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Humanist Archives: June 14, 2020, 8 a.m. Humanist 34.108 - notation, software and mathematics

                  Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 34, No. 108.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
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        Date: 2020-06-13 20:52:46+00:00
        From: Dr. Herbert Wender 
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 34.105: notation, software and mathematics


I'm wondering how the discussion of programming techniques to build frequency
lists or concordances could evolve if we would take into account the point which
Bill Benzon [in Humanist 34.100] has taken from a paper by Laszlo Lovasz: "an
algorithm is to be distinguished from its implementation". IMHO this affects a
bit at least the question of efficiency. Sequential traversing a tree-structured
text and running through an unstructured textual string are both less effective
in searching for an arbitrary page of text in a document instance, compared with
solutions providing an index of page numbers (resp. indexing the milestones
which hold the page numbers).

And how could we avoid the backfall into the old controversy about OHCO if we
would take into account the reminder of Bill Pascoe [Humanist 33.713: tree-
diagrams] who pointed to Deleuze/Guattari's critique of hierarchical thinking in
the line of Aristotle and Avicenna and to Eco's "Kant and the Platypus"? We
could look at the history of information & library science (post-coordinating
classification systems) and at the history of computer science (database
management systems). Why the relational approach was so overwhelmingly
successful over the previous hierarchical and network structured databases? And
can we go from such reflections back to Backus' dream of an 'algebra of
programs', handling the universe of structures to be observed in the universes
of discourse?

Regards, Herbert

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