Natural Computing: Its Impact on Software Development.

Report No. ARL-TR-2040
Authors: Som Karamchetty
Date/Pages: February 2000; 56 pages
Abstract: Many software engineering problems stem, in part, from the need for software designers to understand specialized knowledge domains. Current computer software systems are not capable of representing familiar calculation features such as equations, tables, graphs, procedures, and pictures so that these features assist humans to perform calculations in a natural, intuitive way. This report explains the need for these features to present users with "natural" ways of doing calculations-that is, ways analogous to the paper-based techniques used in the absence of computers. Features presented in this way would make computing more transparent and intuitive. In the Natural Computing approach proposed in this report, software tools are first developed and then given to domain specialists to use in their calculation methods, knowledge, and data. As domain knowledge changes and grows, and/or new calculation methods are needed, software developers can add new methods and procedures to the existing methods (or delete old ones) and develop successively enhanced versions of application software for use by both specialists and naive end users. Domain information and knowledge can be captured in electronic books and communicated electronically for further expeditious use. Natural Computing eases application system development and accelerates domain knowledge dissemination, leading to quicker development of further knowledge.
Distribution: Approved for public release
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Last Update / Reviewed: February 1, 2000