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RE: [DotGNU]Implement RDF in a Universal Data Structure

From: Danny Ayers
Subject: RE: [DotGNU]Implement RDF in a Universal Data Structure
Date: Tue, 1 Apr 2003 00:54:00 +0200

> They don't think a universal data structure is possible.

I'm not so sure - it isn't particularly difficult to come up with a
universal data structure, if anything it's easier than the Turing Machine
idea for processors. What really is difficult, perhaps impossible, is a data
structure that will be more efficient than existing ones that have been
optimised (or naturally selected) for a particular range of jobs. A tool
that is as good at hammering as a hammer, yet can drive screws as well as
any screwdriver? Now there is a challenge.

> Somebody might be
> working on it, migth even have something pretty similar.  The key
> though is
> to demonstrate its universality and get it into general use.

Yes and yes, with the latter IMHO being the hard part. There's no denying
the Segway is a nifty bit of kit, but it's unlikely to replace the car,
motorcycle, bicycle or even scooter (!) in the foreseeable future.

  Then it
> becomes a major factor in contending with the idea of software (and now,
> standards) patents.  Paradoxically, once you've worked it out,
> the model is
> extremely intuitive, not the sort of thing anybody would believe
> ought to be
> "property."  Once you see it, it's really hard not to automatically use it
> in your ordinary thinking processes.

Which suggests to me (I sincerely hope to be proven wrong) that patents
won't be a problem because of prior art.


(intrigued unbeliever ;-)

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