May This essay is derived from a guest lecture at Harvard, which incorporated an earlier talk at Northeastern. When I finished grad school in computer science I went to art school to study painting.
A lot of people seemed surprised that someone interested in computers would also be interested in painting. They seemed to think that hacking and painting were very different kinds of work-- that hacking was cold, precise, and methodical, and that painting was the frenzied expression of some primal urge.
Both of these images are wrong. Hacking and painting have a lot in common.
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In fact, of all the different types of people I've known, hackers and painters are among the most alike. What hackers and painters have in common is that they're both makers. Along with composers, architects, and writers, what hackers and painters are trying to do is make good things.
They're not doing research per se, though if in the course of trying to make good things they discover some new technique, so much the better. I've never liked the term "computer science. Computer science is a grab bag of tenuously related areas thrown together by an accident of history, like Yugoslavia.
At one end you have people who are really mathematicians, but call what they're doing computer science so they can get DARPA grants. In the middle you have people working on something like the natural history of computers-- studying the behavior Essay Four Life Painting Still algorithms for routing data through networks, for example. And then at the other extreme you have the hackers, who are trying to write interesting software, and for whom computers are just a medium of expression, as concrete is for architects or paint for painters.
It's as if mathematicians, physicists, and architects all had to be in the same department. Sometimes what the hackers do is called "software engineering," but this term is just as misleading. Good software designers are no more engineers than architects are. The border between architecture and engineering is not sharply defined, but it's there. It falls between what and how: What and how should not be kept too separate.
You're asking for trouble if you try to decide what to do without understanding how to do it. But hacking can certainly be more than just deciding how to implement some spec.
At its best, it's creating the spec-- though it turns out the best way to do that is to implement it. Perhaps one day "computer science" will, like Yugoslavia, get broken up into its component just click for source. That might be a good thing. Especially if it meant independence for my native land, hacking. Bundling all these different types of work together in one department may be convenient administratively, but it's confusing intellectually.
That's the other reason I don't like the name "computer science. But the people at either end, the hackers and the mathematicians, are not actually doing science. The mathematicians don't seem bothered by this. But for the hackers this label is a Essay Four Life Painting Still.
If what they're doing is called science, it makes them feel they ought to be acting scientific. So instead of doing what they really want to do, which is to design beautiful software, hackers in universities and research labs feel they ought to be writing research papers. In the best case, the papers are just a formality. Hackers write cool software, and then write a paper about it, and the paper becomes a proxy for the achievement represented by the software.
But often this mismatch causes problems. It's easy to drift away from building beautiful things toward building ugly things that make more suitable subjects for research papers. Unfortunately, beautiful things don't always make the best subjects for papers.
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Number one, research must be original-- and as anyone who has written a PhD dissertation knows, the way to be sure that you're exploring virgin territory is to to stake out a piece of ground that no one wants. Number two, research must be substantial-- source awkward systems yield meatier papers, because you can write about the obstacles you have to overcome in order to get things done.
Nothing yields meaty problems like starting with the wrong assumptions. Most of AI is an example of this rule; if you assume that knowledge can be represented as a list of predicate logic expressions whose arguments represent abstract concepts, you'll have a lot of papers to write about how to make this work. As Ricky Ricardo used to say, "Lucy, article source got a lot of explaining to do.
This kind of work is hard to convey in a research paper. So why do universities and research labs continue to judge hackers by publications? For the same reason that "scholastic aptitude" gets measured by simple-minded standardized tests, or the productivity of programmers gets measured in lines of code.
These tests are easy to apply, and there is nothing so tempting as an easy test that kind of works. Measuring what hackers are actually trying to do, designing beautiful software, would be much more difficult. You need a good sense of design to judge good design. And there is no correlation, except Review Survey Literature On Quality a negative one, between people's ability to recognize good design and their confidence that they can.
