A paper called The Story of Squeak can be found at:
A trivial google search turned up http://www.squeak.org/.
----- Original Message -----
From: Eric Armstrong <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Wednesday, April 05, 2000 3:22 PM
Subject: Re: [unrev-II] XML limits
> First, some general notes:
> * At the moment, I'm focusing on in-memory data structures
> and the required manipulation mechanisms. I'm not focusing
> on representation of the information until after there is a
> sense of "completeness" in the internal data model. That's
> the point at which it will become clear whether or not XML
> will work as an external representation.
> * The major problem with XML that I see at the moment is
> data export. Given that I have a massively-interconnected
> graph of information nodes, any one "slice" of those nodes
> may constitute a document. That document can be represented
> in XML. Differences between documents and messages that
> transmit the differences can also be represented in XML.
> But if you wanted to export the repository so you could
> import it into another system, would XML be very useful
> for that?
> * Thanks for the new and repeated references. They're on my
> priority reading list. (Which is to say I'll probably be
> able to get to them by next month...)
> Paul Fernhout wrote:
> > My longer point is that the knowledge management / representation
> > problem is a deep one, and XML doesn't address it in a serious way,
> > and confuses the subject by the hype making it sound like XML does
> > address the topic of knowledge representation in a serious way.
> Hmmm. I never had that impression. I got that if I have data, I can
> represent it in XML -- especially if the data is structured. What I
> keep wrestling with is that any individual *view* of the data benefits
> from hierarchy -- it helps to organize the info and orient the reader.
> But the underlying data is a multi-connected graph, not a hierarchy.
> So maybe what's really needed is:
> +- GUI operations
> ?repository? --> XML-based view +--> Html Representation
> +--> PDF representation
> Identifying the structure of the repository is my major quest at
> the moment.
> > Squeak, Python, Common Lisp (less so) are interesting choices.
> > I'm starting to think Squeak might be the best choice for prototyping
> > (for me) given that it is completely cross-platform and open. It's
> > cross-platform GUI does the best job of addressing the DKR design
> > requirement of shareable screens.
> Can you tell me more about Squeak (again), and why I'm going to like it,
> and where to find it?
> > ...at a talk last year by Marvin Minsky he went on at
> > length about the need for multiple representational strategies for
> > problem solving. He argued the human mind may perceive problems using
> > five or six strategies (ex. geometrical reasoning, formal logic,
> > heuristic rules of thumb, pattern recognition, semantic networks,
> > others) and continuously picks the best one at the time to progress in
> > thinking.
> This seems fundamental. Has he written this up anywhere, to your
> > Maybe what we need is a overview of the AI and knowledge management
> > fields and how each area or major problem/topic would affect a
> > DKR/OHS.
> That strikes me as profitable enumeration of issues.
> Any thoughts on how we should get started?
> > Also, what will evolve over time for an OHS/DKR project is a set of
> > useful code that can manipulate data strucutres that are related to
> > knowledge representaion. We might also wish to have a survey of such
> > existing code.
> Yeah. I started the reference list with things like that in mind.
> I've fallen behind in keeping the list up to date, much less producing
> even preliminary evaluations of different papers. I've seen a lot of
> stuff that doesn't excite me. IBIS was a notable exception. This is an
> where we desperately need even a preliminary DKR, so we track
> evaluations of different papers, and start sorting them by relevance and
> other criteria (like readability and explanatory power).
> > ...as time goes on, any restrictions will become obsolete.
> > One needs a representational system that can adapt to user needs.
> Can you give an example of that? Something simple will do. Maybe my
> sixth grade view of physics vs. my college-level view, for example.
> Does that make sense? (A specific adaptation would be even better.)
> > while XML, could be a part of that solution, the important issues go
> > beyond that -- to standards creation and revison and communication,
> > and to coin a phrase "data upgrading".
