Fuzzy - not just a name, a way of life

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Getting Negative on Negativity

Dean and Gordo raise an interesting topic on the concept of Negative Data. It was a cool idea way back when I first heard it, and then I did some quick descrete maths on the magnitude of what you'd have to do for any non-trivial data domain. The numbers are mind boggling. Want to just "not" store my name? Assuming a domain of 27 characters only (don't forget the space character), for my ten-letter name you need to store nearly 200 trillion "non-values". Fancy storing the name of one of my peers at school all those years ago - Srikanth Wirrawijuna Sivaramakrishnam - and you'll need to store 2 x 10^52 values ... yep, 20,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 values.

Of course, there are more elegant ways to represent the negative data, which reduce the data storage requirements. But I'd sure like to be in the storage business if this idea ever takes off.


  • Yeah - big! but finite, right?

    Remember getting your first computer with a TWENTY MEGABYTE hard drive..."We'llne ver fill that!" right?

    And Wasn't that guy a leg spinnner for Sri Lanka?

    By Blogger Gordon, at 2:41 PM  

  • finite, yep!
    stupid, hell yeah!

    I'm sure weve all got better things to be doing with our time

    By Blogger jonron, at 9:07 PM  

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