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Re: OT: How I learned to stop worrying and love software patents

Michael K. Edwards wrote:
On 7/24/05, Nathanael Nerode <neroden@twcny.rr.com> wrote:
I invite
you to question the assumption that "algorithms are mathematics".  My
preferred US dictionary (American Heritage, third edition) has it that
an algorithm is "a step-by-step problem solving procedure", and goes
on to describe the computational specialization of this idea.  That's
not really theoretical mathematics any more than a titration technique
is theoretical chemistry.

Algorthms are, in a general sense, semiotics, for the step-by-step problem solving procedure processes data. When the processing is to be done by a digital computer, the instruction set in which the algorithm can be encoded sets and encloses, since Alan Turing's seminal work in the 1930's, the procedure into the realm of theoretical mathematics. And until Alonzo Church's thesis (cathegorizing this enclosure) is disproved, this enclosure is definite.

Either way, whether specifically as theoretical mathematics (via computers), or generally, for being semiotics, algorithms are in the domain of "laws of nature, natural phenomena, and abstract ideas" (refer to Charles Peirce, Ferdinand de Sausurre or Umberto Eco going back to 1867, only foourteen years later than the oldest quote allegedly paraphrased from Diehr)

Prof. Pedro Antonio Dourado de Rezende  /\
Ciencia da Computacao (61)3072702-212  /  \
Universidade de Brasilia, DF, Brasil  /____\

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