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Indeterministic Behavior in Computing Systems and its Possible Impact on the Digital Society

Ekdahl, Bertil LU (2009) 3rd International Conference on the Digital-Society In Proceedings, Third International Conference on Digital Society, 2009 p.328-333
Abstract
Many people have experienced computers not doing what they were expected to do or, perhaps more often, met with computers that deliver faulty results. Frequently, if not always, such behavior is blamed the lack of a complete requirements specification. hi this assertion, it is tacitly understood that if a specification is correct and comprehensive enough then it is possible to avoid computing errors since the designer in those cases is able to construct a correct program whose behavior in any situation is well known: every detail in the program is known and so is its behavior. In this paper I will show that if there is a truth in such a conjecture then it is valid only for not very complicated programs. In explaining this, I will follow an... (More)
Many people have experienced computers not doing what they were expected to do or, perhaps more often, met with computers that deliver faulty results. Frequently, if not always, such behavior is blamed the lack of a complete requirements specification. hi this assertion, it is tacitly understood that if a specification is correct and comprehensive enough then it is possible to avoid computing errors since the designer in those cases is able to construct a correct program whose behavior in any situation is well known: every detail in the program is known and so is its behavior. In this paper I will show that if there is a truth in such a conjecture then it is valid only for not very complicated programs. In explaining this, I will follow an interesting observation of von Neumann that there is a god deal in (formal) logic which indicates that the description of the functions of a computer (automata) is simpler than a description of the computer itself, as long as the computer is not very complicated, but when we get to high complications, the actual object is simpler than the literary description. This is not a consequence of an emergent property, like an evolving organ, but is a restriction bound up with languages and not an intrinsic property originating from physical complications. Its consequences are that with very high complexity, we can never truly know how the computer in every situation will behave. As long as computing was mostly on site, perhaps this state of things was of minor importance but with the advent of an improved Web, the, so-called, Semantic Web, this indeterminism will make a difference. There will be an element of uncertainty and it may very well be a question of confidence. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceeding
publication status
published
subject
in
Proceedings, Third International Conference on Digital Society, 2009
pages
328 - 333
publisher
IEEE--Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
conference name
3rd International Conference on the Digital-Society
external identifiers
  • wos:000266762800056
  • scopus:63749123542
ISBN
978-1-4244-3550-6
DOI
10.1109/ICDS.2009.63
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
152ed311-a537-4dac-977a-e95bc7022f5d (old id 1442234)
date added to LUP
2009-07-27 10:27:35
date last changed
2017-01-01 08:01:34
@inproceedings{152ed311-a537-4dac-977a-e95bc7022f5d,
  abstract     = {Many people have experienced computers not doing what they were expected to do or, perhaps more often, met with computers that deliver faulty results. Frequently, if not always, such behavior is blamed the lack of a complete requirements specification. hi this assertion, it is tacitly understood that if a specification is correct and comprehensive enough then it is possible to avoid computing errors since the designer in those cases is able to construct a correct program whose behavior in any situation is well known: every detail in the program is known and so is its behavior. In this paper I will show that if there is a truth in such a conjecture then it is valid only for not very complicated programs. In explaining this, I will follow an interesting observation of von Neumann that there is a god deal in (formal) logic which indicates that the description of the functions of a computer (automata) is simpler than a description of the computer itself, as long as the computer is not very complicated, but when we get to high complications, the actual object is simpler than the literary description. This is not a consequence of an emergent property, like an evolving organ, but is a restriction bound up with languages and not an intrinsic property originating from physical complications. Its consequences are that with very high complexity, we can never truly know how the computer in every situation will behave. As long as computing was mostly on site, perhaps this state of things was of minor importance but with the advent of an improved Web, the, so-called, Semantic Web, this indeterminism will make a difference. There will be an element of uncertainty and it may very well be a question of confidence.},
  author       = {Ekdahl, Bertil},
  booktitle    = {Proceedings, Third International Conference on Digital Society, 2009},
  isbn         = {978-1-4244-3550-6},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {328--333},
  publisher    = {IEEE--Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.},
  title        = {Indeterministic Behavior in Computing Systems and its Possible Impact on the Digital Society},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/ICDS.2009.63},
  year         = {2009},
}