Topic: spatial vs. temporal representation

topics > computer science > programming > Group: goals for a programming system

program representation
declarative vs. procedural representation
descriptive languages
information retrieval by location
Petri net
programming by sequential implementation
program execution
programming with data
property sheets for objects
spatial metaphor in user interfaces
forms as a UserInterface
understanding systems


A spatial picture is a powerful means of communication, because of its correspondence to the real world. In general, computers need temporal representations while users want a spatial one. The user needs taxon information to determine the conditions causing an action. He wants sequence information to tell what will happen, but he finds long sequences difficult to understand. Thesa provides spatial representation of sequences by limiting sequence length to an understandable unit. The goal is spatial descriptions with interesting temporal behavior. (cbb 5/80)
Subtopic: spatial description up

Quote: space is relative to a body; it is all possible continuations of a body by adjacent bodies [»einsA_1956, OK]
Quote: the spatial metaphor was used by the ancients for organizing thoughts and ideas [»joneWP1_1986]
Quote: objects can be useful in locating locations; e.g., a surveyor's stake [»holtAW_1979]

Subtopic: state vs. process up

Quote: an adaptive organism must correlate the world of processes with the sensed world [»simoHA_1981]
Quote: use state descriptions and process descriptions to apprehend structures; e.g., diagrams and recipes [»simoHA_1981]
Quote: a state description describes the world as sensed; used for identifying objects; often a model [»simoHA_1981]
Quote: a process description describes the world as acted upon; used for producing objects [»simoHA_1981]

Subtopic: static == dynamic up

Quote: the static structure of a program should correspond to the dynamic structure of its behavior [»maclBJ_1987]
Quote: use copying to make programming more like a spreadsheet than a keypunch; representation = execution; free of the limits of paper
QuoteRef: dijkEW3_1968 ;;147 conceptualize in terms of static relationships not dynamic relationships

Subtopic: sequence recreates experience up

Quote: if I could tell you what it meant, there would be no point in dancing it [»bateG_1972]
Quote: a music composer does not attempt to describe the sounds or feelings occasioned by sound; instead writes a sequence of commands for recreating the experience [»browGS_1972]
QuoteRef: smitDC6_1975 ;;11 "But 'linear' programming languages have no spatial structure at all.

Subtopic: consciousness up

Quote: consciousness is temporally extended but it is not experienced as spatial [»searJR_1992]

Subtopic: functions vs. objects up

Quote: want to distinguish functions from objects because their shapes are so different; long and stringy vs. compact and regular [»cbb_1990, OK]

Subtopic: reuse requires context; trace up

Quote: if a program reuses components then the context of a statement depends on the prior execution history; requires a trace to debug [»jackMA_1975]

Subtopic: transition up

Quote: in a movie, what happens between frames is more important that what exists on a frame [»smitDC6_1975]
Quote: the source of information in a movie is picture changes
Quote: laws of form: a crossing made again has a different value [»browGS_1972]
Quote: laws of form: repeated calls have the same value [»browGS_1972]
Quote: for atomic objects, a transition can have only one pre-state and post-state while states can have multiple pre/post-transitions

Related Topics up

Group: program representation   (25 topics, 659 quotes)
Topic: declarative vs. procedural representation (54 items)
Topic: descriptive languages (22 items)
Topic: information retrieval by location (21 items)
Topic: Petri net (44 items)
Topic: programming by sequential implementation (26 items)
Topic: program execution (8 items)
Topic: programming with data (16 items)
Topic: property sheets for objects (29 items)
Topic: spatial metaphor in user interfaces (33 items)
Topic: forms as a UserInterface (11 items)
Topic: time (49 items)
Topic: understanding systems
(48 items)

Updated barberCB 2/05
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Thesa is a trademark of C. Bradford Barber.