> I understand about standards creation. That's where the interesting work
> is going on even as we speak. I don't see how revision and communication
> go beyond XML. And I'm not sure what you mean by data upgrading. Can you
> > The deeper issue is that rather than focus on ways to limit
> > representations (DTDs) we need to focus on ways to transform, extend,
> > and simplify representations as needed (sort of along the multi-level
> > approach I mentioned earlier).
> As I mentioned, DTDs only give you minimal validation. Like Lisp or
> SmallTalk apps, the "interesting" validation will probably occur within
> the context of the app -- as long as you are doing "interesting"
> However, I think the better strategy is to punt on that issue. I'm not
> interested in AI-level reasoning about statements like "Horses fly". I
> am totally uninterested in any sort automatic verification for such
> I am interested in one person having the ability to assert "Horses fly",
> another person to argue against it, and for individuals to estimate the
> value and usefulness of a document based on the assertions it contains.
> Here are two analogies:
> 1) "Decorative" tags vs. "Structure" tags.
> In DocBook, these are called "inline" tags (like bold and italic)
> vs. "block" tags (like sect1 and sect2). One thing that XML does
> *not* give me is a good way to make a clean separation between
> those two. That distinction is important, too, for two major
> a) When displaying a document, I want to know which elements
> belong in the outline (table of contents, tree view) and
> which elements belong only in the content-display.
> b) For structure elements, the sub-structure should always
> consist of (1) content -- any combination of text and
> decorative elements -- *followed* by structure elements.
> In other words, any structure element can have one piece
> of content, followed by substructure elements, and there
> is never any overlap between them. XML gives me no such
> mechanism. (The DocBook solution is to define a <title>
> element for each <sectN>. That introduces two tags where
> only one is really needed, and complicates the processing.
> The point of this analogy is that I frequently want to separate
> structure from content, so I can treat them separately.
> 2. The second analogy is in the graphic representation of computer
> programs. In graphics, hierarchy is expressed by "diving in".
> You look inside a graphic object to see what it contains. Here
> again, I need a distinction between control elements and normal
> statements. The reason: graphical representation of a = b;
> does me no good whatsoever. It consumes space for the graphics
> that has no value whatsoever for understanding the program.
> Graphical representations of programs, therefore, need to stop
> at the control-flow statements. A graphical representation of
> all the if, for, and case statements in a program may be of use.
> In any one block, though, a simple listing of the normal
> statements is sufficient.
> I see the same issue with respect to knowledge representation.
> Attempting to solve the whole problem by representing "tree", "apple",
> "green", "red", etc. is just too hard. Let the human interpret the
> meaning of the words. But there is an underlying structure that it makes
> sense to automated. Perhaps it is Noam Chomsky's deep structure, or
> perhaps a logic model, or perhaps one of several representations as
> identified by Minsky.
> If we can construct a system within which we can model those
> relationships and reason about them, we can make a ton of progress
> without having to make a computer into a "thinking" machine.
> > ...Any DKR/OHS will need to be more
> > than a bunch of passive data in a database. It will need many programs
> > to do things to that data to make new data (search, format, summarize,
> > repackage, interpret, transfer, upgrade, etc.).
> > A more important issue than data transmission format (the one XML
> > tries to address) is to build a robust platform for doing those
> > algorithmic things.
> Oddly enough. I haven't seen that the knowledge repository needs a lot
> of functionality. I've been looking for it, but most of the operations
> you mention I see as either aspects of the UI (like searching) or
> operations best conducted by the user (summarizing).
> > ...As a deeper approach, one tries to represent the knowledge and
> > algorithms in an abstract enough way as to be ideally programming
> > language neutralor at least programming language retargetable
> > (generating whatever code in whatever language as needed).
> This would of course be ideal, assuming that the manipulations need to
> be part of the repository system. I am as yet unconvinced that they have
> to be, but I am open to argument on the subject.
> (thanks for another great, thought-provoking note.)
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