User talk:Allan McInnes/Archive1

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Archive of User talk:Allan McInnes covering 2005-12-07 through 2006-05-13


Hello, Allan McInnes/Archive1, and welcome to Wikipedia! Thank you for your contributions. I hope you like the place and decide to stay. Here are a few good links for newcomers:

I hope you enjoy editing here and being a Wikipedian! Please sign your name on talk pages using four tildes (~~~~); this will automatically produce your name and the date. If you need help, check out Wikipedia:Where to ask a question, ask me on my talk page, or place {{helpme}} on your talk page and someone will show up shortly to answer your questions. Again, welcome!  —R. Koot 15:28, 7 December 2005 (UTC)

Unbounded nondeterminism[edit]

Hi, while I generally don't think it is a good idea to confront new users with the darker side of Wikipedia, I have a request for you. Looking at the edits you have already made and your academic home page, you seem to be very knowledgable about CSP, distributed systems and such. A number of articles, such as unbounded nondeterminism and actor model and process calculi have been under heavy edit by Carl Hewitt (of actors fame). There are some serious doubts about the factual accuracy though (they seems to paint the actos model in a brighter color than it really is). Would you mind looking over them? Cheers, —R. Koot 15:39, 7 December 2005 (UTC)

“Very knowledgeable” may be a bit of an overestimation, but I do have some background in process calculi/algebras. I will look over the articles you've pointed to, and, where I see any assertions of fact that I know to be false, try to fix them. Hopefully some of the people who have contributed to the article on the π-calculus will also be able to help.--Allan McInnes 17:06, 7 December 2005 (UTC)


Hi Allan. I don't think we have met before, but I wanted to thank you for preparing and presenting evidence in the arbitration case. I know from experience that this is a lot of work, which could conceivably be spent on actually improving the encyclopaedia or even, gasp, research. Enjoy your Christmas break! -- Jitse Niesen (talk) 00:54, 21 December 2005 (UTC)

Article about you[edit]

I created an article about you (Allan McInnes). Please feel free to correct any errors or omissions.--Carl Hewitt 19:41, 3 January 2006 (UTC)

Wikiproject: Comp Sci[edit]

You sure are one hell of a recruiter. :) I will try and contribute from time to time, particularly on the more general topics of Computer Science. Also, here's a relevant link from the WP:MEA project... Missing NIST Algorithms and Data Structures. Gflores Talk 20:37, 27 January 2006 (UTC)

Thanks! :-) Good to have you onboard. And thanks for the link. --Allan McInnes 20:43, 27 January 2006 (UTC)

I applaud your work in improving Wikipedia's coverage of Computer Science topics. Quarl (talk) 2006-01-27 23:54Z

Hey Allan, good work with WP:CompSci :D I'll try to drop in from time to time, but currently (meat-space obligations) > (digital-space obligations). I just want to give you a heads up that, there's a small number of articles on Software Engineering (as a disciple). Since the wiki doesn't have a dedicated SoftEng project, you might wanna take those under the CS blanket, thought i'm sure that George Parnas/Ian Summerville would have me thrown in the PDP-01 Hell for saying so ;) Project2501a 11:13, 29 January 2006 (UTC)

Thanks for the heads up! Ideally, at least in IMHO, SoftEng would be covered by an Engineering WikiProject. But there doesn't seem to be one. And besides, let's be honest, most of the people who would be involved in such a project wouldn't have the first clue how to deal with SoftEng. So I guess it makes more sense to bring SoftEng into the CS fold. Hopefully there are a few of us with engineering backgrounds who can make sure that the "engineering" part of SoftEng doesn't get lost in the process. --Allan McInnes 16:46, 29 January 2006 (UTC)

Thanks for the hearty welcome to the project; I'm glad to be here. Why do you think it is that most of CS Wikipedians are theory people? Very strange — not that I'm complaining. --Mgreenbe 22:53, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

Perhaps it's because academics (or theory people) have more free time :-) Alternative answers might be that the practice people just haven't found us yet, or that they're just more interested in contributing to things like language-specific projects. Speaking for myself, my interest in theory is as much about seeking ways to apply it in practice, as it is developing new theory. But then, my background is in engineering... --Allan McInnes (talk) 23:58, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

Concurrency or what have you[edit]

