Simonyi’s comment

Technology Review had a discussion of Charles Simonyi’s intentional programming work. Such a frustrating article. It didn’t say anything — certainly too little about how intentional programming is implemented. Most of the article was just saying, yes, cross layer design is always difficult, abstractions leak (not to mention sometimes abstraction leak is intentional to preserve performance), so on and so forth.

No, the reason this was an interesting article was the biographical part, and of the biographical part was a nugget of a quote by Simonyi:

Simonyi was born in Budapest in 1948. The son of a physics professor, he fell in love at 15 with his first computer–a mammoth Russian Ural II in Hungary’s Central Statistical Office. By the 1960s, the Ural, which received its instructions through cash-register-style keys and had a roomful of vacuum tubes to perform calculations, would already have been a relic anywhere else in the world. But Hungary’s Communist leaders were trying to use the Soviet castoff to optimize rail and trucking schedules. The Ural wasn’t up to the task: there was no way to input real-time data on shipments. “It was completely hopeless,” Simonyi recalls. “It could have been done very easily by supply and demand. Unfortunately, that was politically incorrect.”

An apt observation that the free market is but a machine of humans running an optimization algorithm.

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