Progress?

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Mark R

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Nov 17, 2012, 1:57:25 PM11/17/12
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Hi David,

I just stumbled on Visi and am excited about the potential for it. It's obviously really early days for the project – I notice there hasn't been much activity over the last while, is it still under development?

I'm interested from the point of view of an end user so can't contribute to the engineering side of things but is there something I could help with?

David Pollak

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Nov 17, 2012, 2:36:56 PM11/17/12
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Mark,

I'm slowly working on Visi... slowly. Don't expect anything end-user oriented before 2014.

Thanks,

David
--
Telegram, Simply Beautiful CMS https://telegr.am
Lift, the simply functional web framework http://liftweb.net


Mark R

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Nov 18, 2012, 1:55:57 PM11/18/12
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Thanks for the reply David. Is there anything I could help with?

David Pollak

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Nov 19, 2012, 6:02:16 PM11/19/12
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On Sun, Nov 18, 2012 at 10:55 AM, Mark R <ma...@creativetags.com> wrote:
Thanks for the reply David. Is there anything I could help with?


Not really... I'm trying to work out how to describe a type system that allows:

1 inch + 1 inch = 2 inch

2 inch * 4 inch = 8 inch*inch

$2 + 1 inch // illegal

but:

$2 * 1 inch = 2 inch * dollar

Basically, I need a type system that is not only Turning complete (like Scala's), but also usable and auditable by  non-CS people.

Mark R

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Nov 19, 2012, 6:19:52 PM11/19/12
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While I understand the problem you're describing I'm not sure I'm going to be much help building it. If it's helpful just to bounce these things off someone then I'm happy to listen :)

I'm taking a stab in the dark here but am I right in thinking that a while back you put up the visi websites and showed the world what you'd been working on but you haven't had as much interest as you'd hoped? If you had hoped for a group of early adopters to help get things off the ground perhaps the issue isn't the product but the marketing? As they stand I feel the websites are doing a disservice to the potential for your product. What might really give you that boost is an exciting, compelling video demo that really just casts a vision for what it could be not what it is at the moment. What do you think?

David Pollak

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Nov 19, 2012, 6:35:22 PM11/19/12
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On Mon, Nov 19, 2012 at 3:19 PM, Mark R <ma...@creativetags.com> wrote:
While I understand the problem you're describing I'm not sure I'm going to be much help building it. If it's helpful just to bounce these things off someone then I'm happy to listen :)

I'm taking a stab in the dark here but am I right in thinking that a while back you put up the visi websites and showed the world what you'd been working on but you haven't had as much interest as you'd hoped? If you had hoped for a group of early adopters to help get things off the ground perhaps the issue isn't the product but the marketing? As they stand I feel the websites are doing a disservice to the potential for your product. What might really give you that boost is an exciting, compelling video demo that really just casts a vision for what it could be not what it is at the moment. What do you think?

I underestimated the work it would take to learn Haskell, deal with marginal support for iOS in Haskell, and the difficulty in redefining computing languages as well as spreadsheets.

In 1991, I significantly moved the state of the art for spreadsheets with Mesa. I figured if I could do it once, I could do it again. But... this time, I've got kids so I can't go into a fugue state for a week and come up with an approach nobody has ever thought of... I have to turn into a dad each night. That makes the problem harder. This time, my brain thinks differently and have many more ingrained thought patterns that make thinking "outside the box" more difficult. This time, I'm working with a language (Haskell) that's an order of magnitude more different than Scala than Objective-C was to C.

Put another way, I'm trying to do something that no ACM fellow, no university professor, no industry lab has been able to and do it in a way that's also usable and comprehensible to people who don't self-identify as computer programmers. It's one of the tallest mountains in computing. I was hoping to scale it in a year... but maybe it'll take 2 or 3... I've got time.

This is not an "adoption" issue (I've had plenty of offers to use Visi once it meets certain goals.) This is a "I'm going where nobody has gone in computer languages, ever," problem. Basically, every computer language we use today is some decedent of Lisp, Fortran, and VisiCalc. Trying to think outside those boxes and at the same time, defining a usable type system that allows expressions that even the most advanced research is just starting to think about (algebraic type transformations), is really darned hard.

Telling me that the web site is ugly and maybe that's the problem I should be solving doesn't help.
 

Christos KK Loverdos

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Nov 19, 2012, 6:32:11 PM11/19/12
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Hi David,

On Nov 20, 2012, at 1:02 AM, David Pollak <feeder.of...@gmail.com> wrote:



On Sun, Nov 18, 2012 at 10:55 AM, Mark R <ma...@creativetags.com> wrote:
Thanks for the reply David. Is there anything I could help with?


Not really... I'm trying to work out how to describe a type system that allows:

1 inch + 1 inch = 2 inch

2 inch * 4 inch = 8 inch*inch

$2 + 1 inch // illegal

but:

$2 * 1 inch = 2 inch * dollar

Basically, I need a type system that is not only Turning complete (like Scala's), but also usable and auditable by  non-CS people.

The F# folks have done extensive work on units.


Maybe draw some inspiration from there?

