[Humanist] 30.452 and more on flowcharts

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Tue Nov 1 08:01:57 CET 2016

                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 30, No. 452.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

        Date: Mon, 31 Oct 2016 14:50:25 +0000
        From: "Gudridge, Patrick O." <pgudridg at law.miami.edu>
        Subject: Re:  30.446 and more on flowcharts
        In-Reply-To: <20161029051604.7D0F881BA at digitalhumanities.org>


Ashbery's Flow Chart is thought to be a poetic accomplishment of very, very high order (I am told, I believe, maybe we all know already).  Somehow the poem -- although really long -- pulls the reader along (caught up in the flow, as it were).  It is very hard to read all the way through, as every reader discovers, but can be happily read in bits and pieces in any order (the flow picks up from wherever it starts).  "Flow" is watery, it seems, the chart is nautical maybe, and the difficulty follows accordingly.  I recall Harold Bloom as treating the poem at some length somewhere.  Maybe that's a start.


Pat Gudridge

Sent from my iPhone

On Oct 29, 2016, at 1:16 AM, Humanist Discussion Group <willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk<mailto:willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk>> wrote:

                Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 30, No. 446.
           Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
               Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org<mailto:humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org>

 [1]   From:    Henry Schaffer <hes at ncsu.edu<mailto:hes at ncsu.edu>>                             (60)
       Subject: Re:  30.406 even more on flowcharts?

 [2]   From:    Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk<mailto:willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk>>          (24)
       Subject: Flow Chart and flowcharts

       Date: Fri, 28 Oct 2016 09:33:47 -0400
       From: Henry Schaffer <hes at ncsu.edu<mailto:hes at ncsu.edu>>
       Subject: Re:  30.406 even more on flowcharts?
       In-Reply-To: <20161012060638.852C28165 at digitalhumanities.org<mailto:20161012060638.852C28165 at digitalhumanities.org>>

 There are many humorous examples of real flowcharts, one that every
engineer will recognize is the classic "Does it Move" one, e.g.


which does a good job of communicating to the public.

 I started out using flowcharts as the first step in programming a
computer, but have moved to the use of "pseudocode" which I find to be a
better preparation for writing computer code. I also use this in teaching
as I find it to be a good way to communicate with both non-programmers and
beginning programmers. E.g. here is an example for an elementary text
processing program:

while there is text left to read {
    read in line
    split into words
    for each one of these words, increment count
print words with count of each

where the { } indicate the grouping for iteration so that the printing
doesn't happen until all the text is processed. I find that the flowchart
can show iteration, it is not as easy to understand and that gets worse
with nested iteration. (Note that this example does have nested iteration -
it's implicit in the 4th line of the pseudocode - but it is easy for a
non-programmer to understand.)

 The history of the flowchart certainly goes much further back than
computing. One example is the depiction of metabolic pathways in
biochemistry. E.g. see https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__en.wikipedia.org_wiki_Citric-5Facid-5Fcycle&d=DQICAg&c=y2w-uYmhgFWijp_IQN0DhA&r=4HW-Bg1iTf-h--lzhgL26C0VNPm-50-gpP1cqUgHbVg&m=xQgmTgQftu_LSmtFt0aaTS2-bxTvon0kGVVTqHhBNyE&s=pn_CHASVTT9MnotNX82i_xFJnVF98jXRfEBKvKPoMPA&e=
which dates back to the 1930's. But a biochemist/biologist would never
refer to that a "flowchart".

--henry schaffer

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