Facts we take for granted

Mike ODELL mo at ccr.org
Fri Sep 28 19:48:31 CDT 2012

thanks for the pointer! it's a great summarization 
of a third of a millennium off tense  work by the best minds
available at the time. and as always, reality wins every time.
you can have your own opinion, but you cannot have your
own facts.

Newtonianism, the view of the universe as a perfect machine,
is a tough old bird and still makes the trains run on time.
Newtonian mechanics is adequate to make your car work
or an airplane fly IF we conveniently ignore all the solid-state electronics
that give it life today.

Computing is undergoing an equivalent transformation: when things get
big enough or small enough, it ain't Newtonian anymore. SFO is about
16ms from NYC and not even Bill Gate can want it to be different
bad enough to change that. (although I did once hear an over-zealous
Microserf assert to the contrary.)

the traditional mathematics of computing gives no consideration to
these physical realities, and for a long time we got away with it because
the scale of things was still small enough to never see these effects.

but the absolute values of the exponents have gotten to the point were
disks WILL have dynamic uncorrectable errors, the speed of light is
tragically damn slow across a chip, a board, backplane, data center and the world,
and the viability of critical computations based on assumptions about complete
information propagation and the slow rate of topology change has become utterly absurd. 
all this crap is running (barely) on borrowed time, and "more gray tapes!"
does not count as viable engineering solution to deeply profound shifts
in the fundamental assumptions about the behavior of reality.

in summary, in computing and physics,
Scaling is the ONLY problem. 
everything else is one of the trillion-odd details required to deal with scale. 

    - mo

On Sep 28, 2012, at 11:08 AM, "Karl W4KRL" <W4KRL at arrl.net> wrote:

> Here is an article that illuminates some recent Tacos discussion. Waves, particles, radiation, the speed of light and Terry Pratchet:
> http://arstechnica.com/science/2012/09/the-complicated-truth-behind-scientific-findings/
> 73 Karl W4KRL
> _______________________________________________
> Tacos mailing list
> Tacos at amrad.org
> https://amrad.org/mailman/listinfo/tacos
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