old sequences

David Broadhurst D.Broadhurst at open.ac.uk
Mon Jan 24 09:56:11 CET 2000

John Conway is rightly concerned about dilution of "strong" sequences by
"weak" ones.

> I fear that if there continues to be no control on the sequences inserted, 
> the value of the system will only decline with time.

This leads into a classic liberty versus licence debate.

If there were control by an authority, then one would avoid things like
"Perrin numbers modulo 137" and get a quick answer to the beginning of Perrin
sequence, undiluted by such seemingly useless trifles.

So the choice is this: would one like an authority to decide what *no-one*
should *ever* be interested in?

As a 1960's long-hair, my answer is a clear no. I would sooner scan a list,
and weed out what is (to me!) the dross, than have someone second-guess my
own (and everyone else's!) purposes.

The fact that EIS does not try to second-guess my intentionality has been a
great boon to my research. My next paper will contain the following:

> At the time, Sloane had no idea that we were studying <this subject>
> and told us ``it is pretty unlikely this is your sequence, but I
> thought I should pass this along just in case''.

EIS is a fine example of the "just in case" philosophy.
The price of its liberty is a modicum of vigilance.
In my libertarian opinion, this vigilance should be exercised by the user.

To handle quick searches for standard things,
a "search only the classic core" button would serve.
In its absence, "grep A00" does a reasonable job.

David Broadhurst             Email:  D.Broadhurst at open.ac.uk
Reader in Physics            Phone:  (+44) 1908 655132 (Yvonne Mckay)
The Open University          FAX:    (+44) 1908 654192
Milton Keynes MK7 6AA, UK    http://physics.open.ac.uk/~dbroadhu/

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