Sunday, February 13, 2011

Order out of Chaos

In stark certainty, we were wandering amidst a death which had reigned at least 500,000 years, and in all probability even longer.

- "At the Mountains of Madness", H.P. Lovecraft

Coding requires that we make decisions all the time, ranging from the small (what should I call this variable) to the large (what framework should I use). While sometimes the information we base our answers on is certain data (the data we are given will never be null), more often we need to make come up with an answer based on uncertain data (what SLA should we advertise for our system based on what we know of the SLA for all the various components of the system).  Coming up with answers for the latter type of questions may seem daunting, however it may not be so impossible given that there is there is a whole branch of mathematics that deals with situations like this, namely probability.