[Haskell-cafe] Truly Really Off-topic: (Was: Mathematics)
jerzy.karczmarczuk at unicaen.fr
Mon Aug 29 17:19:37 CEST 2011
Now, something really à côté de la plaque...
Jack Henahan terminates his useful advice addressed to A. Coppin:
> Computer science is no more about computers than astronomy is about telescopes.
> -- Edsger Dijkstra
This citation makes me think, and since this became rare, I share it.
* It is unsourced, repeated without discernment, and Dijkstra cannot
confirm (or deny) it any more. Somehow I cannot believe he said that...
* Dijkstra began to study physics, and a physicist would be reluctant
to make such puns. Why?
o Astronomy, and physics are not only theories of galaxies or
superfluids, but also methodologies of data acquisition and data
processing. Telescopes evolve with our knowledge of the visible
universe, as the accelerators evolve with our knowledge of
elementary particles. You have to know where to look! And how to
interpret the raw, experimental data.
o So, whether you call it Informatique, Datalogi, or whatever, it
is */also/* about computers. Do you really think that the
algorithmics, the thory of parallel computation, etc., have
nothing to do with concrete implementations?
* These among you who touched just a bit of astronomy, should know
what a horrendous amount of "truly astronomical" knowledge is
necessary to make the telescope work! For example to synchronize it
with the earth movement...
* This citation seems to be a savant variant of: "The Fool Looks At
The Finger That Points To The Sky" case... OK, if you wish. But I
had an occasion to sit near a beautiful girl who pointed her hand
and her eyes in the direction of wonderful Zodiac constellations; it
was midnight in the mountains. I don't remember the details, but
without being a fool, I didn't look at the stars... (Well, actually
I was a fool, but it is a long story).
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