Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The Shape of Data

The first time I heard anyone talk about the shape of data, it was Anders Hejlsberg. He was discussing C# and LINQ. I distinctly remember him discussing the shape of arrays as being rectangular. He contrasted this with the more jagged shape of XML data. Not only that, but one can change the shape of the XML by choosing to use attributes instead of tags. I tended to think this was fascinating and worth further thought. The ability to view data structures geometrically could lead to some amazing insights. Of course, after the initial flash, I gave it no more thought. However, the folks at Microsoft Research did, and they've produced this paper. I hope it is as interesting as Anders' initial insights were.

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