On Mon, 5 Jun 2006 20:59:32 -0400 , "Gray, Eric"
I'm not sure what you mean by saying that a problem that is
highly complex should not be solved (or, at least, that we should
consider not solving it). That seems like a cop-out. Minimally,
every problem we've ever faced, we've tried to solve (where "we"
refers to us weak-kneed Homo Sapiens) - no matter how hard it was
to do so - and I like to think that is the right thing to do.
In fairness, I am reasonably sure that point 3 in RFC 1925
refers to making a complex solution work, even if a simpler answer
might be found, simply because enough people want that solution.
It does not - IMO - rule out solving complex problems using
as simple a solution as possible, however complex that might be.
I meant exactly what I said. The reason to avoid certain "solutions" is
that you'll then behave as if the problem is really solved, with bad
consequences if you're wrong -- and for some problems, you probably are
wrong. Read David Parnas' "Software Aspects of Strategic Defense
Systems" (available at
also consider the historical record on why the US and the USSR signed a
treaty banning most anti-missile systems, and in particular why the
existence of such systems made the existing nuclear deterrent standoff
Note carefully that I didn't say we shouldn't do research on how to solve
things. But doing research and declaring that we know how to do something
are two very different things.
--Steven M. Bellovin, http://www.cs.columbia.edu/~smb
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