How working notes began.

It all started in 1979 while I was working in the computer centre at Auckland University. We had been concerned in a desultory way about the general disorganisation of our casual communications, because we'd found that sometimes they remained useful for reference long after they'd been lost.

We did nothing about it until Nevil Brownlee returned from a visit to somewhere and told us about the system of informal "working papers" which they used; anything which might just possibly be of interest for more than a day or two was given a number and stored as a working paper originating from its author. There was a sort of agreement that it would be a Good Thing to try.

So I tried it. All my working notes ( except the D series, to be explained shortly ) have labels beginning with "AC" to identify them as mine. As no one else ever produced any ( with an exception which I shall explain ), the prefix is really redundant. Some time later, Nevil audibly wondered why I took the trouble to record the stuff, and was surprised when I told him that he had raised the idea. Incidentally, they're called "working notes" because that was my memory of what Nevil had originally said.

The exception I mentioned is connected with the Zeno project. This was a computer centre enterprise aimed at constructing an operating system interface which we could easily transport from computer to computer, so that students throughout the university could have a consistent view of the system. I was in charge of the enterprise, and caused others involved to write their own working notes for reasons as described. It half-worked - which is to say that it didn't work at all. A few people joined in, but some declined to do so, so we never had any coherent complete record of what was going on. Most of my notes from AC8 to AC30 are related to Zeno, and some are not very comprehensible on their own. ( Zeno was not a big success for various reasons, but we learnt a lot. Anyone interested might care to inspect the Zeno technical report. )

The D series are Distinct from the others. They are all about my particular interest of rehabilitation systems, and I started the separate series because it seemed likely that few people would be interested in both collections. It started bravely with some entries which even I now find for the most part unconvincing, then languished as I became less confident that I'd ever get anywhere. More recently, I've come back to the idea, so there's a very big gap, and there are quite a number of notes connected with rehabilitation in the AC series. After some cogitation, I gave these D numbers as well, and notes in this category have two entries, which are linked. They are really AC notes.

Discipline in the early years was not perfect. Whether AC6 ever existed, and, if so, what it was, are questions which are never likely to be answered, as is that of why I wrote two AC13s. Formats vary in the Computer Centre notes, though a sort of ideal is discernible; it all settled down when microcomputers came along, and I could look after it for myself. ( That was just about when I moved to the Computer Science Department. )

What working notes are.

Working notes are records of ideas which had not been properly worked out when they were written. They have rather more status than scrappy notes on odd bits of paper, but far less than anything that might be recorded in the humblest publication. I include the list here mainly so that I can refer to those which are of interest in connection with various of my preoccupations. The notes are not secret, but they're not necessarily the sort of material I want to advertise widely. If any takes your fancy enough for you to want a copy, you can get a pdf version if the code number is active. If not, let me know, and I'll send you a copy somehow if I can find one.

I write working notes for several reasons : so that I don't forget what I've done; for the exercise of writing it down - I find it clarifies thoughts wonderfully; to record something somewhere so that it won't get lost; as a contribution to someone's project or thesis; to get something off my mind. Many are half-finished research projects, and not a few are not-even-started research projects - if you want to finish one off, get in touch. You might be on your own, but I'll be interested. On the other hand, you might find that it's part of a research topic which someone is actively pursuing, in which case I'll put you in touch with the pursuer concerned.

A lot of the material is of no conceivable interest to anyone, but now and then I do find it handy to have the collection - and in such cases it is indispensable. I commend the idea, but leave it to you to judge the notes themselves.

Using the stuff.

Here it is; help yourself. Bear in mind that most of it is opinion, and not necessarily profoundly considered, so I might not believe it any more. If you want to use it, do so and welcome; copyright is hereby waived, but it would be nice if you observed the usual courtesy of identifying the source of anything you use in a publication. The preferred reference is :

G.A. Creak : "title", unpublished working note numberdate ).

Add the URL if you wish; I have no control over department policy, but I'm not going to move any of it.

Go to me ( Alan Creak, in case you've forgotten );
Go to Computer Science.

Any entries in italic type are in preparation, and shouldn't be taken too seriously.

Notes from the Computer Centre :

AC1PRIME testing1979 March19
AC2Pumps statistics1979 March20
AC3On documentation1979 March30
AC4PRIME development1979 March30
AC5On guesses at data rates in a network1979 May3
AC7Moving data along wires1979 September14
AC8Mecca1979 October10
AC9Data communications - further startling revelations !1979 October19
AC10Thoughts arising while thinking about editors1979 November9
AC11An editor1979 November13
AC12Files, editors, and things1979 November14
AC13Some subroutines1979 November21
AC13+Systematic HELP, QUIT, and errors1979 December3
AC14ZENO filia1979 December4
AC15Names1979 December5
AC16U-ZENOTE 2 3/4 Running a Fortran job, simply1979 December10
AC17When to Initiate Zeno Advances for Regular Development1979 December13
AC18Files In Zed and Zeno - positively the Last Exposition1979 December15
AC19Definitely All about the Zed Editor1979 December19
AC20Preliminary instructions for using DIETICIAN1979 December24
AC21On using microcomputers as Prime terminals1980 February22
AC22Where to put Zeno "batch" jobs' output1980 June10
AC23"The 1812" ( being about notes and reports )1980 June26
AC24Security in Zeno1980 July4
AC25COMSEP, COMEND, COMACT - the real story1980 July10
AC26Very preliminary documentation for Zed1980 July17
AC27Tabulating in Zeno and Zed1980 July21
AC28Reply to ... on STANDARD PLOT FILES1980 August8
AC29Towards an equipment maintenance system1980 August11
AC30Zeno documentation1980 August15
AC31IBM file storage1981 July14
AC32Improving the DEC-10's performance1982 July7
AC33Retrieving files from backup1982 July26
AC34Computer Centre information services1982 September17
AC35Student data entry service1983 April7
AC36UDNUDGER and associates1983 May9
AC37The student data entry service1983 September28
AC38Inform1984 June14
AC39The student data entry service1984 August29
AC40Monitoring the DEC-10's performance1984 August29
AC41A reproducible dummy load for the DEC- 101984 September28
AC42LSI Basic1985 February12

