Monday, September 30, 2013

A New Theory of Computing

Anybody reading this blog knows I'm a coder.  I've been doing it for almost 30 years starting out from little toy programs straight out of tutorials to publishing papers on computer graphics to 7 years in gaming and 4 years in motion pictures...  and now embedded graphics platforms.  I've been around the block and gotten extremely jaded over the years.  Every experience I've been through has its moments which ring loudly with the words "Don't let this happen to you."  I could tell you stories about the way I've worked for people who were so utterly dense they believed that an octagon has 5 sides (yes, I'm being serious), and worked on codebases that were so riddled with cyclical dependencies that you couldn't link anything unless you compiled everything twice.  There is just so much power in the tools we have, but when you use that power irresponsibly, you get the kind of crappy software so many of us feel every package is.  Then I stumbled upon something new that really revolutionized my view of computing.  I want to share it with you today.

In one sense, it is entirely new, but in another sense, it is a rebirth of old ideas first hinted at as a deeper truth which underlay the works of al-Khwarizmi, Aryabhatta et. al.  It's really a very simple series of principles that many of the great technical minds out there like Bill Gates, Alan Turing, Steve Wozniak, Donald Knuth, Linus Torvalds, Dennis Ritchie and others have known for years.  It is something that the mainstream software engineering industry doesn't want you to know!  It is a truly intuitive, natural, and holistic approach to coding and it will completely overturn everything you thought you knew about writing software!  It is not a fad like eXtreme Programming, or Scrum, or anything else that appears as the new big thing every so often only to disappear shortly after.  And unlike all the charlatans out there, this isn't totally fake, and I'm going to give you the real secret right here, right now.  I am not being paid to provide this, nor am I trying to sell you a book.  This is free of charge and available to anyone and everyone.  The secrets will really be revealed here and now, just below the jump.

Where I'll begin is by explaining that we can break down computing into a few fundamental concepts.  I have, in shorthand, referred to these as the vaaluka, dhaatu, upayoga, and purusham.  We can call these to be the 4 aspects.  Different engineers tend only to focus on one of the aspects at a time.  Some, like I used to be, tend to work in two at a time.  However, any serious imbalance between them can lead to problems.  These imbalances can come from internal forces creating a purusha-upayoga dosha, but can also come from the collective power flow corruption that comes across the purusha-dhaatu bridge which allows foreign purusham quanta to taint the vaaluka in undesirable ways.

This does not mean that any arbitrary imbalance is inherently bad, because some imbalances can be harmonic in nature, and the end result is that it ends up defining the character of the system.  For instance, a simple graphing calculator can be thought of as being virtually free of the purusham aspect, but has enough of vaaluka and dhaatu to give it the room to spread somewhat tiny wings in that aspect.  An iPhone, or pretty much any Apple device might be seen as almost entirely about purusham, or at least that is the emphasis, even though they are heavily laden with yogamaya forces that mask some of its nature, but its fundamental bhaav is one of purusham.  Likewise, Android devices often stress the vaaluka aspect, and it therefore draws to it, more vaaluka-sensitive individuals.  What this implies as well, is that the nature of the user also matters in that it must also harmonize with the aspects within our own souls.  This is why purusham is a necessary component even for machines like calculators or watches that are not intrinsically purusham-heavy.  It is from here that the entanglement is born that links man to machine.

When the balance falls out of character for the system is what we can truly designate as being a harmful imbalance.  Therefore, the end goal of all successful engineers is to know the intended nature of the system as proposed by the hive mind that birthed its creation, so that the quantum energy bands of the inner collective consciousness that underlies the machine's creation can elucidate ways to ensure proper harmonic balance across all the wave functions.  The amount of energy in each of the aspects creates separate wave functions in superposition that can be balanced against each other to collapse in such a way as to perform a specific function.  When the harmonics are dissonant, what we see as end users is that the machine or the software is acting like a piece of garbage.  Healing this dissonance is key to making a system function smoothly and in the best possible way.