The only external test is time. Over time, beautiful things tend to thrive, and ugly things tend to Essay Four Life Painting Still discarded. Unfortunately, the amounts of time involved can be longer than human lifetimes. Samuel Johnson said it took a hundred years for a writer's reputation to converge. You have to wait for Essay Four Life Painting Still writer's influential friends to die, and then for all their followers to die.
I think hackers just have to resign themselves to having a large random component in their reputations.
In this they are no different from other makers. In fact, they're lucky by comparison. The influence of fashion is not nearly so great in hacking as it is in painting. There are worse things than having people misunderstand your work. A worse danger is that you will yourself misunderstand your work.
September Remember the essays you had to write in high school? Topic sentence, introductory paragraph, supporting paragraphs, conclusion. The conclusion being. Tate glossary definition for still life: One of the principal genres (subject types) of Western art – essentially, the subject matter of a still life painting or. As a young woman, becoming a painter was not a part of Frida's career goals. Her goal in life was to become a doctor but a tragic accident at age Try Our Friends At: The Essay Store. Free English School Essays. We have lots of essays in our essay database, so please check back here frequently to see the. May (This essay is derived from a guest lecture at Harvard, which incorporated an earlier talk at Northeastern.) When I finished grad school in computer science.
Related fields are where you go looking for ideas. If you find yourself in the computer science department, there is a natural temptation to believe, for example, that hacking is the applied version of what theoretical computer science is the theory of. All the time I was in graduate school I had an uncomfortable feeling in the back of my mind that I ought to know more theory, and that it was very remiss of me to have forgotten all that stuff within three weeks of the final exam.
Now I realize I was mistaken. Hackers need to understand the theory of computation about as much as painters need to understand paint chemistry. You need to know how to calculate time and space complexity and Essay Four Life Painting Still Turing completeness. You might also want to remember at least the concept of a state machine, in case you have to write a parser or a regular expression library. Painters in fact have to remember a good deal more about paint chemistry than that.
I've found that the best sources of ideas are not the other fields that have the word "computer" in their names, but the other fields inhabited by makers.
Painting has been a much richer source of ideas than the theory of computation. For example, I was taught in college that one ought to figure out a just click for source completely on paper before even going near a computer.
I found that I did not program this way. I found that I liked to program sitting in front of a computer, not source piece of paper. Worse still, instead of patiently writing out a complete program and assuring myself it was correct, I tended to just spew out code that was hopelessly broken, and gradually beat it into shape. Debugging, I was taught, was a kind of final pass where you caught typos and oversights.
The way I worked, it seemed like programming consisted of debugging. For a long time I felt bad about this, just as I once felt bad that I didn't hold my pencil the way they taught me to in elementary school. If I had only looked over at the other makers, the painters or the architects, I would have realized that there was a name for what I was doing: As far as I can tell, the way they taught me to program in college was all wrong. You should figure out programs as you're writing them, just as writers and painters and architects do.
Realizing this has real implications for software Essay Four Life Painting Still. It means that a programming language should, above all, be malleable. A programming language is for thinking of programs, not for expressing Essay Four Life Painting Still you've already thought of. It should be a pencil, not a pen. Static typing would be a fine idea if people actually did write programs the read article they taught me to in college.
But that's not how any of the hackers I know write programs. We need a language that lets us scribble and smudge and smear, not a language where you have to sit with a teacup of types balanced on your knee and make polite conversation with a strict old aunt of a compiler.
While we're on the subject of static typing, identifying with the makers will save us from another problem that afflicts the sciences: Everyone in the sciences secretly believes that mathematicians are Essay Four Life Painting Still than they are. I think mathematicians also believe this. At any rate, the result is that scientists tend to make their work look as mathematical as possible. In a field like physics this probably doesn't do much harm, but the further you get from the natural sciences, the more of a problem it becomes.
A page of formulas just looks so impressive. And so there is a great temptation to work on problems you learn more here treat formally, rather than problems that are, say, important. If hackers identified with other makers, like writers and painters, they wouldn't feel tempted to do this. Writers and painters don't suffer from math envy. They feel as if they're doing something completely unrelated.