[Host's Note: Referring to Brooks _The Mythical Man Month_]
Fred Brooks is well known in the computing community. Some years back he
was chair of a committee appointed by the Defense Science Board to explore
software productivity, and to see what science had to contribute to it.
Brooks report (not totally representative of high productivity) came out
about three years later. It made many recommendations, none of which were
It also reached some amazingly contradictory conclusions, such as:
Science has nothing to contribute to software development.
What is really needed is some way to deal with all the relationships and
the many complex structures involved..
Since DeMorgan developed the Theory of Relations in 1847, and since
Peirce, Harary, and myself, among others, showed how to use computers to
apply the Theory of Relations to knowledge structuring, the algorithms
being given in my 1976 book, SOCIETAL SYSTEMS, I must confess that I do
not find this reference to Brooks very convincing. His paper titled
something like "No Silver Bullet" is one of those classic papers where
someone says that something can't be done, when it has long been known how
to do it (in the literature) but not among practitioners.
When I wrote to Brooks almost a decade ago to propose a beginning dialog,
I was told that he had no time.
Subsequently I presented a paper before the Northern Virginia IEEE
Computer Society titled "Technomyopia Threatens our National Security", or
something close to that, in which I mentioned that the National Defense
Science Board was extremely short on scientists, and quite long on others
with vested interests.
Maybe I'm just feeling low. Today the Washington Post printed the seamy
story of the A-12 airplane, with huge lies being told to then- Secretary
Chaney among others, in which some heads rolled including that of the
Under Secretary for Acquisition, John Betti, formerly of Ford, who was
blind-sided by the system.
-- JOHN WARFIELD Johnwfield@aol.com