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Are these dichotomies in the context of software engineering?

  • Precision vs Accuracy (concensus so far: NO, and I agree)
  • Authorization vs Authentication (concensus so far: NO, and I agree)
  • Validation vs Verification (concensus so far: NO, and I agree)
  • Security vs Convenience MAYBE (when making engineering decisions it is important to identify which is more important depending on the problem being solved. Adding Convenience does not necessarily diminish security, but it seldom improves it. But these aren't quite complementary.. I think?)
  • Space vs Time tradeoff YES (as far as I can tell, trade-offs are good examples of dichotomies if they complementary, such as: mind vs body, nature vs nurture, good vs evil, memory heap vs stack. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dichotomy - I was tempted to include "male vs female," but these days gender is, uh, complicated)

marked as duplicate by WS2, choster, Mitch, tchrist, Tim Lymington supports Monica Oct 26 '15 at 13:40

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    Well religion and science don't form a dichotomy. There are religious scientists and always have been. Not even atheism and religion form a dichotomy because some forms of Buddhism aren't theistic. Atheism and theism are dichotomous. Also some would say that science and mysticism are dichotomous because they treat the acquirement of knowledge in a different way. – chasly from UK Oct 22 '15 at 22:41
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    Religion and Science being a dichotomy has nothing to do with the fact that some scientists are superstitious and that some priests believe in evolution. The [admittedly simple] context in which Reglion and Science are a dichotomy is: "how do I explain this inexplicable thing? by turning to religion, or by turning to science?" – nothingisnecessary Oct 22 '15 at 22:48
  • That's what I meant by science versus mysticism creating a dichotomy. I don't see religion and mysticism as being the same. – chasly from UK Oct 22 '15 at 22:51
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    I think of it as an opposition. If you do one thing then you can't do the other -- at all. If you believe one thing you can't believe the other. There is a dissonance. Let's see what others come up with. – chasly from UK Oct 22 '15 at 22:55
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    P.S. There is no necessary conflict between precision and accuracy. You need precision in order to be accurate so they are compatible not dichotomous. If you had to choose between accuracy and precision I think there would be a dichotomy. – chasly from UK Oct 22 '15 at 22:57

Are these dichotomies?

  • Precision vs Accuracy
  • Authorization vs Authentication
  • Validation vs Verification
  • Security vs Convenience
  • Space vs Time

No, they are not. You must be precise to be accurate. Authorization is with regards to permission and authentication has to do with validity. Verification is part validation. Security and convenience are perceived as a dichotomy but the aren't actually a set of opposing ideas but rather a compromise. As you have more of one it necessarily diminishes the other but there is no opposition between them. Considering a glass of water the level of fullness is not in opposition to emptiness.

And space and time are not only not opposed they are actually one thing; space-time.

  • I can say that "you are a 38 year-old hispanic male with a missing arm and a glass eye" which is pretty precise, but is not accurate. I can also say that "you are a person" which is accurate, but not very precise. You're right about space-time, but I wasn't precise enough in my question.. I was referring to space/time trade-offs. Edited question to better reflect the context too. Verification is 'is it true' and validation is 'is it of an acceptable form'. – nothingisnecessary Oct 23 '15 at 14:57
  • Making a ridiculous claim like this is specific but is not precise. Scientifically, precision has to with repeat-ability, how close together the results are to one another with no regard to accuracy. Where as for something to be accurate it must be correct in all details. And while I agree you weren't precise in your question the correct way to air that sentiment would be that you were to vague. With there being a single value for quality of the question you asked there is no relationship between which you can gauge relative precision.using your own definitions true isn't opposed to acceptable – Yeshe Oct 23 '15 at 17:26
  • Also, explain what you mean by a "space/time trade-off". Do you mean to claim that space and time have an inverse relationship? The longer something exists it further shrinks infinitesimally? If anything this if false, evidence shows that space is exponentially increasing with time. – Yeshe Oct 23 '15 at 17:30
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    No prob - I failed to consider how much context was lost when this question was kicked over here from StackOverflow.com (a community of programmers). Space-time tradeoffs typically involve trading memory (RAM/storage) for processing (CPU/GPU). For example, caching is used in web browsers as a space-time tradeoff: ideally you would always get the latest content from server, but if you visit a static page over and over you can get a quicker response by avoiding the network traffic the second time and load the page from your hard drive. You invest some space to get faster time. – nothingisnecessary Oct 23 '15 at 19:19
  • in that context i would consider that (memory versus speed) to be a dichotomy – Yeshe Oct 23 '15 at 19:25

I like the example "nature versus nurture." Although one could argue either side (as mutually exclusive), there is an understanding that the truth is somewhere in the middle in most circumstances. It allows for comparison of contrasting ideas. An Einstein-ism: It took science to make the atomic bomb. It is religion that teaches us that it is wrong.

  • That's a good one that I had forgotten about. And good point about truth being in the middle. For example, I think it makes more sense that Security and Convenience are part of a continuum. The point I want to make is: don't confuse X with Y. But maybe I'll just steer clear of labels and not worry about dichotomy because it's irrelevant, just adds color.. – nothingisnecessary Oct 22 '15 at 22:51

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