Sorry for the delay in responding: I'd be happy to be involved, though I'm trying to put as much of my effort into the logic articles (will try to start to logic wikiproject myself soon). I don't have much of a feel for whether trying to inject new life into the old project or starting a new one will work out better, but the former is probably less work and if it doesn't work out you can try your original plan. --- Charles Stewart(talk) 03:13, 29 January 2006 (UTC)

Thanks for getting back to me. I've now gone the "former route", and it seems to be working out ok so far. BTW, I will be more than happy to join the logic project if/when it gets rolling. --Allan McInnes 03:17, 29 January 2006 (UTC)

My, what a nice welcome to the wikiproject! Hope everything works out with it: it looks very promising so far. --- Charles Stewart(talk) 19:58, 2 February 2006 (UTC)

Overstated grammar usage[edit]

This interchange was removed from my talk page by User:Dzonatas on 2 February 2006. Since I have nothing to hide, I have added these comments back again. --Allan McInnes (talk) 23:15, 9 February 2006 (UTC)
Stop hand.svg

Please see Wikipedia's no personal attacks policy: There is no excuse for personal attacks on other contributors. Do not make them. Comment on content, not on the contributor; personal attacks damage the community and deter users. Note that you may be blocked for disruption. Please stay cool and keep this in mind while editing. Thanks,

I'm not about to get into a war with you over technical details about what you believe is the best syntax for English. To continually hit upon my use of English is taken as a personal attack; you started to judge me and not the article or the facts. — Dzonatas 18:05, 2 February 2006 (UTC)

I am sorry if you see my comments with regard to phrasing as personal attacks. They are certainly not meant that way. I have not judged you personally, or claimed that you are a poor writer. I have simply pointed out specific phrases that seem overly complex or unclear to me, and tried to either suggest alternate phrasing that (in my opinion) make things clearer, or ask you to provide an elaborated version of what you are trying to say so that we can work on a clearer way of saying it. I have similarly had other people suggest improvements to my own phrasing, when it has been less than clear, on this and many other articles. In my mind, it is simply part of the collaborative process of refining the text of an article, and one of the advantages of the Wikipedia system. I am sorry if you don't see it that way. --Allan McInnes 19:29, 2 February 2006 (UTC)

ERP etc.[edit]

No problem ... if you check the talk on Wikipedia:WikiProject Computing, I proposed the same two articles there, and also the issue of implementing Sarbanes Oxley. I personally do not have a good grasp of what is considered computer science anyway. I learned my application programming trade after dropping out of College (couldn't make the grades) in the 1960's, then after I had worked in several different industries, managed to get back to College, this time to use the courses I had got good grades in, as collateral to take every class in computing that was then offered in academia. I was then not interested in the semantics, but in practical theory and technique, then I was back into application programming again. User:AlMac|(talk) 08:56, 6 February 2006 (UTC)

One of the grievances by an editor at List of basic computer science topics was over what belongs in computer science and what belongs in computing in general. I wonder what is the purpose of some articles like this, which makes the most sense for navigating what other articles exist on Wikipedia within a general concept:
  • Categories
  • Lists
  • Portals
  • Main articles with templates for bottom of related pages
Well perhaps I need more Wiki editing experience before I comfortable with trade-offs between the approaches. User:AlMac|(talk) 09:01, 6 February 2006 (UTC)
I'm not really sure what the best solution for navigation is either. It strikes me that there may not be a "best". Different approaches are going to work better for different people. As far as what's considered computer science, the precise definition is vague, but a good rule of thumb is probably "tools and techniques for creating and analyzing software, as well as the underlying theory of software creation and analysis". As I mentioned on the WPCS talk pages, I think that the current computer science article gives a pretty good overview of what is considered CS these days. --Allan McInnes (talk) 16:16, 6 February 2006 (UTC)


Could you take a look at this? Cheers, —Ruud 02:28, 8 February 2006 (UTC)

Well, from a cursory inspection it's pretty clear that the evidence provided for the first assertion doesn't actually back up that assertion (grammar fix != "removing improvement" - in fact, I was going to make a similar edit, but you got there first), nor is it a personal attack. That pretty much blows a big hole in the second assertion, which depends on the first. A quick scan of the evidence presented for the third assertion makes it pretty clear that
  1. you weren't the only editor reverting Dz's (drastic) changes (Tompsci and Powo were also obviously involved)
  2. Dz was doing as much reverting as anyone else
  3. the talk page reverts were valid, and explained in the edit summary.
I'd guess (based on the template edit summaries, and the timing of his first edit to add evidence) that Dz got annoyed with the little conflict you two had over the template, and decided to hit back. I can't imagine that any of these assertions will do much to sway the ArbCom, so I'd just ignore them for now. --Allan McInnes (talk) 04:20, 8 February 2006 (UTC)

