Re: the passing of a champion

From: Cimode <>
Date: Sat, 4 Jul 2009 13:20:07 -0700 (PDT)
Message-ID: <>

On 4 juil, 19:32, paul c <> wrote:
> Keith H Duggar wrote:
> > The World Wide Web is built on  seriously flawed theoretical in-
> > formation models.  Instead of regarding information as fundamen-
> > tally relational, such that it could have been modeled using the
> > relational model  invented by Edgar Codd  and  developed and ex-
> > tended by thousands of researchers to  fully replace the concep-
> > tually flawed hierarchical and network models  employed in early
> > databases,  the  WWW  has practically resurrected these ancient,
> > flawed ideas and made them even  less functionally and theoreti-
> > cally  sound.  The result  in practical terms  is that extremely
> > complex access paths must be traversed for even the simplest re-
> > lations and monumental amounts of text must be generated, trans-
> > ferred, and parsed in order to isolate the small relevant pieces
> > of a  complete web page mostly suitable for eye balls after mas-
> > sive amounts of processing and rendering to boot. By making each
> > datum extremely difficult to access, we can simply forget design
> > ing a general system of relational operators on these relations,
> > and  the development of the large number of processing tools at-
> > tests  to the fact that  a general, universal model  is not even
> > within conceptual reach.  The problem,  then, is that describing
> > complex access paths with a reasonable theory is a huge waste of
> > time when  a simple and elegant theory  exists and only requires
> > that the information be organized in a much simpler way. The net
> > effect  of these flawed models is,  ironically, that information
> > that is  originally stored  in relational databases  is packaged
> > and transmitted in a non-relational way that makes unpacking the
> > relations  arduous, tedious, and error-prone. The WWW has turned
> > what is typically already open information  into closed informa-
> > tion through sheer lack  of intelligence and insight into infor-
> > mation science and has forced  what could have been simple quer-
> > ies in a straight-forward language  into massive amounts of ran-
> > dom guesswork.
> > Erik Naggum
> > 2009-03-29
> Interesting to see a language apostle echoing some of what Codd said.
> Of course the historical view is that the fools paradise of
> unnecessarily rigid and redundant structures and idiosyncratic
> application interfaces will be dismantled only with several changes of
> generation.   Some people say even one of the essential breakthroughs,
> the hyperlink, wasn't even a www invention.  Granted, it was a sensible
> insight that a 'world-wide-web' needs a standard but the choice of a
> formatting-oriented standard,namely html, looks more and more like a
> stupidity that will go down as one of history's worst.  A poor choice of
> standard is worse than no standard at all because it encourages
> amateurish and mindless perpetuation.  I'll bet Noel Coward could have
> done better, at least he had the grace to turn down a knighthood.
Interesting. This post mortem ghost reflexion (and I mean that in a respectful way) does sound like a testament to future generations of scientists. Once again, it is fascinating to observe that the post industrial Western thirst for an immediate instutionalization of empirical discoveries has hit the brick wall of historical science realism. History indeed tells a totally different story. It took *centuries* for Greek mathematical empirism to be rediscovered, corrected and clarified by Algebra (notably by Arabs, Indians and Persians). Why would relational model be any different ?

The truth is that a historical perspective on contemporary science is always a far too risky endeavour. History of exact sciences is indeed made of slow-paced truth discoveries, implementation underachievements and rediscovered opportunities,and all of these may be separated by centuries of forgotten formalisms.

It seems too early for the potential of the relational model to become institutionnalized by western post industrial societies where educational system are going down the hill, overtaken by corporate consumerist truth-conditionning training programs. The most probable scenario is that the relational model will probably be rediscovered some day by some unknown scientist from Africa Asia. And quite frankly I don't see it happening in my lifetime.

IMHO. Received on Sat Jul 04 2009 - 22:20:07 CEST

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