Lots of concurrency
jwalsh at bigpond.net.au
Fri Oct 26 23:33:34 UTC 2001
Sorry to butt in but, since I have been following the discussion on
concurrency, I'm not convinced that this problem, with Reasoning, has
anything to do with the age group 7 - 10.
I do, in principle, agree with Piagets studies though.
It is more likely the Culture of Pragmatic and Empirical "scientific"
indulgence that is flawed. The passage should read 7 - 70.
Piaget was influenced by Kant but, only empirically. Piaget never properly
studied Kants major work.
Planning, parallel or concurrent thought is a product of advanced
maturation: as the physical abilities of the body diminish the faculties of
mind are forced into more efficient and effective behavior. Poverty is
another cause. This can also be seen during hyperthermia.
Every elder person realises this.
This knowledge and it's power is only, as a rule, fully respected in
The culture of "bonsai"ing the mind with continual play and pleasure, the
hot-housing of industrial responsibility and obedience; ensuring that the
faculties of the brain never properly mature is a peculiarly western
european control device.
It's purpose: production Planning Inventory and Control Systems.
I know, because I'm "industrial" Plantation, born n' bred.
Toolmaking and PICS (and programming for PICS) are some of my earlier
At 15:43 -0800 10/25/01, Alan Kay wrote:
Children of this age were not good at all in coming up with multiple
sequential operations that would yield some effect. (No one knows whether
this is teachable at ages 7-10. Piaget would say "probably not"...,
----- Original Message -----
From: "David N. Smith (IBM)" <dnsmith at watson.ibm.com>
To: <squeak-dev at lists.squeakfoundation.org>
Cc: <squeak-dev at lists.squeakfoundation.org>; "Alan Kay"
<Alan.Kay at squeakland.org>
Sent: Saturday, October 27, 2001 6:25 AM
Subject: Re: Lots of concurrency
> At 15:43 -0800 10/25/01, Alan Kay wrote:
> >It is certainly difficult to get definitive results from observing
learners. There are so many artifacts to deal with.
> >In our observations of "zillions of children", particularly with several
hundred children in the last year using Etoys, a workable generalization is
that the second script that they make almost always runs concurrently with
the first script that they made. They are also quite good at thinking out
parallel conditionals, and not so good at (they hardly ever do) nested
> > Another generalization that works pretty well is that children
before the age of 11 or 12 are not very good at large scale sequential
planning, but are pretty good at cause-effect relationships on a small
scale. We used to call these "bird's nest algorithms" when we were doing
Playground in the late 80s. What I mean by this is that they were pretty
darn good at looking at a situation, seeing a *one-step* that would improve
it, and coming up with the conditional-action code to do that one step. Even
3rd graders were quite good at this. Then they could look at the next
situation and do the same. Children of this age were not good at all in
coming up with multiple sequential operations that would yield some effect.
(No one knows whether this is teachable at ages 7-10. Piaget would say
"probably not", but it reall
> > Playground was an OOP language in which objects were very much like
a collection of spreadsheetcells, and the "cell method" was basically a
condition-action pair. Everything was concurrent.
> > (This is where an experimental language we made -- called
Tableau -- came from. It was later made into a language calledKidSim, then
Cocoa, then StageCast. However, this way of doing things was pretty limited
and we abandoned it early. I still don't think the StageCast route is really
the way to do the before-after programming.)
> I found Cocoa on the Apple Research web site one day and I had a lot of
fun playing with it one weekend. Its limitations were obvious but I was
surprised how much one could do with it. I wrote a maze crawler (using the
'hold one finger to the wall at all times' algorithm) among other things.
The programming model was really different, though it didn't scale and was
far too concrete.
> It's too bad there isn't some way to go back and run old software like one
can go back and read old journals or books. Cocoa needs to be experienced
for a day to really get a feel for the strengths and weaknesses of the
> David N. Smith
> IBM T J Watson Research Center
> Hawthorne, NY
> dnsmith at watson.ibm.com
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