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Do it! Then fix it.

Daniel Lemire has two posts good for a bit of thought. Why I still program gets into a fundamental issue with Amateur Radio. The idea is that, while theory is just fine, you really don’t understand an idea until you have used it to build something.

Time and time again, implementing my ideas has forced me to understand them better. A common scenario is that something that sounded reasonable on paper suddenly feels unwieldy when you must implement it. I also often discover bugs in my mathematical arguments through implementation. Could I outsource this work to others? Maybe. But the process would not be as fruitful.

There are other good reasons to get down and dirty but this one is the essence for me.

It is related to a note about the peer review process and an alternate method to publish and disseminate research: You cannot refuse to publish our paper because…. This particular issue is a big one in climatology because the ‘peer review’ has changed from something like the purpose of a second to the motion in Robert’s Rules to the establishment of authority. The suggested alternative is a “publish-then-filter” model.

Both programs and research papers are work products that are published. Their value is then determined by how many people pick them up and use them.

It is interesting to note that both have ‘peer review’ as well. Apple does this in filtering which apps will be available for download, for instance.

What changes the game, though, is that publication is no longer an expensive process nor is it difficult to find pertinent papers. Anyone can put a research paper or a program on the I’net and make it available to the public. The public can find it via search engines that determine relevance via a depth of examination well beyond the old library archives search capabilities with card catalogs.

One big problem remains and that is that of figuring out if what you find, program or research paper, has any value. Yes, the I’net does provide some measures similar to citation counts for research papers but, ultimately, the value is whether or not what you find will help you build your own idea and make it work.

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