Ayende @ Rahien

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Multi Threading Insanity

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
Albert Einstein

You obviously never done any multi threading work, dude!

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Posted By: Ayende Rahien

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Comments

Gene Hughson
04/30/2012 01:15 PM by
Gene Hughson

And here I thought insanity was the outcome of trying to figure out why you get different results when doing the same thing over and over again.

Wyatt Barnett
04/30/2012 01:20 PM by
Wyatt Barnett

Well, one could argue that the fun in multi-threading is proving you are doing the same thing over and over again to lead to the same results. So it feels insane but it is perfectly rational and really just insanely complex.

Chris
04/30/2012 02:25 PM by
Chris

It is easy to forget that time is variable too. Its just one that we can't control (at least not in the absolute sense), so it is usually considered to be a dependent variable.

In many cases, you may be doing exactly the same thing, but another unidentified or difficult/impossible to control variable may be changing (such as the OS performing context switches). Getting deterministic results isn't always easy.

Matt Johnson
04/30/2012 03:08 PM by
Matt Johnson

Sorry to be a stickler, but Einstein probably never said this. See

http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Whofirstsaidthedefinitionofinsanityistodothesamethingoverandoverandexpectdifferent_results

and

http://message.snopes.com/showthread.php?t=33566

As several posters commented, this comment goes against the idea of "if first you don't succeed, try, try again", which Einstein probably would have agreed with.

If that were indeed the true definition of insanity, then all fisherman would have to be wackos. Well, perhaps some are...

:)

Matt Johnson
04/30/2012 03:10 PM by
Matt Johnson

Not sure why that first link I posted got mangled... Here's another try. http://tinyurl.com/lx698m

Joel P
04/30/2012 03:15 PM by
Joel P

From https://twitter.com/#!/nedbat/statuses/194452404794691584:

Some people, when confronted with a problem, think, "I know, I'll use threads," and then two they hav erpoblesms.

Steve
04/30/2012 03:38 PM by
Steve

A mentor of mine always liked pointing out "Computers are deterministic" whenever we complained we couldn't reproduce a bug.

Adron Hall
04/30/2012 10:40 PM by
Adron Hall

Well, this still holds true.

Doing threads, is indeed, fitting of the description of insanity. If you aren't when you start, you may be by the time you're done. :)

Jeme
05/01/2012 09:27 AM by
Jeme

@Steve : It's true, but we are never fully aware of what we asked it to do. ;)

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