[self-interest] programming and knowledge representation

Albertina Lourenci lourenci at lsi.usp.br
Wed Jan 17 15:01:58 UTC 2001

Thilo Schwidurski wrote:

Dear Thilo:

Will you please indicate your home pages and/or references
for me to delve deeper into your intriguing insights?
I kept thinking about them  and indeed  some of your
remarks find  resonance in my inner feelings about
hermeneutic computer science.

Best wishes

> Dear members,
> the group lately adressed unification of languages (vs. "Babel
> effect") and metaprogramming and other philosophical concepts. So I
> felt that it might be a good place for a discussion of some thoughts
> about programming and more general about knowledge representation.
> Please forgive in the case that I even use whole phrases that were
> already written here (or elsewhere) without quoting properly - in the
> end nothing I have to say is possibly really new - maybe/hopefully
> except of the overall picture. But I can say that I definitly got
> inspired and encouraged by the Self-, the Merlin- (Jecels not Suns),
> the Tunes project and of course of all of what I read from you that
> are devoted to thinking about programming in this group (and a couple
> of others).
> A first helpful step to deal with the "Babel effect"-problem could be
> changing the view on what programming is. I see Programming (perhaps a
> bit more general as usual) as gaining and writing down knowledge. You
> could associate "gaining knowledge" with "designing/architecturing
> programs".
> I don't see so much use any more in the partitioning of knowledge in
> data and programs/algorithms. An example: every program code that
> contains constants contains "plain" data. Every database that contains
> a kind of rules (I am thinking of values of string-fields that contain
> code) contains programs.
> So what I am aiming at ?
> -
> Knowledge can be represented as a directed graph, which' nodes could
> be seen as extremly fine grained objects - possibly only "containing"
> one value of a POD-Type like String or Number. Maybe there has to be
> also a Bitarray Datatype but 'only' for efficiency in storing
> "multimedia data" streams.
> All other common named properties of objects like attributes, methods,
> inheritence parents (each also representable by slots) and types are
> realized by named edges. An edge can be named because edges can also
> be connected - with edges or objects. The names are just objects (a
> string-value-node).
> This special graph (I would like to call it hypergraph but the term is
> already defined differently - so I will just refer to it as graph) can
> be seen as an "amalgamated structure" of semantic networks, object
> networks and hypermedia in respect of what it can represent. I see it
> as kind of "mother of representations" or *the* model (like in
> model-view).
> One motivation for this represention structure is that I found that
> the relations between objects are at least as important as the objects
> itself.
> For example is deleting an object almost always really the unlinking
> of two objects (that a historizing mechanism can and should take care
> of).
> -
> The basic language concepts (message passing, delegation to prototypes
> and classes, ...) can be plugged in (and perhaps sometimes even out
> of) the environment (that means getting assigned to the
> "environment?-object").
> I am not sure if this is partly not even already state of the art in
> Smalltalk/Self/other environments.
> -
> To represent code of the conventional textual programming languages
> each language concept can be assigned to an arbitrary syntax (of
> course carefully, without violating inherent constraints like "no two
> concepts may be assigned to the same syntax within the same
> environment") or even a set of alternative syntaxes. For example would
> I prefer to write down mathematical code expressions in the common
> mathematical symbol language (probably enhanced to be
> computer-interpretable).
> As far as I know there are functional languages that have this feature
> of syntax-adaption. I am not sure at all (because I never designed a
> language) if this "separating of concepts" works at all. I just have a
> good feeling that it should anyway ;-)
> -
> Each language concept is assigned to (and gets processed by) an
> interpreting machine (part of a compiler or interpreter or VM) - this
> machine solely works with the underlying graph (seeing it as the
> traditional AST-structure).
> -
> All the other common representations (e.g. textual program code, but
> also "more visual" representations like UML, just everything that is
> known as hypermedia) can be generated (temporarily) as *views* an the
> graph by transforming-adapters.
> -
> A persistence-mechanism (mapping between different "layers" of
> storage) only deals with graphs (resp. queried portions of the "whole"
> graph). That means that the underlying graph/OO-database (virtual
> memory management ? - I get confused what the different "parts" of the
> concepts behind these terms really are) just works with graphs.
> -
> Historizing information is embedded in the graph and the processing
> and usage of it is a crucial part of the KlDE (knowledge development
> environment) as it seems to be very important to being able to track
> the evolution of knowledge (especially the evolution of the linking).
> -
> Also like Historizing is Personalization (think of ownership,
> authorship and privacy) a basic concept that has to be serviced by the
> system.
> -
> After all could this system be the foundation of something like "open
> knowledge" (in contrast to "open software") development - aiming at
> breaking down the borderwalls of heterogenic knowledge representation
> systems (possibly just yet another holy grail dream :-/ ...).
> I shurely hope this ideas are not to far away from your interests and
> would love to discuss them with you.
> Regards,
> Thilo.

| 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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