r: [self-interest] languages

Albertina Lourenci lourenci at lsi.usp.br
Tue Jan 9 14:43:45 UTC 2001

Brian Rice wrote:

> >>
> >Well, what I really think is that computer science is rather looking like
> >a Babel Tower. When I joined  the Workshop of the PHD students
> >in OO programming at ECOOP'97, my colleagues were already
> >feeling this phenomenon..Their proposal or at least of some
> >  there was that we should restrict the proliferation of new languages.
> >No more languages...Of course I found and find this proposal
> >preposterous.
> >
> >However reading papers about reflection right now, I start feeling
> >things are like Babel Tower. To read a single paper I have to know
> >all about all types of patterns (architectural, design and so on)
> >all about reflection(!!!), distributed systems, OO, media space
> >and so on...Finally after a great effort I  am managing to understand
> >what this intriguing paper is about. And of course I still do not
> >know which language will be used for implementation....
> >
> >Maybe there should be a list to try to integrate all these
> >different computational trends.
> >For example suddenly I discovered that a user interface is
> >a virtual machine!!!!That the user can program the set of
> >instructions of programmable processors and so on ...
> >
> >I do not go crazy because I am an architect and at least
> >for the moment although I am dependent thoroughly on
> >computer science, the integration of my knowledge based
> >system can be accomplished at a design level before
> >proceeding to implementation.
> >ANyhow all this is very frustrating. I would appreciate
> >more integrative approaches in computer science.
> >
> >Cheers
> >Albertina

Hi Brian:

> <PLUG TYPE="shameless"><A HREF="http://www.tunes.org">The TUNES
> Project</A></PLUG>

I downloaded "Metaprogramming and free availability of sources. Two
challenges for computing today + Why a new operating system? +
The TUNEs glossary.

I found interesting the list of people working on reflection. However
I consider Patrick Steyaert from Belgium a leading name in the subject
and his name was not there. Will you please add his important
contribution? Especially because it is associated with the prototype-based
language Agora.

> Seriously, this is what I am working on (Jecel also participates when
> he can). The project is unfunded (I have even had to drop out of
> school for a few years to avoid "brainwashing"), but a few people
> (mostly Faré and I) have accomplished a lot of headway. Unfortunately
> because we have no formal support from any institutions (at the
> moment), our research efforts have been hampered by a perceived lack
> of a precise plan.

I am lucky because I have a precise plan, the development of  a prototype
based knowledge based system to design and plan sustainable cities.
Due to the complexity of the architectural and urban design and urban
planning reasoning, I am finally perceiving  that I will need a much
more encompassing computational  open system  than the Self language
by itself can provide. However I would abandon  Self only for a superior
language to it.
The problem for international joint research is the low salaries
in Brazil. FAPESP can provide funds of millions of dollars for outstanding
research plans but payment for personnel will be according to
BRazilian standards.

> Because of this, our mailing list has also over the years picked up a
> lot of this Babel effect (I avoided it for years for this reason),
> even as our goal is unification (be careful on how you interpret
> that).

Well I am not a computer scientist, but I am managing to unfold
a knowledge based system that  cares for unification  in the realm
of urban sustainability in such a way that it respects the very
creativity of the free form in architecture. Every architectural designer
will express himself through  the ecodesign model and the submodel
of the geometric modeling. The outcome is always a
surprise even for the designer. Until now any style in architecture
is a simple imitation of previous styles. There is no radical change.
Moreover one could work in a team of hundreds of people!!!And yet
there can be consensus about the final outcome of something.
This final outcome can always be improved and another outcome
can be reached if someone for example the owner of the project
is not satisfied.

So I think when one thinks scientifically one can delve deeper
into any realm and manage to grasp the gist of the domain
and translate it into scientifc terms, I mean objective terms
This is possible because the nature of a thing, of an idea is
captured and this does not depend on a subject (I or other's

I have no idea how to reach this unification in computer
science, but what I am sure if no effort is held in this direction
no efficient computational open system will be built. Hence
no knowledge based system for complex applications
will work efficiently.

> I've said too much already.

If you could show us how Self can be integrated into
this broader unifying framework you and Faré  and
others are trying to build  you will be contributing
greatly to my research. Or if Self must be adapted
or you would suggest  building a far better language
and cite the necessary properties of this new language
it is also objective contribution.

I do thank you for this new intriguing site.


Best wishes and good luck!


| Albertina Lourenci                                       |
| PhD  in Architecture and Urbanism                        |
| post-doctorate researcher                                |
| Laboratory of Integrated Systems University of Sao Paulo |
| Avenida Professor Luciano Gualberto, 158 Travessa 3      |
| CEP: 05508-900                                           |
| Sao Paulo Sao Paulo State Brazil                         |
| Voice: +55 011 818 5254                                  |
| Fax: +55 11 211 4574                                     |

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