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December 21, 2007

Triadic Continuum (Setting Context)

Review the book and other sources for more information.

One of the key operations in the Triadic Continuum data structure is "setting context," and I would argue that this key operation might be prohibitive in anything but the simplest examples. I haven't fully studied and analyzed real-world scenarios, but here's my argument:

First, remember that in the Triadic Continuum, data itself is never duplicated. Every "sub component node" in the tree structure contains not any observed data, but rather a pointer to "sensor nodes" where data is actually stored. Like a columnar database, this is great in reducing the amount of data being stored.

Second, think about the ideas of context, constraint, and focus. These are three key concepts in getting information from the Triadic Continuum. Context is the idea that you have to provide some level of initial boundary to the question being asked: "I can about sales" for example. I can imagine this initial definition of context being brutally difficult. Imagine if you had a single index in a database that represented each column value that appeared anywhere in any column of any table. Here are a couple of concerns:

It also seems to me that another huge variable in the performance of the triadic continuum is what order pieces of data are observed and stored in the structure. Thinking about the observation of customer information: If I look at gender first, then the first level of the tree is nice and small, just two nodes (unless you work in health care, then there are seven genders). If I look at zip code and then gender, then the first level is about 43,000 nodes and the next level is 86,000 nodes. If I search for "Male" in the first scenario, I get 1 node; in the second I get 43,000 nodes. Likewise, if I search for "82601," I get 2 nodes in the first scenario and 1 node in the second. I'm sure there are some significant and important implications to this fact.

If anyone wants to pay me something equivalent to my current salary to go back to school and study this more thoroughly, let me know!

Posted by Paul Boal at December 21, 2007 8:00 PM


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