          > Further, as a Mormon, Romney doesn't quite pass the WASP test so he
          > basically had to tack hard right to build up his conservative cred to get
          > the party nomination.
          >
          Ugh. Mormons have taken control of the Internet (by Facebook). I'm
          glad they didn't take control of the USA too.

          Alberto Monteiro the paranoid

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        • Klaus Stock
          ... AFAIK, the Ada compiler can detect many programmer mistakes at compile time. Of course, one might say that Ada that s mainly because Ada imposes so many
          Message 4 of 22 , Nov 12, 2012
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            > I know as a fact that the Defense Department said they
            > would require that all programming for applications they used would have to
            > be done in Ada (I think within 5 years) because Ada was a compiler that
            > automatically eliminated bugs.

            AFAIK, the Ada compiler can detect many programmer mistakes at compile
            time. Of course, one might say that Ada that's mainly because Ada
            imposes so many restrictions on the programmer that the chance to make
            mistakes is greatly increased (compared to more "relaxed" languages,
            which do, for example, implicit type conversion). Ada also supports
            run-time-checks - which detects bugs when it's already too late (or
            may even cause bugs in extreme cases).

            Compared to other languages of the time, like Fortran, it's clearly
            superior in detecting some classes of bugs early. It also reduces the
            programmer's efficiency, resulting the number of bugs per time compare
            to more efficient languages.

            However, the "best bugs" are introduced during programming, but much
            earlier. Catching bugs at the earliest possible time is expensive, but
            the ROI is immense and outweighs the cost by several orders of
            magnitude. Of course, any manager who was reading this dropped out at
            the word "expensive", so defective software will remain the standard.


            Okay, the word "standard" reminds to get back on-topic. I suspect that
            the reason for the choice of Ada was that Ada was the first
            standardized HL programming language. Oh, the military loves
            standards. No further explanation necessary.

            Best regards, Klaus


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          • Pat Mathews
            This plays into some recent conversations about efficiency vs resilience. ... _______________________________________________
            Message 5 of 22 , Nov 12, 2012
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              This plays into some recent conversations about "efficiency" vs "resilience."

              > Date: Mon, 12 Nov 2012 20:06:16 +0100
              > From: ks@...
              > To: brin-l@...
              > Subject: Re: Obama II
              >
              > > I know as a fact that the Defense Department said they
              > > would require that all programming for applications they used would have to
              > > be done in Ada (I think within 5 years) because Ada was a compiler that
              > > automatically eliminated bugs.
              >
              > AFAIK, the Ada compiler can detect many programmer mistakes at compile
              > time. Of course, one might say that Ada that's mainly because Ada
              > imposes so many restrictions on the programmer that the chance to make
              > mistakes is greatly increased (compared to more "relaxed" languages,
              > which do, for example, implicit type conversion). Ada also supports
              > run-time-checks - which detects bugs when it's already too late (or
              > may even cause bugs in extreme cases).
              >
              > Compared to other languages of the time, like Fortran, it's clearly
              > superior in detecting some classes of bugs early. It also reduces the
              > programmer's efficiency, resulting the number of bugs per time compare
              > to more efficient languages.
              >
              > However, the "best bugs" are introduced during programming, but much
              > earlier. Catching bugs at the earliest possible time is expensive, but
              > the ROI is immense and outweighs the cost by several orders of
              > magnitude. Of course, any manager who was reading this dropped out at
              > the word "expensive", so defective software will remain the standard.
              >
              >
              > Okay, the word "standard" reminds to get back on-topic. I suspect that
              > the reason for the choice of Ada was that Ada was the first
              > standardized HL programming language. Oh, the military loves
              > standards. No further explanation necessary.
              >
              > Best regards, Klaus
              >
              >
              > _______________________________________________
              > http://box535.bluehost.com/mailman/listinfo/brin-l_mccmedia.com
              >
            • Klaus Stock
              ... Yup. And neither efficiency nor resilience will help you in the end if you don t ponder some important questions first. Like: do we measure altitude
              Message 6 of 22 , Nov 12, 2012
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                > This plays into some recent conversations about "efficiency" vs "resilience."

                Yup. And neither "efficiency" nor "resilience" will help you in the
                end if you don't ponder some important questions first. Like: "do we
                measure altitude in feet or meters?", or "should we check if the old
                guidance system will work okay in the new rocket?"

