links for 2011-08-07

  • A relationship with time is intrinsic to everything we do in creating, modifying and moving our data. Yet the conceptualization of time and causality in the Computer Science literature appears far behind that of physics and philosophy. This state of affairs is of concern, because if fundamental flaws exist in axioms underlying the algorithms that govern access to and evolution of our data, then we would experience inexplicable failures and other undesirable behaviors that grow worse as our systems scale. The purpose of this talk is to compare results from physics and other disciplines, and to investigate if and where hazards to the integrity of our information may exist due to current conceptions of time in Computer Science; especially for distributed systems, where scale, transmission rates and spatial distribution would most readily manifest anomalous behavior arising from such flaws.
  • After many years of Java development, discovering Scala’s type system and related features was something of a departure for me. Suffice to say GADT wasn’t my first four letter utterance when learning about pattern matching on types, let alone what, when and how to use variance annotations and generalized type constraints. To kick things off, here’s a ‘small but powerful‘ few lines of buzzword bingo on the type system:
    …Scala is a statically, strongly, typed language, with implicit type inference and support for structural and existential types. It also features parameterized types, abstract and phantom types and is capable of implicitly converting between datatypes. These core capabilities are utilized by context and view bounds and complimented by generalized type constraints, to provide powerful compile time contracts. Furthermore, Scala supports declaration site type annotations to facilitate invariant, covariant and contravariant type variance…

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