[r-t] MUG minor

Don Morrison dfm at ringing.org
Sun Dec 6 13:55:10 UTC 2015

On Sun, Dec 6, 2015 at 6:55 AM Philip Earis <pje24 at cantab.net> wrote:
> More generally, I think it's important (and increasingly important)
> to publish significant new negative results (ideally making
> available the code and / or outline of the search which leads to the
> negative result).

Negative cases are tricky: they might truly be proofs, or they might just
be buggy pieces of software. Publishing the software does in principle mean
they'd be subject to the same kind of social confirmation as ordinary
proofs, but in practice I'm skeptical: do we really think published bits of
ringing software, of interest to only a few people in the world, are going
to be examined and reasoned about minutely? And successfully? Perhaps if
they're simple enough, but when you start doing the kinds of aggressive
pruning that make difficult problems tractable, things become complex,

Don Morrison <dfm at ringing.org>
"Beware of bugs in the above code; I have only
proved it correct, not tried it."
     -- Donald Knuth, memo to Peter van Emde Boas
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