[ExI] Belief in maths (was mind body dualism)

Mike Dougherty msd001 at gmail.com
Thu Jul 8 00:00:02 UTC 2010

2010/7/7 Adrian Tymes <wingcat at pacbell.net>
> Actually, it is possible to completely prove the functionality of small pieces of
> code, given certain assumptions.  For instance, assuming the following is run
> via a standard Perl interpreter in the normal sense (with a stdout, et al), the
> following code will always output the string "2" followed by a newline:
> ---
> my $foo = 1;
> $foo = $foo + 1;
> print $foo . "\n";
> ---

Granted.  I overinflated the analogy.

> The trick is, how far can one go with this, while still being economical about
> the effort involved?  NASA's coding procedures - and the astronomical costs
> involved - are a good example of what happens when one tries to apply this
> to very complex programs.  (And even that sometimes fails, though for lack
> of communication and strict adherence to model instead of for theoretical
> break in the model itself.)

Clearly there are cases of computation that may not complete within
the lifetime of the author or possibly the lifetime of the universe.
Some of these questions are solved pragmatically by our brains.  Some
our brains simply refuse to parse/compile/run in the first place.  I
think there's an important piece in there but I'll come back to it at
a much later date.

> effort that the stakeholders often refuse to put forth.  How often have you
> been given vague requirements, where the giver refused to write them
> down into something formal that you could prove whether or not you've
> met?)

Every day.  :)

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