On Modeling and Programming
Analytic. Analogous field: physics. Relevant “model” meaning: a theory to explain observed natural phenomena. Important: adequacy of the explanations; reproducibility by other researchers of results and experiments.
Synthetic. Analogous fields: computer science and engineering. Relevant use of “model”: a constructed artefact (software, hardware,...) built to satisfy a problem specification. Important: the reliability of the constructed artefact; and the correctness of the artefact with respect to the specification.
Mechanisation of established hand procedures. Analogous fields: data processing; automation of hospital procedures. (Academically inelegant, but a large percentage of worldwide computer science expenditures.) Relevant: predictability, completeness, reliability, degree of automation, common sense.
All three are defensible and productive, but lead to very different ways of thinking. We focus on the analytic and synthetic meanings, since the mechanisation dimension is out of Isola scope.
Remarks made by an anonymous referee, and D. Berezun and K. Havelund, led to substantial improvements to this paper.
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