David Pollak

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Nov 19, 2012, 6:40:00 PM11/19/12
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On Mon, Nov 19, 2012 at 3:32 PM, Christos KK Loverdos <love...@gmail.com> wrote:
Hi David,

On Nov 20, 2012, at 1:02 AM, David Pollak <feeder.of...@gmail.com> wrote:



On Sun, Nov 18, 2012 at 10:55 AM, Mark R <ma...@creativetags.com> wrote:
Thanks for the reply David. Is there anything I could help with?


Not really... I'm trying to work out how to describe a type system that allows:

1 inch + 1 inch = 2 inch

2 inch * 4 inch = 8 inch*inch

$2 + 1 inch // illegal

but:

$2 * 1 inch = 2 inch * dollar

Basically, I need a type system that is not only Turning complete (like Scala's), but also usable and auditable by  non-CS people.

The F# folks have done extensive work on units.


Maybe draw some inspiration from there?

Awesome! Thanks for the links... more good reading.
 




--
Telegram, Simply Beautiful CMS https://telegr.am
Lift, the simply functional web framework http://liftweb.net



Mark R

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Nov 19, 2012, 6:54:16 PM11/19/12
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Hey, if I've offended you I'm really sorry David. I was just looking at some areas that I could perhaps help with. 

I actually do realise the enormity of the task you've set yourself in redefining programming. I was concerned that perhaps you had given up when I saw little recent activity but I'm glad to hear you've been working on it behind the scenes. I also appreciate that you want to get your work-life balance right and I wouldn't encourage you otherwise. 

I would love to support your endeavour in some way. After reading Bret Victors research I'm not satisfied with the old ways of doing things so I'm placing my chips on something that's shooting for the moon (too many metaphors?). 

Christos KK Loverdos

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Nov 19, 2012, 6:58:22 PM11/19/12
to visi...@googlegroups.com
On Nov 20, 2012, at 1:40 AM, David Pollak <feeder.of...@gmail.com> wrote:



On Mon, Nov 19, 2012 at 3:32 PM, Christos KK Loverdos <love...@gmail.com> wrote:
Hi David,

On Nov 20, 2012, at 1:02 AM, David Pollak <feeder.of...@gmail.com> wrote:



On Sun, Nov 18, 2012 at 10:55 AM, Mark R <ma...@creativetags.com> wrote:
Thanks for the reply David. Is there anything I could help with?


Not really... I'm trying to work out how to describe a type system that allows:

1 inch + 1 inch = 2 inch

2 inch * 4 inch = 8 inch*inch

$2 + 1 inch // illegal

but:

$2 * 1 inch = 2 inch * dollar

Basically, I need a type system that is not only Turning complete (like Scala's), but also usable and auditable by  non-CS people.

The F# folks have done extensive work on units.


Maybe draw some inspiration from there?

Awesome! Thanks for the links... more good reading.

Let me know how it goes. I've always thought of the units problem a very interesting one. I was hoping to tackle it (…said the little engineer…) one day (as an inspirational/educational side project), so although I am aware of the research, I have not actually studied it. 

Christos KK Loverdos

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Nov 19, 2012, 7:06:05 PM11/19/12
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"The hash table is the queen of data structures and the spreadsheet is the queen of applications"

My motto. Probably 10 years old :)

By the way, F# is now fully cross-platform: iOS, Android, you name it. Maybe reconsider the PL choice? (just a quick thought). And I know how hard it is to invest time on a new platform.

David Pollak

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Nov 19, 2012, 7:18:44 PM11/19/12
to visi...@googlegroups.com
On Mon, Nov 19, 2012 at 4:06 PM, Christos KK Loverdos <love...@gmail.com> wrote:
"The hash table is the queen of data structures and the spreadsheet is the queen of applications"

My motto. Probably 10 years old :)

By the way, F# is now fully cross-platform: iOS, Android, you name it. Maybe reconsider the PL choice? (just a quick thought). And I know how hard it is to invest time on a new platform.

Maybe... I'll putter with F# for a few weeks and see...

Aaron Culich

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Nov 19, 2012, 7:26:18 PM11/19/12
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Christos KK Loverdos <love...@gmail.com> writes:

> Hi David,
>
> On Nov 20, 2012, at 1:02 AM, David Pollak <
> feeder.of...@gmail.com> wrote:
>
>
>
>
> On Sun, Nov 18, 2012 at 10:55 AM, Mark R <ma...@creativetags.com>
> wrote:
>
> Thanks for the reply David. Is there anything I could help
> with?
>
>
>
> Not really... I'm trying to work out how to describe a type
> system that allows:
>
> 1 inch + 1 inch = 2 inch
>
> 2 inch * 4 inch = 8 inch*inch
>
> $2 + 1 inch // illegal
>
> but:
>
> $2 * 1 inch = 2 inch * dollar
>
> Basically, I need a type system that is not only Turning complete
> (like Scala's), but also usable and auditable by non-CS people.
>
>
> The F# folks have done extensive work on units.
>
> http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/um/people/akenn/units/
>
> Maybe draw some inspiration from there?

Also check out QUDT by Ralph Hodgson who is here in the Bay Area and was
at the first BayHac in 2011 (haven't seen him around since then though):

http://www.qudt.org/
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