Subject: Re: the Free Software Movement in Industry
From: Seth Gordon <>
Date: 27 Aug 2001 18:41:07 -0000

   [Lynn Winebarger:]
	 Maybe not something specific like a telecom billing system, but 
   perhaps the government would have enough of an interest in accurate 
   billing across large industries that it would fund a general billing 
   system "compiler".  That way you might reduce the billing system 
   'program' to levels that might be feasible to audit by federal 
   regulators or court-appointed auditors.

This smells like an AI-complete problem, for two reasons:

* "Is this bill accurate?" is merely a special case of "is party A
conforming to the terms of its contract with party B?", and the
contract will probably be written in a natural language.

* Different industries require different sorts of performance from
their billing systems.  (Consider the difference between a local
telephone company with millions of customers in one region, who must
be billed every month, and a calling-card company with tens of thousands
of customers, spread out over the globe, each of whom must be cut off
from the network at the moment when the card's balance goes to zero.)

"Rav would never cross a bridge when an idolator was on it; he said, 'Maybe he
will be judged and I will be taken with him.'  Shmuel would only cross a
bridge when an idolator was on it; he said, 'Satan cannot rule two nations [at
once].'  Rabbi Yannai would examine [the bridge] and cross."  --Shabbat 32a
== Seth Gordon == == == std. disclaimer ==