Monday, 25 April 2016

daisy-chain or paper mario

Thanks to the always interesting JF Ptak Science Book Store, we learn a bit about the contributions of American engineer Vannevar Bush, one of the early administrators of the Manhattan Project and organising force behind the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, the fore-runner to NASA.
Despite those consummate and heroic (America was all but ignorant of the potential for rocket-warfare beforehand) achievements as a manager, Bush is probably due a greater debt for his work in the 1930s that previsioned the internet and the concept of memex (indexed memory) that was sort of a mechanical version of hypertext protocols—later set forth in a 1945 article for The Atlantic Monthly called “As We May Think,” describing how computational-assistance could enable individuals to amass and share an archival database of research material by following chains of associative-traits . Throughout his professional career, Bush seemed to eschew the idea of digital computing, preferring analogue models (but perhaps as something illustrative only, not schooled in a world of circuits and relays) but was also prescient in his worry about information overload and the glutting of real progress as input exceeds optimal processing capacity.