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For the love of CSP ...

Hi, all!

My original msg went to Adrian alone. Given the modest proposal I'm 
making, I'm forwarding his response to mine.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Original Message <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

On 10/8/00, 6:05:31 PM, Adrian Lawrence 
<adrian.lawrence@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote regarding Re: Who 
wants to be a millionaire?:

> > > As long as our designs are built on secure mathematics, people who are
> > > phobic about mathematics need not be put off. The fact that they are
> > > able to use occam successfully shows that they are really capable of
> > > doing mathematics whether they realize it or not. The phobia is nearly
> >
> > > always traced back to bad teaching or books in their past!
> >
> > Are you suggesting that the mathematical basis of CSP be left off as a
> > selling point for Occam/KROC/JCSP?

> Depends whom you are talking to? I was just trying to correct any 
> that everyone using CSP indirectly has to have an explicit understanding 
> the mathematical foundations. A point that has already been made by 
> I would think that most people respect mathematics, even when they are
> frightened. So emphasizing that these foundations exist and account for 
> elegance, simplicity and cleaness of the design should do no harm. 
> that it is clear that a user can exploit the ideas without explicit
> mathematics. After all, most people using a TV or computer do not need to
> understand Maxwell's equations.

> > hearty agreement at least as it concerns the US - citing the rigorous
> > foundations of CSP is not likely to be persuasive - just the opposite I
> > would think. But then ...

> That slightly surprises me. Are the same people happy that a bridge that 
> walk or drive over has been properly designed using mathematical methods
> that provide a high level of safety? As long as *they* don't need to get
> directly involved...

At the risk of digging overmuch into matters social-psychological, my 
speculation is that it is not their awareness of the mathematical bases 
of bridge engineering that reassures the mathematically unwashed (Hmmm 
...) but their repeated experiences of crossing over such bridges. But 
then, I guess you've captured the essential characteristic of the view 
below :-).

> Any other view seems irrational and ridiculous, but then there's 
> so we have an existence proof :-)

> > Most of the programmers I've worked with want proof by example: that is,
> > examples of large-scale programs/systems written without undue mental
> > anguish :-). It seems to me that this could be supplied, for example by 
> >
> > converting the KROC based web-server to JCSP and commercializing it - or
> > 
> > at least sticking it in people's faces (just kidding) - along with
> > performance numbers ala ApacheBench (not unlike those provided by Zeus).
> > 

> The "proof/demonstration" that the methods work on large problems is 
> different. I think that we have examples, but given the small underfunded
> CSP efforts, it is hardly surprising that we can't display many 
> examples. Chicken and egg. Of course, such examples are crucial. My own
> feeling is that we need more automatic tools both to solve bigger 
> and to make the methods more accessible to ordinary users. Almost 
> has been done by small isolated groups and often individuals working in
> academia with virtually zero funding. It is amazing what has been 
> with such limited resources and with so much discouragement. It is 
> the approach is so elegant and powerful that it engenders enthusiasm
> once one has understood properly.

Here's the modest proposal: How about open source development? KROC is 
already almost open source (depending how you construe that phrase). 
Might not a (not so ragtag) scattered band of CSP aficionados cobble 
together a CSP-rendition of KROC on a par with Apache? If not professors, 
then undergraduates eager for fame! "All" it takes (he said naively) is a 
 site at www.sourceforge.com.


Roy Wilson 
E-mail: designrw@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx