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   RE: RE: [xml-dev] Re: XML and Complex Systems

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From: Mike Champion [mailto:mc@xegesis.org]

1/14/2002 4:11:48 PM, "Bullard, Claude L (Len)" 
<clbullar@ingr.com> wrote:

>>Now is that pattern emergent or simply "discoverable"? 

>Well,  at least the hard core Swarm Intelligence people would 
>say that patterns "emerge" from a) some laws of complex 
>systems that we don't understand and/or b) natural (or 
>artificial) selection.    

Perhaps the patterns are merely discoverable and it 
is the control that is emergent.  That would fit with 
what you and Simon are talking about.  That is, data 
is there.  The schema is an artificial construct used 
to control some process acting on signals in accordance 
with the pattern you have discovered

>>Think of the job SETI does.  Given the universe, 
>>can you conceive of universal schemata that would
>>automatically detect a well-formed message from an 
>>alien culture?  If you scope that "in terms of our 
>>own understanding", you can and it might look distressingly 
>>like the "limerick" designs: it can't detect meaning, 
>>but it can find patterns that nature does not produce. 
>>Is that useful?  

>Whooo-eee, this discussion is getting farther removed from 
>XML than even the limerick thread!  I think I'll probably be 
>lynched for starting it....  but yes, I think that finding 
>SETI patterns that are clearly artificial even if we have no 
>idea what they mean would be useful ...

No, it is exactly in the XML domain.  In days of olde, the 
question was asked on comp.text.sgml, "is it better to 
design a DTD based on analysis of processes, data, etc., 
or to tag sprinkle existing documents?" and in fact, 
most of us end up doing both in accordance with local 
politics.  It is like form-design from paper forms in 
which one discovers one can get rid of the lookup lists 
on the paper form and replace these with picklists on 
the digital form, then only print the choice (a code) 
and the description, thus simplifying the formatting 
and easing the reading.  Sounds good and mostly works.

>Again, my point here is more or less what Simon said:  
>there's value in a view of XML processing where you extract 
>as much signal as you can out of the noise, rather than 
>rejecting everything that isn't perfectly schema-valid.  It 
>applies to a different set of problems than most XML users 
>have traditionally focussed on, and requires a mindset that 
>is quite different than is being promoted by the W3C these 

I don't know what they promote or even care.  Practical 
experience tells me both ends of these seemingly opposing 
approaches are useful.  Let me stretch the SETI example a 
little further.  What if you have all these filters looking 
for a repeating pattern and find one?  Then you start looking 
for mathematics under the assumption any advanced civilization 
would consider math to be a place to start communicating so 
you can build up a common language. Only when you finally work 
it out, you find out that the very advanced civilizations are 
past the need to do that kind of mundane computer work and 
what they are really concerned about is your well being, so 
what they sent you was a message that says, "Hi!  How are 
you feeling?" because what they really want is your companionship 
and until they get a good description of your emotional range, 
they can't decide if you are worthy of their level of play. 
That said, what they have been sending you is a pattern of colors 
that replicate emotional states only you think it is random 
radiation source.

Nice, but of course, no money in that.

You find what you look for.  Schemas are just a way of telling 
a computer what pattern to discover when searching, and a control 
to tell you if something like that deviates in some small or 
large way when finding.   It isn't well-formed vs schema.  That 
is a red herring.   It is what is your choice of how to handle 
exceptions and detect similarities, and it is all according 
to your point of view unless you share that.  A schema expresses a 
point of view, an opinion, nothing more or less.  A well-formed 
signal with a piece of code doing the same thing is still doing 
the same thing.  It is just harder to share.

There is no progress in human affairs without communication. 
All a computer does is amplify that process and record it, 
or let you play.  How do you know what to look for?

Hi.  How are you feeling?



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