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tech tantra thursday
   - behind the cosmic curtain with Bill Eberle

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Challenge Question
 - Is it useful to see a relationship between the programmer's decisions about creating unique copies (slightly different code) vs calls to a separate method (exactly the same code) and the mathematical fields of orthogonal matrices and groups?


It's odd, but often when I'm working on fairly involved Java or Perl or even SQL code, I notice that a part of my brain, which is apparently being under-utilized and is bored, is mulling over a concept somewhat related to “orthogonality” and orthogonal matrices.

In a fuzzy sort of way, of course, because I'm busy concentrating in an attempt to not mistype or mis-think what I'm doing.

And, before now, I've never gone back to whatever it was that my brain was trying to think about. Today, I'm taking some time to see if I can find any useful connections when I allow my full (if that is possible) mind an opportunity to explore this curiosity.

First, I have to try to understand what exactly it was that my subconscious, or partially conscious, brain was actually interested in . . .

I know it has to do with this fact about what I'm usually doing at those times - I'm “reusing code” - repeating logic and the use of variables and writing code in a similar but slightly different way, and making a conscious decision that, either for the sake of execution speed (at least that's what I tell myself) or to simplify the current task because I only have to worry about the exact issues for the current situation and do not have to solve the issues for all generic cases, I repeat the basics of code I have elsewhere instead of creating a separate method and making a call to it.

image: Wiki about orthogonalitySometimes I do that “over and over again”, take a basic algorithm or process (a set of logical steps with one or more algorithms) and reuse it for slightly or significantly different circumstances - copy, paste, and start making changes.

One important factor here is “what I have in hand” - how many variables I'm juggling for the information I need to do what I need to do, because, if I created a separate method, sub routine, function, module, or whatever, all of those variables would have to be sent to the new entity I created to do the same work.

Another factor is “what I need to do next” and “what information I'm creating” and saving in my variables or data structions which I will need for what I'm going to do next.

And another factor is “how many differences” - how many subtle differences am I introducing (which I will likely have to understand and “manage” at some point in the future) when I reuse code in this way.

. . . continued . . .


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Cosmic Encounter® Online at Facebook     illustration     fb thread




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