Jan 2020
February 2020 Issue
Collins Software's Newsletter
Mar 2020
Entscheidungsproblem (1928):
The problem asks for an algorithm that takes, as input, a statement and answers "Yes" or "No" according to whether the statement is universally valid.

Alan Turning wrote his thesis (1936) on answering this problem.

These types of questions are not directly related to computers and were asked before the first computer was even built.  Is a question only a question after it has been published?  Did Thales of Miletus (548 BC) ask this question?  It might be that the answer to a question one might not be able to put into words. It might be that the answer is not what a people can accept or understand.

We seem to attribute knowledge to the few people that have access to a typewriter.

Turing Test:
The Turing test (1950) asks if we can tell if it is a computer or not. René Descartes (1637) asked this same question.

We should be asking whether the computer can tell if we are human. Should we be asking metaphysical questions of automata or calculators? Does a gear in a clock have a soul?  Should we be asking this question before building the clock?

To think in science fiction terms is to waste time when building today's products.

"In just six weeks from the time the design was started, we had the motor on the block testing its power." -- Orville Wright

"See everything, overlook a great deal, correct a little." -- Pope John XXIII

"Even if you do learn to speak correct English, whom are you going to speak it to?" -- Clarence Darrow

"Children must be taught how to think, not what to think." -- Margaret Mead

"Maids want nothing but husbands, and when they have them, they want everything." -- William Shakespeare

"It's simple, if it jiggles, it's fat." -- Arnold Schwarzenegger

"Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else's opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation." -- Oscar Wilde


A computer can only execute one statement at a time and cannot determine its correctness. It is up to the human to validate the correctness of every instruction.  The readability of code, testing, tracing and logging is required for every statement.

The current technology in verification of logic does not exist. We can, independent of the technology, create all kinds of analysis and testing procedures after the fact, but this does not ensure correctness.

A = 1

We cannot tell if the above statement is correct.  The computer will execute this statement, and any analysis will have to assume correctness.  The only way to know correctness for any statement is by human design. It is from this axiom that we must start.

A = 3, B = 4, C = 2, D = A * B * (C / 12)

The above statement cannot be understood, too much information is missing, may not exist in the source code, or it might only exist in the mind of the author.

A = 3 ft as height
B = 4 ft as width
C = 2 inches as depth
D = A * B * (C / 12 inches per foot)  as ?

Humans can only determine the correctness when all relevant information is known.  Missing information requires an assumption. The location of information wastes time. Any interpretation requires knowledge from external sources. Hidden information in proprietary systems and data structures is a blindfold on correctness.

The current computer languages fail in all aspects of verifiability by humans.  We must change computer technology to allow humans to know if a program is correct. Not through analysis, but by providing complete context for every line of source code. The actual implementation of correctness comes by expanding our vocabulary which reduces the volume of words necessary for understanding.


In a perfect world, testing should never be required. We test programs because we make assumptions on the readable of the source code. Seeing is believing, I never know what my program is going to do until I see it. Which mean I have no confidence that what I write will function as expected.

We must have readable code with the highest possible confidence level that the computer will understand what we ask of it.

Readability of Code:
Reading our current technologies in coding software is impossible. Our current compilers all perform the same level of work which give the programmer a five word vocabulary. From these five words we group them together to create new phrases which we must interrupt as we try to relate them into reality. To make things worse, we must represent all knowledge as numbers, which we must again interrupt their meaning.

Source code should never require external information or comments. If either is true then the code is not readable. A book that requires a dictionary only means the lack of knowledge on the part of the reader, not on the part of the author. This should be true for source code.

Collins' Law:
The lines of code for any application should be reduced by half every 10 years.

We should be getting better at development, and our applications should be easier to write, this is not happening. Not when every programmer must write in first principles. We should be removing all assumptions and the need for external documentation.

DOS 1.0 has about 4,800 lines of code. Today Windows has 50 million lines. Linux has 12 million lines.

An application written in multiple languages:

JavaScript 65 Lines
Python 75 Lines
Java 118 Lines
C++ 124 Lines
Assembler 260 Lines
Jane 1 Line

The purpose of the application in all the languages is the same. The logic does change slightly from language to language. This should never happen, but it does.

Mechanical vs. Electronics:
Is there any difference in Charles Babbage's Analytical Engine and a electronic computer? An AI abacus is possible if we have enough beads, or so I am told. Size and speed have no effect on logic.

Author: Clif Collins

Houston, Texas
February 1, 2020

email: web1@collinssoftware.com