Archive for the ‘management’ Category

Finally a test for aptitude for programming?

Saturday, July 15th, 2006

It is well known that it is impossible to use currently available tools to test for ability to program computers.

In their paper The camel has two humps (working title), Dehnadi and Bornat claim to finally have a test, which can predict one’s ability to program. Basically, their test assesses the candidate’s ability to manipulate symbols according to rules without looking for a meaning in those symbols.

A note to self:
According to the above paper, the following are the major semantic hurdles, which trip up novice imperative programmers:

  1. Assignment and sequence.
  2. Recursion/Iteration.
  3. Concurrency.

Novice declarative programmers have to leap the following semantic hurdle:

  • Argument substitution.

In addition to the above semantic hurdles, I know of one additional major semantic hurdle:

  • The concept of a pointer.

I wonder whether there are additional semantic hurdles, listed in some obscure (or not so obscure) paper published somewhere in the world - or even unrecognized so far.

How did the superego come into existence and survive?

Friday, April 28th, 2006

Thoughts after reading the article On awakening the intuitive mind as part of a modern lifestyle:

According to the article, the intuitive, unconstrained mode of thought is probably more productive than the usual constrained mode of thought.

The question is, then, why do we have at all a constrained mode of thought?

I suspect that the answer lies in the pack nature of humans. Humans are similar to dogs in following a leader. Several humans can switch between being leaders and being followers. When they are followers, they are supposed to subordinate their senses and thoughts to those of their leader. They should integrate with the pack way to maximize its effectiveness. The leader alone is supposed to have fully independent thoughts.

The symbolic representation of the above subordination is having in one’s mind the concept of a super-ego, a captain, who gives orders and does not allow the rest of one’s mind to have full freedom to follow wild thoughts.

When an human is alone or is the leader, he is supposed to make full use of his brain. Then the super-ego or the captain are supposed to go offstage until the human is again working in a subordinate role.

Consider the economics of the situation. One human with very free and productive mind can create intellectual output (say, a symphony, an inspiring book, or an ingenious computer program) at rate of say 100 times that of someone whose mind is always in the subordinated state.

However, if a great project needs the intellectual output of 1000 geniuses, then the only practical way to accomplish it is to subordinate the minds of millions of more or less ordinary people to accomplish the great project. It is even impossible to coordinate the workings of those 1000 geniuses without seriously impairing their individual intellectual outputs.

When considering a great project, consider the Manhattan Project, or the project of building a space station capable of housing one million humans.

A way to pass the time during Yom Kippur

Wednesday, October 12th, 2005

… is to read the tome “The Shepherd - The Life Story of Ariel Sharon” by Nir Hefez and Gadi Bloom.
I am still in the year 1969, but I am already impressed by the circuitousness of his life story. He was groomed by David Ben-Gurion, the first Prime Minister of Israel. In the 1950’s he founded Unit 101 and later, in spite of quarrels with other commanders of IDF, he was made responsible for developing methodologies and training soldiers. He already exhibited the qualities of thorough preparations and rigorous postmortem analyses, which served him well in his career.
If his qualities were not needed for defending Israel against its enemies, he would probably have become an agricultural or biotechnology tycoon by now.