Talk:Indirection

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need help on this word


someone needs to add the Alan Kay quote that all computing problems are ultimately solved by indirection...

Here is a bit of indirection for the purpose: David Wheeler (computer scientist)141.150.23.3 (talk) 01:23, 2 August 2009 (UTC)

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The "Kay" quote appears here on the Indirection page as:

A famous aphorism of David Wheeler goes: All problems in computer science can be solved by another level of indirection; this is often deliberately mis-quoted with "abstraction layer" substituted for "level of indirection". Kevlin Henney's corollary to this is, "...except for the problem of too many layers of indirection."

However, the Abstraction layer page tells a different story:

A famous aphorism of Butler Lampson goes: All problems in computer science can be solved by another level of indirection; this is often deliberately mis-quoted with "abstraction" substituted for "indirection". David Wheeler's corollary to this is, "...except for the problem of too many layers of indirection."

The Butler Lampson page explains:

Lampson is often quoted as saying "Any problem in computer science can be solved with another level of indirection", but in his Turing Award Lecture in 1993, Lampson himself attributes this saying to David Wheeler.

And the Talk:David Wheeler (computer scientist) page provides some dreaded original research implying that he originated the corollary:

I don't have a good citation. I chatted with David about this quote a few weeks before his death and I think he used the word "layer" then. But I don't think he would have considered minor stylistic differences such as whether the word "layer" or "level" is used significant in this context, and it is well possible that he has said both in the past. He did however stress that he considered the inclusion of the – often omitted – second part "But that usually creates another problem." as significant. It is more the spirit that counts than the exact wording. Markus Kuhn (talk) 13:08, 16 December 2007 (UTC)

I think that this is the correct chronological order:

  1. David Wheeler said, "All problems in computer science can be solved by another level of indirection ... except for the problem of too many layers of indirection."
  2. Butler Lampson repeated only the first part, "All problems in computer science can be solved by another level of indirection," and, in his Turing Award Lecture in 1993, attributed this saying to David Wheeler.
  3. Kevlin Henney repeated the entire corollary.

If David Wheeler is the originator of the full aphorism, I wonder if it can be considered a corollary to Lampson's later truncation.

For consistency, these pages should all tell the same story: Abstraction layer, Butler Lampson, David Wheeler (computer scientist), Indirection, and possibly Kevlin Henney.

JoelShprentz (talk) 15:46, 9 November 2010 (UTC)

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"The term indirection occurs also in linguistics, especially in agglutinative languages, such as the Finnish language or Turkish language"

Um, that's nice ... but WTF does it mean in a linguistics context????? I was directed to this article from untranslatability. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 211.31.37.40 (talk) 03:44, 19 April 2009 (UTC)