Computer Science meets Pornography

computers-and-intractability

Original Image from Amazon.com

I recently wrote about IT pros using language in a different way from ‘normal’ people.

I’ve seen it again.

Jeff Atwood, of Coding Horror, wrote a controversial article about something called, “NP-Complete”.  What is it? I must be the wrong kind of geek, because I couldn’t make neither head nor tail of the whole business. As far as I could make out, it is some arcane computer science thing that explains why travelling salesmen rarely see their families at the weekends.

One thing that Jeff mentioned does seem to explain a lot:

NP-Complete problems are like hardcore pornography.

Intriguing.

At the end of the article, Jeff asked for examples of reader’s, “favourite NP-complete cheat”. One of the few responses that actually answered gave a list. With no hint of titter nor smirk he including:

  • Simulated annealing
  • The great deluge

Frankly, the mind boggles!

Having read the article, I am still fairly naive (about both the porn and the NP thing). One thing’s for sure:

Either computer scientists need to get out more, or I really am the wrong kind of geek.

😉

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