Subjects — C
I see mysteries and complications wherever I look, and I have never met a steadily logical person.
Everything is complicated; if that were not so, life and poetry and everything else would be a bore.
Einstein argued that there must be simplified explanations of nature, because God is not capricious or arbitrary. No such faith comforts the software engineer.
— No Silver Bullet, 1987
For me, the first challenge for computing science is to discover how to maintain order in a finite, but very large, discrete universe that is intricately intertwined. And a second, but not less important challenge is how to mould what you have achieved in solving the first problem, into a teachable discipline: it does not suffice to hone your own intellect (that will join you in your grave), you must teach others how to hone theirs. The more you concentrate on these two challenges, the clearer you will see that they are only two sides of the same coin: teaching yourself is discovering what is teachable.
— My Hopes of Computing Science, 1979, EWD709
Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler.
The brain immediately confronts us with its great complexity. The human brain weighs only three to four pounds but contains about 100 billion neurons. Although that extraordinary number is of the same order of magnitude as the number of stars in the Milky Way, it cannot account for the complexity of the brain. The liver probably contains 100 million cells, but 1,000 livers do not add up to a rich inner life.
— Scientific American, Sept. 1992
The essence of mathematics is not to make simple things complicated, but to make complicated things simple.
Simple things should be simple; complex things should be possible.
The fluttering of a butterfly’s wing in Rio de Janeiro, amplified by atmospheric currents, could cause a tornado in Texas two weeks later.
The complexity of things — the things within things — just seems to be endless. I mean nothing is easy, nothing is simple.