Beyond Light Table

Beyond Light Table by Chris Granger.

From the post:

I have three big announcements to make today. The first is the official announcement of our next project. We’ve been quietly talking about it over the past few months, but today we want to tell you a bit more about it and finally reveal its name:


Eve is our way of bringing the power of computation to everyone, not by making everyone a programmer but by finding a better way for us to interact with computers. On the surface, Eve is an environment a little like Excel that allows you to “program” simply by moving columns and rows around in tables. Under the covers it’s a powerful database, a temporal logic language, and a flexible IDE that allows you to build anything from a simple website to complex algorithms. Instead of poring over text files full of abstract symbols, you interact with domain editors that are parameterized by grids of data. To build a UI you don’t open a text editor, you just draw it on the screen and drag data to it. It’s much closer to the ideal we’ve always had of just describing what we want and letting the machine do the rest. Eve makes the computer a real tool again – one that doesn’t require decades of training to use.

Imagine a world where everyone has access to computation without having to become a professional programmer – where a scientist doesn’t have to rely on the one person in the lab who knows python, where a child could come up with an idea for a game and build it in a couple of weekends, where your computer can help you organize and plan your wedding/vacation/business. A world where programmers could focus on solving the hard problems without being weighed down by the plumbing. That is the world we want to live in. That is the world we want to help create with Eve.

We’ve found our way to that future by studying the past and revisiting some of the foundational ideas of computing. In those ideas we discovered a simpler way to think about computation and have used modern research to start making it into reality. That reality will be an open source platform upon which anyone can explore and contribute their own ideas.

Chris goes onto announce that they have raised more money and they are looking to make one or more new hires.

Exciting news and I applaud viewing computers as tools, not as oracles that perform operations on data beyond our ken and deliver answers.

Except easy access to computation doesn’t guarantee useful results. Consider the case of automobiles. Easy access to complex machines results in 37,000 deaths and 2.35 million injuries each year.

Easy access to computers for word processing, email, blogging, webpages, Facebook, etc., hasn’t resulted in a single Shakespearean sonnet, much less the complete works of Shakespeare.

Just as practically, how do I distinguish between success on the iris dataset and a data set with missing values, which can make a significant difference in results when I am dragging and dropping?

I am not a supporter of using artificial barriers to exclude people from making use of computation but on the other hand, what weight should be given to their “results?”

As “computation” spreads will “verification of results” become a new discipline in CS?

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