RE: Human minds on Windows(?) (was Re: Web site up! (GUI vs. CLI))

Billy Brown (
Wed, 7 Jul 1999 21:59:06 -0500

Eugene Leitl wrote:
> Sir, you demonstrate an obvious misunderstanding of details of the
> uploading process. It is much less coding than a large-scale physical
> simulation -- requiring a very different set of metaphors than common
> to code monkeys. Very little code, a huge sea of data. And sheer physics
> will prevent you from running it on anything less than a 10^6..10^9
> processor machine.

You've obviously never actually written a large-scale simulation program. Even the simplest (from a programming perspective) approaches to uploading will require at least hundreds of millions of lines of extremely complex code. That would be for a brute force molecular simulator, which would need far more power than you estimate (~10^30 MIPS, if I remember right).

Higher-level simulations can greatly reduce the computer power needed (as well as the volume of data), but they do so at the price of increasing program complexity. At the opposite end of the spectrum you arrive at software that elegantly models the abstract processes of the mind, and would be so big that it could never be written by humans (maybe 10^13 LOC?).

Of course, what all of this really means is simply that we software engineers need to find better ways of creating programs. Perhaps some combination of evolutionary programming, advanced languages and expert systems will allow us to write programs of the necessary scale without running into fatal reliability problems? At any rate, we need to get off of our collective butts and start looking for real solutions.

Billy Brown, MCSE+I