                - Klaus

                >> Date: Mon, 12 Nov 2012 20:06:16 +0100
                >> From: ks@...
                >> To: brin-l@...
                >> Subject: Re: Obama II
                >>
                >> > I know as a fact that the Defense Department said they
                >> > would require that all programming for applications they used would have to
                >> > be done in Ada (I think within 5 years) because Ada was a compiler that
                >> > automatically eliminated bugs.
                >>
                >> AFAIK, the Ada compiler can detect many programmer mistakes at compile
                >> time. Of course, one might say that Ada that's mainly because Ada
                >> imposes so many restrictions on the programmer that the chance to make
                >> mistakes is greatly increased (compared to more "relaxed" languages,
                >> which do, for example, implicit type conversion). Ada also supports
                >> run-time-checks - which detects bugs when it's already too late (or
                >> may even cause bugs in extreme cases).
                >>
                >> Compared to other languages of the time, like Fortran, it's clearly
                >> superior in detecting some classes of bugs early. It also reduces the
                >> programmer's efficiency, resulting the number of bugs per time compare
                >> to more efficient languages.
                >>
                >> However, the "best bugs" are introduced during programming, but much
                >> earlier. Catching bugs at the earliest possible time is expensive, but
                >> the ROI is immense and outweighs the cost by several orders of
                >> magnitude. Of course, any manager who was reading this dropped out at
                >> the word "expensive", so defective software will remain the standard.
                >>
                >>
                >> Okay, the word "standard" reminds to get back on-topic. I suspect that
                >> the reason for the choice of Ada was that Ada was the first
                >> standardized HL programming language. Oh, the military loves
                >> standards. No further explanation necessary.
                >>
                >> Best regards, Klaus
                >>
                >>
                >> _______________________________________________
                >> http://box535.bluehost.com/mailman/listinfo/brin-l_mccmedia.com
                >>

                >

                >



                --
                Best regards,
                Klaus mailto:ks@...


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              • Doug Pensinger
                Actually, bugs/design flaws caught during the design phase cost far less than those discovered during the build. Doug GSV Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor
                Message 7 of 22 , Nov 12, 2012
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                  Actually,  bugs/design flaws caught during the design phase cost far less than those discovered during the build.

                  Doug
                  GSV Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance

                • Dan Minette
                  ... You know that, in over 30 years of programming, I never really had those types of bugs that become features in software. But, I m very unusual, I program
                  Message 8 of 22 , Nov 17, 2012
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                    >
                    > However, the "best bugs" are introduced during programming, but much
                    > earlier. Catching bugs at the earliest possible time is expensive, but
                    > the ROI is immense and outweighs the cost by several orders of
                    > magnitude. Of course, any manager who was reading this dropped out at
                    > the word "expensive", so defective software will remain the standard.

                    You know that, in over 30 years of programming, I never really had those
                    types of bugs that become features in software. But, I'm very unusual, I
                    program as a means of thinking out the physics of the problem I'm trying to
                    solve. In other words, I write software, where the previous generation, or
                    even physicists 5 years ahead of me, would work things on on paper.

                    I recall, back in '81, patientily listening to a post doc explaining how to
                    do the error anaysis of my data. I patiently listened to him, he knew more
                    than I did on most things and had earned my respect, until there was a
                    pause.

                    I then asked him, but isn't this just an approximation, wouldn't running a
                    Monte Carlo to get the error be more accurate.

                    He said "yes, but do you have any idea how much it would cost to do a Monte
                    Carlo error analysis?"

                    I said "yes, $0.27. I did it this morning."

                    He looked at me, and said "grad. students have it too easy these days, and I
                    left his office"

                    The moral of the story is that if you think carfully about what questions
                    you ask early, and your job title allows you to do that (as someone who is
                    expected to come up with inventions that solve problems, you get some
                    leeway...especially if you have a PhD in physics....it may not be fair that
                    we get more leeway, but it's my experience), then you can have software that
                    actually basically works the first time it is tried with a real tool. I've
                    twice had the experience of "well we'll try this, but we'll have to get back
                    to you when it fails" and me saying "but, I've tested it pretty extensively
                    on data in post processing mode, if the same data is in the tool, I'll have
                    failure modes with unusual data, but it should generally work" and having it
                    work first time in the tool.

                    Dan M.



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