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Date:         Sun, 1 Oct 2006 18:31:22 +0000
Reply-To:     iw1junk@COMCAST.NET
Sender:       "SAS(r) Discussion" <SAS-L@LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
From:         Ian Whitlock <iw1junk@COMCAST.NET>
Subject:      Re: Death of the Mainframe? (was PC SAS vs. Mainframe SAS)
Comments: To: "Dorfman, Paul" <>


I did not mean to suggest that you discovered/invented the law; I only meant that you suggested its applicability to SAS-L in terms of the subject line and that I thought there was reason to question its applicability.

I would consider the "tools of war" as falling well within the bounds of technology. As for the biological examples, I do not know how in these times to exclude biology from technology. While I would never endorse an "Intelligent Design" view of evolution, I do think that Darwin's principle has lead to far more efficient designs than human technology can yet dream of. So again I do not know how to draw a distinction that you seem to hold.

I agree that in principle Google could use mainframes, but I see their choice as driven by efficiency, so I think the violation of the law still holds.

After I sent my message, I considered your train example and realized that it would be highly inefficient to have my groceries delivered by train to my home. In short I think a great deal must be said before I would know how to reliably apply this "law of technology" to any problem.

I also suspect that this law predates and is outmoded by the science of networks. (I mean networks in a mathematical sense, not in the internet or computer sense; although the they are examples networks.)

Yes, SESUG is a week away, and I still do not know what to say about problem solving.

Ian Whitlock

-------------- Original message -------------- From: "Dorfman, Paul" <>

> Ian, > > I am the one who suggested it no more than I am the one who suggested > any other law I did not discover. And I by no means meant to expand a > law of technology (of which I explicitly stated it is, and herein lies > the constraint) on anything out of the realm within which it applies. > Whether Google should or should not switch to mainframe(s) as their data > pile up is a legitimate question. My guess is they will not - not > because it is principally impossible or mainframes cannot handle their > loads, but because they have spent so much for their current technology > that departing from it at this point is not cost-effective. As far as > your other anecdotal extrapolations are concerned, I a ppreciate and > enjoy your wit, as always. > > Looking forward to seeing you in Atlanta. > > Kind regards > ------------ > Paul Dorfman > Jax, FL > ------------ > > -----Original Message----- > From: [] > Sent: Friday, September 29, 2006 9:28 PM > To: SAS(r) Discussion > Cc: Dorfman, Paul; Alan Churchill > Subject: Re: Death of the Mainframe? (was PC SAS vs. Mainframe SAS) > > > Summary: ? > #iw-value=0 > > Paul, > > You suggested a fundamental law. > > In order to achieve a certain output, one large unit > is always more efficient than a number of lesser units > working in parallel. > > So we should be able to deduce some facts form this law. > > 1) Google will be out of business shortly after some bright > p erson decides to do the same thing with a powerful mainframe. > > 2) It makes no sense to fight wars with small weapons, since > big weapons are more efficient. > > 3) Ants and all other social animals are an evolutionary > impossible sort of animal, since inefficiency is ruthlessly > eliminated. > > 4) Humans will develop to be over 100 feet tall due to > efficiency requirements. > > Perhaps, the law needs some amendments or other form of > constraints. > > Oh, and yes, I refuse to argue about the perpetuation or demise > of the mainframe. > > Looking forward to our panel discussion with Richard DeVenezia > at SESUG. On the other hand maybe a bigger panel would be > better, but I think it is too late to hash it out with Peter. > > Ian Whitlock > > > ------------------------------------------------------------ ------------------ > Notice: This e-mail message, together with any attachments, contains > information of Merck & Co., Inc. (One Merck Drive, Whitehouse Station, > New Jersey, USA 08889), and/or its affiliates (which may be known > outside the United States as Merck Frosst, Merck Sharp & Dohme or MSD > and in Japan, as Banyu - direct contact information for affiliates is > available at that may be > confidential, proprietary copyrighted and/or legally privileged. It is > intended solely for the use of the individual or entity named on this > message. If you are not the intended recipient, and have received this > message in error, please notify us immediately by reply e-mail and then > delete it from your system. > > ------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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