When a problem looks to be complicated, a strategy for attacking the problem is “divide & conquer”.   

Most programmers know about Divide & Conquer.

What problems look to be complicated?

For one – multi-tasking is considered “hard” by many programmers.  Multi-tasking is actually simple, but needs to be further divided (and conquered).  For example, multi-tasking, as it is know today consists of several sub-problems:

Let’s apply Divide & Conquer to the multi-tasking.  (1) Time-sharing is needed only by operating systems, such as Linux, Windows, MacOS, etc.  Let’s throw time-sharing aside.  Gnarly problems, like priority inversion go out the window.

Memory sharing was an issue when memory was expensive.  Memory is no longer expensive.  Let’s throw memory-sharing aside.  Thread-safety, etc., go out the window.

We are left with networking and concurrency.

Networking is easily reduced to it most basic form – a wire.

Concurrency, at its most basic form is 2 apps communicating across a wire.

We know how to write the two apps –say, using Python, JS, etc., etc..  

Yet, we don’t have a “language” for app-to-app communication.  There is no popular Python-for-comms language.  There are budding attempts at this kind of language, the most common being UNIX® bash, but bash is tangled up in complexity – time-sharing and memory sharing and variables and, etc., etc. ...   FBP[1] is a not-popular-enough attempt as this kind of language, but it tends to be tangled up with multi-tasking libraries which are tangled up with time-sharing and memory-sharing.  The FBP site references Linda.  CPS[2] and CSP[3] are text-only attempts to tackle this problem – they simply demonstrate that the text-only mentality does not extend well to concurrent applications.  TC;DU (Too Complicated ; Didn’t Use).

An acquaintance of mine builds products that measure the health of race horses.  His app uses some 37 processors.  He uses a language called MicroPython.[4]  He has no problem with multi-tasking.  One processor, one thread.  Node.js?  Why bother?  Processors are cheap.   Linux?  Why bother?  Processors are cheap.  When he wants to get really complicated, he creates an event loop on a processor, that checks for incoming events and does some work in the background.

We need a lean language for coordinating a hierarchy of processors[5]  

We need to apply divide & conquer – throw out operating systems, throw out heavy-weight thread libraries, throw out memory sharing, etc.

Divide & Conquer and Hierarchy leads to thinking about the Design task as a fractal.  Every Component in a Design “does one thing well” and leaves the rest for further sub-dividing.

Where does this stop?  It depends on the application and the Designer’s tolerance for boredom.

As long as the Designer makes the choices clear, expresses the DI,[6] then future readers (Optimization Engineers, Maintenance Engineers, Testing Engineers, etc.) can understand – and deal with – the choices made in the design.  There is no one way to Design something, there is only “here is how I chose to design it” documentation (executable documentation would be more precise than static documentation).

Q: Is the documentation for a Design, itself a fractal?  A binary tree.  Each node contains a bite of the solution and “the rest”.  Each Bite describes the paradigm and details used for that bite.

For example:


[1] Flow-Based Programming <ref>

[2] Continuation Passing Style

[3] Communicating Sequential Processes <ref>

[4] https://micropython.org/

[5] N.B.  I do not use the phrase CPU, since none of the processors are Central.

[6] Design Intent.