Appropriating IT: Glue Steps [Gluing Subject Representatives Together?]

Appropriating IT: Glue Steps by Tony Hirst.

Over the years, I’ve been fortunate enough to have been gifted some very evocative, and powerful, ideas that immediately appealed to me when I first heard them and that I’ve been able to draw on, reuse and repurpose over and over again. One such example is “glue logic”, introduced to me by my original OU PhD supervisor George Kiss. The idea of glue logic is to provide a means by which two digital electronic circuits (two “logic” circuits) that don’t share a common interface can be “glued” together.

(diagrams and other material omitted)

This idea is powerful enough in its own right, but there was a second bit to it that made it really remarkable: the circuitry typically used to create the glue logic was a device known as a Field Programmable Gate Array, or FPGA. This is a type of digital circuit whose logical function can be configured, or programmed. That is, I can take my “shapeless” FPGA, and programme it so that it physically implements a particular digital circuit. Just think about that for a moment… You probably have a vague idea that the same computer can be reprogrammed to do particular things, using some vaguely mysterious and magical thing called software, instructions that computer processors follow in order to do incredible things. With an FPGA, the software actually changes the hardware: there is no processor that “runs a programme”; when you programme an FPGA, you change its hardware. FPGAs are, literally, programmable chips. (If you imagine digital circuits to be like bits of plastic, an FPGA is like polymorph.)

The notion of glue logic has stuck with me for two reasons, I think: firstly, because of what it made possible, the idea of flexibly creating an interface between two otherwise incompatible components; secondly, because of the way in which it could be achieved – using a flexible, repurposable, reprogrammable device – one that you could easily reprogramme if the mapping from one device to another wasn’t quite working properly.

If instead of “don’t share a common interface” you read “semantic diversity” and in place of Field Programmable Gate Array, or FPGA, you read “legend,” to “creat[e] an interface between two otherwise incompatible [subject representatives],” you would think Tony’s post was about the topic maps reference model.

Well, this post is and Tony’s is very close.

Particularly the part about being a “reprogrammable device.”

I can tell you: “black” = “schwarz,” but without more, you won’t be able to rely on or extend that statement.

For that, you need a “reprogrammable device” and some basis on which to do the reprogramming.

Legends anyone?

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