Subject: State Diagrams, EAB nostalgia

[From Chris Cherpas (951110.1754)]
  [re: > Bruce Abbott (951110.2040 EST)]
    [re: >> Chris Cherpas (951110.1046 PT)]


What they should do is use state diagrams. My PhD advisor, Arthur
Snapper, adapted a notation which is ideal for the job, and, in fact,
it translates very easily into computer-runnable programs, in a
software system call "SKED."


Hey, I speak SKED, in fact I'm one of Art's earliest SKED users,
back in 1978 when I used a SKED interface to a PDP-8! In fact I visited the
Snapper lab in Kalamazoo to work out some problems I was having with one of
the early (paper-tape) SKED compilers. But these days I use a PC and
program in Turbo Pascal. How about you?

I admit I was intimate with paper tape, 12-bitters, and...teletypes! with
the exclusive paper-tape punch ('natch) -- the only computer periphral
deserving of a lawn-mower-style pull-starter. I even think I remember your
phone number scratched on the blackboard in the lab in the Snaps'
inevitable handwriting.

I used to teach sections of Art's "Digital Control" class at Western Michigan
(home of the department of truly incestuous relationships -- psychology!)
circa 1980-1982. I may have even met you on the phone before (e.g.,
Bruce: "where's the fixed version of the compiler?" Chris: Duh, I'll
ask the Snaps, but he's in kind of a meditative state right now." Snaps:
"Chris, it's crashed again -- toggle in RIM and get me a cigarette...")

All this aside, I do want to reiterate the value of specifying/documenting
procedures in state diagrams -- seems like such a natural for PCT-ers since
it is, after all, a language of control. I'll have to dig up one of Snapper's
articles on it.


Are you currently set up to conduct some pigeon studies? My lab is set up
for rats and has been, well, down for some time now.

Alas, I've had no access to a pigeon/rat lab since 1983, when
I got into AI to make the world safe for computer-based education.
My language is most often LISP, "where all content is parenthetical."
I spend all day hacking up ontologies of elementary school concepts
in quasi-semantic nets. Naturally my boss is a chain smoker, just
like Art, so I don't even worry about pigeon-breeder's lung anymore.

I wish I, and everyone on this list, had birds and boxes to run some
studies interpretable from both EAB and PCT perspectives. Who knows,
maybe EAB is like Natural Selection as PCT is to DNA and the great
synthesis awaits. Then again, I've always preferred talking to
running animals (probably the Jack Michael influence). Still, I go
to the Association for Behavior Analysis convention whenever it's
in San Fran (e.g., May '96).

Sincerely sorry to others on the list who couldn't care less about
my life as a behavioro-dweeb.

Nostalgic for those little beaks,

<[Bill Leach 951111.01:26 U.S. Eastern Time Zone]

[Chris Cherpas (951110.1754)]

I might have been a "little hasty" about my "state diagrams" comment.
I suspect that they would be useful in the "Program Level" of HPCT (but
not below).