Monday, November 08, 2004

Now Thats an Expression

If you talk to a child using an "Idiom",say "Someone let the cat out of
the bag", he will be struggling to understand the meaning of it in a
given context(In most cases by not finding a cat around if not a bag).
You might try help him understand that it's an expression, and doesn't
literally mean what it says.

This brings home the point that An expression, even in computer
terminology, is not something to be interpreted literally. It is something
that needs to be evaluated. An expression describes a result.

You are probably familiar with the kinds of expressions that a
human interprets. Lets say you ask whats my age and I reply :

20 + 6

You immediately evaluate the result as 26.For a machine (like computer)
"Twenty plus six" consists of several constants or literal values and an
operator. For Instance, that "6" is a numeric constant and that the plus sign represents an operator, not to be interpreted as the holy cross.(The communist government in former East Germany tried to ban the plus symbol as it reminded people of christ..More on things like these in this book on stupidity ).Enough of the digression.Programmers know that an expression always evaluates to value.The context to some extent usually determines the interpretation.Cryptology uses the same theory inside out for the purpose of being interpreted by the "right" party.

The reason I emphasize this is because I want to think of phrases like "Express Yourself" and "Self-Expression" in this light.This blog is one of those means.



ps : Greetings to a never writer from a ever reader.Many Happy Returns of the Day..

1 comment:

Geetanjali said...

Hmm...a point to ponder over!
(Got your email - am busy these days...shall get back in a few! Cheers!)