I hope by now, people get that I'm just spouting bullshit at you and I don't have to continue the joke any longer.  Did any of this sound familiar?  Hint, hint...  if Deepak Chopra had a Computer Science degree... To be fair though, it's not just him, though the specific use of pseudo-Hindu language mixed with sprinklings of "quantum" anything is pretty characteristic of Deepak.  Really, the only reason I used it at all is simply to give the same sort of obscuring language that most new-age and alt-med charlatans tend to use.  The likes of Chopra and his ilk will use smatterings of Sanskrit with "quantum" in well-chosen spots in order to obfuscate their statements, while people like Jon Benneth or Stuart Hameroff will throw in genuine scientific principles deliberately misappropriated to areas to which they do not apply with sufficient bullshitting to make it sound like he knows what he's talking about.  For those of you who could stand to try and read through all of that drivel I just put up above, you'll probably have noticed that for all my babbling, I haven't actually said anything.  At most, I made a long-winded exposition of psychobabble terminology without really providing any specificity.  I'm hoping at least a few of you caught on that I was bullshitting you even before the jump given that I made spurious claims about famous people who aren't likely to even be aware that I was effectively slandering them (albeit facetiously)... and I included a few dead people as well for good measure as unverifiable claims.  Well, you can't prove they didn't know my secret principles!!  That and the fact that I tried to reassure you of my honesty over and over before spewing garbage.  People do that when they know they are going to tell you something so absurd and so fundamentally false that they have to go to great pains to try and convince you.  But then, this is probably the best I can do without an infomercial in which I pretend to be on a talk show in order to sell a book that claims to give you secrets "they" (whoever "they" are) don't want you to know but actually redirects you to a website where you can order more stuff "they" don't want you to have.

The point is that if you saw anyone bringing an idea like this into computing, you'd pretty well think he's either a total fraud or just downright loony.  And you'd be correct.  Yet somehow, we don't really have a problem with this when it comes to medicine...  science...  wealth management...  love...  and strangely enough, interior decoration.  It sort of mystifies me that people fall for some of the crap they do.  I'm still wrapping my head around how anybody could fall for the idea that a bracelet with a hologram sticker somehow eliminates arthritis.  Or that magnets in your pillow prevent stroke.  I can accept that things like medicine and wealth management are often things that the layman is pretty uneducated about.  Love, for that matter, is something that our culture, as a rule, portrays in this veil of mysticism and magical forces, so throwing a total pile of horse-puckey into the mix doesn't really seem out of place.  But it really utterly baffles me how something like Feng Shui, for instance, really persists.  I mean...  what the hell kind of "energies" are you expecting to expose based on the positioning of your sofa?  With science, medicine, etc., we generally don't have the background knowledge to tell bollocks from brilliance.  That, too, there are plenty of examples of business practices that corrupt the purity and objectivity of these fields, so we often distrust the entire field itself.  Wealth management is one of those things where not only are the majority just plain awful at it and really fail to understand it, but because of its significance, it is one where fears, worries, despair, and stress run high, which often leads to horrifyingly irrational decisions and major vulnerability to being cheated.  Likewise, a lot of the new-age charlatans spout all sorts of nebulous fuzzy-wuzzy feel-good babble that makes you think everything is all good and there's nothing to fear.  Sure, you probably don't understand a darn thing about what they're saying (and there's really no way to, because it's entirely nonsense), but they're telling you things like "homeopathy has no side effects."  In fact, this is true...  though it leaves out the fact that homeopathy has no effects of any kind.  Oh sure, I know all the crystal energy and reiki peddlers like to say things like "to those who truly believe, all things are possible" or that my skepticism is creating all sorts of "negative energies" that hinder the process.  Here's the thing about science and mathematics and other things that are actually true -- they're true whether you like it or not... bitches.

For those of you who were actually fooled by my little game here for even an instance, chances are that you probably were affected by my apparent air of authority that I tried to offer in the beginning (btw, the 5-sided octagon thing... it really happened), or all the name-dropping.  But I'm sure when I started throwing in ephemeral Sanskrit "aspects", the jig was up for most people.  This at least indicates one thing about how we culturally view computers and the internet.  I figure anybody reading this has got to have enough savvy to be able to browse the web and be aware of the function or dysfunction of their internet connection.  In short, you're all reasonably tech-literate enough to know better.  Now if only people were scientifically literate, financially literate, etc., a lot of the aforementioned buffoonery would have less grip on humankind.  Note that there is a big difference between being a real expert and being literate on the topic.  When you actually are literate, you also know what your limits are to have a say in the matter.  You know where to draw the line between fact and opinion.  You see reality in a very different light when you actually have a friggin' clue.  Then you won't be worried about your tainted vaaluka or the yogamaya that masks the upayoga force of your iPad ever again.