ALGORITHMS, processes and systems

Algorithms constitute a vast and fascinating subject whose complications go far beyond the scope of this little essay. The basic question of an algorithm is theoretical: If I want to achieve XYZ. How do I go about it? An algorithm is a predetermined procedure to achieve a tangible result, a system.


Systems can be compared with each other on the basis of what they do and how they do it. The basic functions in any system are remarkably few; the ways of performing those simple tasks is myriad. Every machine, for instance, is a combination of parts that either move in circles or in a straight line. But machines can make a million different products, including other machines...


Every system can be reduced into a set of basic functions. These are: Storage, retrieval, transport, selective attraction and connection. These basic functions are all serviced by communication, which is itself a system subject to the above categories. A nicely thought provoking exercise is to take two completely different things, say a mushroom and a building and investigate how each performs its basic functions and for what reasons.


Any process can either be described as a linear system or a hyper system. Hyper essentially means non-linear. Reading starts as a linear process, we read the letters on the page from left to right and that might be the end of it. But it isn’t. As we read the words, a chaotic and apparently haphazard system kicks into work, whereby the words are simultaneously reconstructed in the mind, their meaning measured against our experience. These meanings are actively interpreted and re-adjusted within the precise context the word was used, these words link together, establish relationships, implications are extrapolated and folded back over the whole text to create….an image in the mind. Reading is not a linear process.