Richard Gabriel



The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Numerous computer researchers and practitioners believe we've come to a wood where two roads diverge: One road calls for us to continue as we have writing unreliable software using inappropriate languages, and debilitating methodologies under the rickety mathematical and engineering metaphors we developed in the 1960s or earlier, and the other begs us to find new metaphors and ways of approaching software to make system building safe, easier, and with respect for our humanity.

IBM's Autonomic Computing, MIT's Amorphous Computing, the Feyerabend  Project, the Biological Framings Workshop-all these are looking beyond current theories in ways reminiscent of Kuhn's paradigm shifts and Feyerabend's counterinduction.

In this talk, Gabriel looks at the problems and proposed directions for the way less traveled: biology, physics, and complexity science,  for example.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.