dangerous class neighborhood

Avi Gross avigross at verizon.net
Fri Dec 28 01:35:45 EST 2018


Chris,

You pretty much did exactly what I expected. You took what I wrote and
replaced it with your words and suggested I had said that.

What I wrote this time did not mention python. By now I am far from being a
novice in python but do not claim deep experience or expertise either. In
time, perhaps. In many places I understand it well enough and after the many
replies and some earlier reading I do understand some aspects being
discussed. It is the fact that I do understand what I now think I do, and
ask questions to understand more, that lets me say that it is often a good
idea to bend when reality intrudes and find another way that IS supposed to
work. I posted a number of ways in an earlier message that seem like
reasonable alternatives to try IF your design needs are satisfied. Note that
what satisfies me might not satisfy you. Others have posted other ways we
can evaluate. There does not need to be just one way to do things. Sometimes
even a partial result that works almost all the time is also of value.

What I said next was conditional. FIRST find out why your initial method
fails. If it turns out it is because it is not legal use of python (or
whatever tool) then understand that and find methods that follow the rules.
If you cannot, and perhaps others cannot help you either, then maybe this is
not the right tool. Are you giving up at each stage? Sure. But giving up to
try something else is not the same as giving up and killing yourself. So I
said that when I encountered some problems, I reserve the flexibility to try
other paths to the point of switching tools. In the end, which can happen
upon repeated failures, I may decide it is not worth it.

Two examples and I stress these are examples and imply nothing that you may
choose to dump here.

One example is trying to solve a non-trivial problem using a computer when
any human on the street can solve it just by looking and your best algorithm
might work if run for a decade. Since you need to make a decision soon,
perhaps you can just look out the window and move on and solve other
problems that are more pressing and have no easy solution already available.
Perhaps you can revisit it some day when others have solved enough problems
with computer vision and other technologies and made changes to the legal
system so you can build a relatively safe car that drives itself while
killing few enough people. But doing that hundreds of years ago would not
have been easy, especially before there was a single car on the road. But
horses and carriages seemed available.

Another example is if you determine the problem is intractable. Can you make
an algorithm that simulates the entire universe (whatever that means) in
less than real time. I mean it keeps track of the initial position and
velocity of every particle (including neutrinos and photons and anything
else) to near-infinite precision in the entire  universe as well as the
curvature of space at every possible location in what may turn out to be an
infinite yet expanding realm and calculate how it will progress going
forward trillions of years while also calculating every possible outcome as
many events at the quantum level are in some deep sense probabilistic. Oh,
and do this on a computer that fits into a small room with a standard set of
computers, not some quantum computer. 

Most would agree that if you are working on your Ph.D. thesis and wish to
graduate, pick a different dissertation topic. The above probably can not be
solved with anything smaller than the entire universe which seemingly does
it in real time so asking for it to do it faster using less resources may be
a challenge. I have seen people fail with many smaller problems or find out
it had already been done by someone else and simply pick a new topic to work
on. That does not make them failures.

My point again is what I would do. I would stubbornly try various ways using
the first tool and on repeated failure see if perhaps there was a different
tool to use or build one or perhaps change the problem so it could be solved
and so on. But, ultimately, if daunted, I would not drop everything else in
my life but would indeed stop trying.

If you suggest you would do something better, feel free.

At some point a discussion or debate can switch to just insults and I
suggest I would prefer to have a meaningful interaction instead. I did learn
from this discussion and know ways I can write code to meet such needs. So I
fail to understand what you are saying. I make no assertions I can meet your
needs if they are not reasonable. No solution can exist if you want an
irresistible force to meet an unmovable object.

I suggest that if your attitude persists, you are the one making this a
dangerous neighborhood.

And further replies by me in public or private would serve no purpose. 

-----Original Message-----
From: Python-list <python-list-bounces+avigross=verizon.net at python.org> On
Behalf Of Chris Angelico
Sent: Friday, December 28, 2018 12:08 AM
To: Python <python-list at python.org>
Subject: Re: dangerous class neighborhood

On Fri, Dec 28, 2018 at 2:27 PM Avi Gross <avigross at verizon.net> wrote:
>
> Sometimes when I post something I get back comments and evaluate them 
> and learn quite a bit. I then reply and debate every little point and 
> it can continue for a few rounds.
>
> I don't seem to be in that mood today so let me simply restate my 
> entire post in a few sentences with no examples, no lectures, no 
> advice on what anyone else can do and very little for anyone to bother 
> replying to. Here
> goes:
>
> Sometimes when I run up against a wall and find that a solution to a 
> problem does not work because things may not work as I expected, I 
> pause. I reconsider what I actually need to get done. Then I look to 
> see if I can come up with other ways to do it that will work while 
> still getting the important parts done. Failing that, I ask if perhaps 
> there is another tool, such as another programming language that is a 
> better fit for the task. And, if the work needed seems excessive, I 
> ask if perhaps the problem does not really need to be solved by me and I
move on.

So your entire original post can be summed up as "I don't understand Python,
and I don't care"? Why did you post it then? I was under the impression that
you wanted to learn what was going on.

ChrisA
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