You can look at it as a hit back, but that is your way to filter the messages. There is a lot of discussion and a lot of viewpoints that can be brought up in endless debates, but there are those that come to wikipedia to actually discuss the views and explore ideas. To prohibit such discussion is against the very foundation of open content and Wikipedia itself. It happens, and there are those who can work together. Do you want to work together? Are you interested in all the possibilities on human knowledge? — Dzonatas 15:00, 8 February 2006 (UTC)

I am interested in producing an encyclopaedia. I'm happy to work with anyone who wants to do the same thing. --Allan McInnes (talk) 16:10, 8 February 2006 (UTC)


I just wanted to thank you over the contributions you have made towards the Computer science articles as well as the wikiproject. I believe that it helped improve the overall quality of the wikipedian experience. -- Evanx 05:24, 8 February 2006 (UTC)

Thank you! It's very kind of you to say so. --Allan McInnes (talk) 06:08, 8 February 2006 (UTC)
I am interested in helping out with the wikiproject although I may lack expertise in the matter. However, I am willing to help out as a faciliator in resolving differences. You can evaluate my performance from the talk pages in the archives of Computer science. -- Evanx(tag?) 08:13, 12 February 2006 (UTC)
You are absolutely welcome to join WikiProject Computer science (not that an invitation is required - it's an open project). Expertise, or lack thereof, is not an issue. There are plenty of things that you can do on the project that don't require deep knowledge. Besides, I'm willing to bet that many of us have "expertise" in one area, but know little about other areas. For example, I'm reasonably well-versed in concurrency, but my knowledge of (as one example) type theory is sketchy at best. Just jump on in. It's a great way to learn, if nothing else :-)
--Allan McInnes (talk) 08:25, 12 February 2006 (UTC)
I will make a firm decision after the resolution of the template issue. I am still hestitant due to my commitments in university, yet it bodes well since it cements the neutrality (especially because I do not intend to vote). -- Evanx(tag?) 09:11, 12 February 2006 (UTC)
I can understand your hesitation. But please keep in mind that you are only committed to put in as much time and effort as you can afford. We don't assign tasks or anything like that. Everyone just does what they think needs doing. You're welcome to contribute as much or as little as you want to. --Allan McInnes (talk) 03:45, 13 February 2006 (UTC)

CS articles needing attention[edit]

Yeah, I figured. :) Oops, I meant to post software architect in place of systems architect. Frankly, I don't have a clue the differences b/w these (or if they relate to CS). However, software architect and systems architect both are categorized as computer science. Should I remove the cats? P.S. Your input is needed on WP:COMPSCI. Gflores Talk 17:46, 10 February 2006 (UTC)

Software architect should certainly be in CS. It's a specialization of systems architect for software. Systems architect probably shouldn't be categorized as CS. It's a much more general term that refers to someone who takes overall responsibility for a system (software or hardware), defines the "architecture", and helps to oversee the detailed design. It's analogous to a building architect, but more general. The DoD employs systems architects to help them shape things like the GPS system. Microprocessor companies have processor architects. Etc. etc. I'll fix the cats. --Allan McInnes (talk) 18:49, 10 February 2006 (UTC)

You may be too strict to about the classification of computer architecture[edit]

Using your standard, we have to delete bioinformatics and many other terms(Cryptography,Graph theory, they do not even have 'computer' in the name! They belong to Math!) in computer science. The preceding unsigned comment was added by Liao (talk • contribs) .

The computer science article already states (in the section on relationships with other fields) that the study of computer hardware, which includes computer architecture, is generally considered part of computer engineering. With reagrd to your other points, bioinformatics is pretty clearly CS (that is, after all, what "informatics" means), while Cryptography and Graph theory are well-acknowledged foundational areas of CS in which many computer scientists do research. I'm not aware of any computer scientists doing research or development work on computer architecture. That tends to be the province of computer engineers. --Allan McInnes (talk) 01:16, 16 February 2006 (UTC)

WikiProject CS[edit]

Thank you for your warm welcome. I'll try to do my best with the C++ project and other stuff. Deryck C. 12:13, 11 March 2006 (UTC)

Thank you very much for the warm welcome. I will do my best to achieve what the project aims. Ozgurgerilla 03.10, 23 April 2006 (GMT)

Spelling problems[edit]

Hi Allan. I am new to Wikipedia editing, so I may not have yet the right practice. Still trying to learn; About the recommended spelling of "meta-model" into "metamodel", I have added some comments but I am not sure this is the right way to do it. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by MDE (talkcontribs) .

