[xquery-talk] XML/XQuery academic conferences ?

Steven Ericsson-Zenith steven at semeiosis.org
Wed Oct 12 17:59:58 PDT 2011

In fact you miss my point David. Algorithmics and Applied Mathematics is not what I was referring to.

I refer rather to the discipline associated with the task of Software Engineering, Mathematical Methods  (rigorous and systematic) rather than Mathematical insights. The use of Languages and Specifications that have a formal basis. Proofs about programs and their properties etc...


On Oct 12, 2011, at 5:46 PM, David Lee wrote:

> Good luck with that.
> I'm all for education, especially mathematics (although I actually favor
> Asttro physicist over Physicists over Mathematicians in terms of accepting
> reality over theory ...)
> I remember 25+ years ago when I worked a at a CADCAM company we hired a
> fresh grade with an MA in Math.  His one saving grace (why the boss hired
> him) was he studied geometric transformations which included as mapping from
> Sphere to any shape.  In theory if you could plot a path on a sphere you
> could just apply a nice transformation and it would apply to any shape ...
> say a cube.
> This should have really saved us some serious work when plotting cutting
> paths for a CMC machine on bars of metal or wood ... Just compute the sphere
> pattern and transform it !  Wow,.
> Nice.
> Sweet !
> well ... something I immediately noted as "obvious" is that when going from
> Sphere to Cube there are some practical ramifications for any real device.
> Like the really interesting non-linear changes in a cutting tool turning the
> 90deg corner where the mathematical model shows it a simple point-to-point
> transition.
> Needless to say he didn't last long (and actually at his choice, he didn't
> have the staying power of someone who actually wanted to get real work
> done).
> Math. Nice.
> when it works.   Until then , give me someone who knows the difference
> between theory and reality.
> -David
> ----------------------------------------
> David A. Lee
> dlee at calldei.com
> http://www.xmlsh.org
> -----Original Message-----
> From: talk-bounces at x-query.com [mailto:talk-bounces at x-query.com] On Behalf
> Of Steven Ericsson-Zenith
> Sent: Wednesday, October 12, 2011 8:17 PM
> To: Michael Kay
> Cc: talk at x-query.com
> Subject: Re: [xquery-talk] XML/XQuery academic conferences ?
> I agree with Michael. Software Engineering is in a deplorable state for
> these reasons. It has a real impact in the economy because maintenance costs
> and failure rates are unreasonably high. It compensates by providing work
> for lower skilled workers prepared to work hard. 
> It's tolerated by some (start-up) corporations only because a small team of
> motivated, productive and hard working bumblers can build stunning and
> unreasonable corporate financial value. The costs are born by other
> corporations (and the public) because they know, or can get, nothing better.
> We are in a growth phase of new technology usage. It will continue for
> awhile but it won't go on forever. At some point in the not too distant
> future Software Engineers will need the skills of Mathematicians (and no,
> they do not have those skills now). They will need these skills because it
> is ultimately the only way to manage the increasing complexity.
> The fact of the matter is that Ph.D.s often do write less code, and that is
> often because less is better. It is also because they typically spend more
> time thinking about the problem in order that they can write less code. If
> they have the mathematical skills I allude to then the code may never need
> maintenance (because you will be able to prove that it has the desired
> properties). But when placed in an environment in which there is an urgency
> to patch failures or there is a deadline that does not allow time for
> thought they often can't compete. 
> The hacker will be needed as long as we write software this way. But it is
> the wrong way to write software.
> I've been both BTW, I began as an industry hacker long before my Ph.D. - and
> I've run project teams with both.
> Speaking now as an Academic. I use XML, XSLT and XQuery in my research. I do
> so primarily because system design and programming with schema awareness is
> a step in the right direction.
> With respect,
> Steven
> On Oct 12, 2011, at 4:22 PM, Michael Kay wrote:
>>>> Few  of the cs phds  I've interviewed could do ANY of the tasks you
> quote.  None had to pass an exam in making programs that actually worked
>> I have to say my experience is the opposite. I've worked with a great many
> software developers who were good at making things, but lacked the education
> to discover the theory of how they ought to be made: they were mechanics
> rather than engineers. As a result I've seen a lot of people building things
> using home-grown invented techniques that were vastly inferior to the state
> of the art available from the research literature. Or doing crazy things
> like trying to parse XML with regular expressions. You get something that
> works most of the time (if you're lucky), but often costs a lot more and
> performs a lot worse than if the designers had had a higher level of
> professional education.
>> Of course that doesn't mean that everyone with a PhD is a good programmer
> or designer, but most of those I have worked with have been.
>> Michael Kay
>> Saxonica
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