Rules vs. Lists

A. Katz amnfn at
Fri Jul 4 02:42:25 UTC 2008

On Fri, 4 Jul 2008, Rob Freeman wrote:

> On Thu, Jul 3, 2008 at 9:32 PM, A. Katz <amnfn at> wrote:
> > ...When
> > we speak of list-based system, we speak of a system where there are more
> > rules than instances where they are applied.
> Can you give me even one example of such a system, Aya?

I think I already mentioned the multiplication tables. A computer program
(or a human mind) that handles the mutiplication tables by listing the
answers in a table is a list based system. A computer program that uses a
subroutine to solve the problems with variables for x and y (where x*y is
being calculated) is a rule based system  -- and the same goes for a human
mind that does this. Both systems are functionally equivalent and can give
correct results. Each serves different processing constraints -- memory
versus speed of calculating.

If you want to be shown situations unlike the multiplication table where
the data being processed tends to require one or the other type of system,
think about the rules for spelling English versus the rules for spelling
Spanish. The Spanish spelling system lends itself to rules, as it is
highly regular. The English spelling system lends itself to lists, as it
is highly irregular. It's not that English spelling has no rules -- it's
just there are so darned many of them, that for the most frequently used
words it's almost as if there is a different rule for every word. Not
quite, but almost.



> For the system to be non-trivial the rules should be implicit in the examples.
> -Rob

More information about the Funknet mailing list