It's not so much a question of "recommended spelling", as it is keeping one consistent spelling throughout the article (including the article name itself). --Allan McInnes (talk) 02:59, 24 April 2006 (UTC)

Syntax of π-calculus[edit]

The way you formulated it is also used in Milner’s book on the topic, but, for what it’s worth, I do not quite understand why it’s useful. Isn’t concurrency intended to be expressed as process, vertical bar, process? And, since P is the non-terminal that describes all processes, wouldn’t the most straightforward way to write that be P|P? I know it’s generally a good thing to use the same notation as the textbook does, but in this case, I find the indices confusing, not clarifying, for anyone familiar with *BNF but not (yet) with π-calculus. To disambiguate further from the use of P and derivatives as variable/process names, how about the following?

\mathit{proc} ::= & x(y).\mathit{proc} \\
    | & x \langle y \rangle.\mathit{proc} \\
    | & \mathit{proc}|\mathit{proc} \\
    | & !\mathit{proc} \\
    | & (\nu x).\mathit{proc} \\
    | & 0

The advantage would be that proc isn’t used anywhere else in the article, so the concurrency syntax would be easy to read, and the disadvantage, of course, that it’s not quite the same notation as used by Milner et al.

On a related note, in his book, Milner defines a separate non-terminal for x(y) and x<y> and defines sums as part of the process syntax. Should I plagiarise from thereput that into the article? —xyzzyn 21:45, 27 April 2006 (UTC)

I was mostly trying to find something that would be consistent with the discussion of the meaning of the productions that appears below the BNF syntax (where it becomes necessary to differentiate between the concurrent processes). I like your suggestion of using proc in the BNF though. Then we can use P,Q,R,... to refer to specific processes in the following discussion without generating too much confusion. I may rewrite Communicating sequential processes#Syntax in the same form, just to maintain some consistency among the presentations of different process calculi.
It's not obvious to me why the sum was left out of the syntax. Certainly, Milner includes it in the original presentation, and Sangiorgi includes at least the guarded version in his PhD thesis (and also provides a separate non-terminal for x(y) and x<y>). So I'd support adding sums to the syntax. Not sure how I feel about separating out the communications events. --Allan McInnes (talk) 22:17, 27 April 2006 (UTC)

Auckland meetup[edit]

Just to let you know that a meetup is planned in Auckland for the 25th of June (see Wikipedia:Meetup/Auckland for more details), and that you are cordially invited. GeorgeStepanek\talk 00:21, 30 April 2006 (UTC)

Why so few Wikipedians are engineers?[edit]

I am trying to understand why there are so few Wikipedians who are graduate engineers. Once I get a grasp on that, perhaps I may be able to formulate some ideas on how to attract more experienced engineers to become Wikipedians. It would be very helpful if you would respond to these a few questions:

  • Are you a university graduate engineer?
  • Please indicate in which of these engineering disciplines you obtained your degree:
    1. Aeronautical or aerospace engineering
    2. Bioengineer or biological engineering
    3. Chemical engineering
    4. Civil engineering
    5. Electrical engineering
    6. Environmental engineering
    7. Mechanical engineering
    8. Petroleum engineering
    9. Other
  • In what year did you obtain your degree?
  • What attracted you to participate in Wikipedia?

If you would rather not answer these questions on your Talk page, then you may respond on my User talk:mbeychok page. Or you may respond to me via Wikipedia's email which I have enabled on my User:mbeychok page.

If you would rather not respond at all, that's fine also. Regards, - mbeychok 04:28, 4 May 2006 (UTC)

Interface Control Documents[edit]

See: Talk:Interface_Control_Document

Wikimedia New Zealand[edit]

Hey, just thought you might be interested to know that Wikimedia New Zealand is getting a bit of grunt behind it, and you may be interested in contributing, feel free to pop over to and register your name etc if you are indeed interested. --NigelJ talk 05:21, 13 May 2006 (UTC)