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[REBOL] Re: More on expressions

From: sunandadh:aol at: 8-Feb-2003 15:50

Hi Joel, Thanks for a comprehensive and interesting discussion as usual. You are right that I attempted to move the issue from algorithm design to application design. I guess that's my bias. I enjoy the fact that we can come up with so may algorithms for doing the same thing. We need lots of different algorithms, each with its own datasheet of strengths and weaknesses. That way, application designers can pick the one they need. Different application designers will pick different algorithms depending on their needs. The right solution for a real-time controller (needing a determinate response time) may be different from another embedded-chip application (needing smallest footprint) and so on. Me, I've been warped by three decades of commercial application design. Means I normally instinctively go for the solution with the fewest built-in assumptions -- the most "general" usual, but seldom the most elegant. I know -- believe me I do -- that within 24 hours of implementing a median algorithm that handled numerics, I'd be on the wrong end of this phone call: It's broken! It's not displaying the median.....Yes, I know we said they'd be numbers -- but not always....On a Tuesday afternoon of course the three things could be city names....No of course we don't want the middle one alphabetically in that case -- why on earth would anyone want *that*!?....We need the median *population* -- unless the user logged on is a member of the ethics committee then they'd probably want the city with the median distance from the North Pole -- but check with them first, that's only a guess.....Why should I know if there are any other special cases" like that? -- you wrote the code: it's your job to know what median means.....And we need it fixed within 20 minutes." Sunanda.