Choosing a programming language as a competitive tool
bsass at freenet.edmonton.ab.ca
Tue May 8 09:51:54 CEST 2001
On 8 May 2001 xdgobbi at irus.rri.on.ca wrote:
> Be careful here. The definition of 'vector' varies according to
> application (or by which branch of math, physics, or engineering,
> or biology you are dealing with).
> Linear Algebra: a vector is a 1D array of real or complex numbers
> Tensor Analysis: a vector is a quantity that behaves in a particular
> manner under coordinate transformations
> Classical physics: same definition as tensor analysis, though often
> watered down to 'magnitude + direction' which is
> an adequate definition for many applications
> Quantum physics: same definition as linear algebra (in general)
> Engineering: whatever suits the problem, but this almost always
> means the definition given by tensor analysis
> Biology: a intermediate organism which carries an infectious
> agent between the source and the host organism
> (sorry, this is a bad joke)
> Computer Science: a vector is a 1D array of just about anything -- the
> elements are often all of the same type (homogeneous)
> or at least are all derived from the same base type,
> though heterogeneous vectors are also common
My first introduction to "vector" in computing was...
"Interrupt Mode 2 (Vectored Interrupts)
... It is a powerful mode which allows automatic vectoring of
interrupts. The interupt vector is an address supplied by the
peripheral device which generated the interrupt, and used as a memory
pointer to the start address of the interrupt-handler routine."
...which sounds most like the Biology definition to me.
> Um, just a minute -- what exactly is my point here? Oh yes...
> for a general purpose computing language to define a vector as anything
> other than a 1D array is a little silly. There is no single, true
> definition of a vector, and it's best to stick to the definition that
> programmers (and computers) are most comfortable with.
Ya, even in computing "vector" can mean different things.
Maybe best to leave it out of a general lexicon, for fear of trampling
on, or confusing with, a domain specific use.
 How to Program the Z-80, Rodnay Zaks, 1981
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