Notes from the Computer Science department :

AC43"Computer organisation" reorganisation revisited1985 November25
AC44The U-BIX operating system1986 October13
AC45An intelligent interface for the disabled= D9 )1985 December4
AC46Computer-readable chemical formulae1986 March5
AC47Representations for compound statements1986 March5
AC48An expert system for assistance with enrolment1986 April7
AC49PFL : Progress report ? Discussion paper ? ....1986 April11
AC50Eccles1986 May12
AC51Eccles and Eliza1986 May12
AC52Robot dynamics and the digital differential analyser1986 May21
AC53Evaluating expressions in Eccles1986 May26
AC54Some notes on the potential of a model railway system ...1986 May28
AC55 Mechanical determination of free-radical reaction mechanisms1986 July7
AC56Resolving conflicts constructively1986 August4
AC57Some notes on the course "Robotics and real-time control" ....1986 September22
AC58Television signals and scanning patterns1986 October8
AC59Notes on Richard O'Keefe's Maori parser1986 December4
AC60A proposal for work with Mr W....= D10 )1986 December10
AC61Steps towards a robotic table attendant= D11 )1986 December23
AC62Some notes on analysing the boat data ....1987 April22
AC63An attempt ... to impose a logical structure on university enrolment1987 April24
AC64An orderly approach to pattern perception1995 June12
AC65Does computer science exist ?1991 July19
AC66On disabled people using robots= D12 )1991 July18
AC67Mixing discrete and continuous simulation1989 March23
AC68Why do computists like gibberish ?1998 March6
AC69Semantics of block diagrams1990 January16
AC70An application for schemata1989 May16
AC71Simulation made easy - your introduction to Ghola1989 May24
AC72PFL Syntax1989 June21
AC73Computing - a course structure1989 November15
AC74Schemata and the treaty of Waitangi1989 November1
AC75Operating systems course structure1989 December4
AC76Three Hyperforty : the structure of a course in operating systems1989 December?
AC77Documentation documentation1989 December11
AC78Some notes on a proposed interface device= D13 )1990 December28
AC79PFL syntax, yet again1991 March6
AC80Contributions to the design of a domestic communications network= D14 )1991 August26
AC81Theme and variations1992 January10
AC82Clarification1992 January10
AC83The infinitely versatile analogue computer1993 December15
AC84About POSS1992 October9
AC85Space for robotics and real-time control1994 January5
AC86Goals for robotics and real-time control1994 January14
AC87Describing modular networks1993 September23
AC88The PFL - CBL interface1993 October11
AC89Notes on Elman networks1993 December1
AC90Thoughts on building autonomous adapting machines1993 December9
AC91Multiple keying for faster communication= D15 )1994 September23
AC92A novel reaching device= D16 )1995 January6
AC93Cellular automata with a purpose1994 December7
AC94Two-stage automata1995 January6
AC95Advanced operating systems course1994 December30
AC96Reaching beyond words in rehabilitation computer systems= D17 )1996 October2
AC97Interactors in rehabilitation system design= D18 )1996 August2
AC98Faster communication through multiple key operations= D19 )1996 May17
AC99Kites : introducing HKI1996 July9
AC100How to use Mapwalker : version 1= D20 )1996 August1
AC101States in PDL1996 August16
AC102Midigrid notes1996 September23
AC103Analysing WordKeys= D21 )1996 September30
AC104Sentences that mean "X", more or less= D22 )1996 September30
AC105Analysis of a one- handed chord keyboard= D23 )1996 October21
AC106Targowski and Bowman meet VTA1996 November19
AC107Kites again, with more VTA1996 December9
AC108Subverting BIOS for the Compaq Elite= D24 )1996 December13
AC109Instructions for the multiple key interface= D25 )1996 December13
AC110Novel approaches to using keyboards= D26 )1996 December18
AC111Information structures1997 May23
AC112A velocity sensor for small machines1997 July11
AC113Introducing processes in a course on operating systems1997 August25
AC114Critical parameters1997 September2
AC115Background for a document generator1997 September25
AC116States in PDL revisited1997 October24
AC117Designing the document factory1997 November21
AC118Making the HTML version of the handbooks1997 December5
AC119Going back again1997 December5
AC120Handbook preparation : the future ( perhaps )1997 December19
AC121Academic structure in the study of operating systems1998 March6
AC122The distortion network1999April8
AC123Learning to learn : a comparison1998June10
AC124PDL meets middleware1998June10
AC125The turtle taught1998 July24
AC126 Regal and Imperial1999April13
AC127 Lessons from the 1998 handbook exercise1999February24
AC128 The Stubol story2000June26
AC129 Properties of code and data2001January8
AC130 Standards for information files2000December20
AC131 A new definition of processes2001April27
AC132What are programming languages ?coming
AC133Handbooks in 20012001December20

Notes connected with rehabilitation systems :

D1Notes on possible uses for computers at the Wilson Home1986May3
D2Proposed project : a virtual machine as a standard1986May3
D3Possible avenues in robotic devices as aids to the disabled1986September1
D4Operating systems1986September1
D5A twin processor system1986June7
D6Interpretive programme execution1986September1
D7Proposals for a communicator using a synthesised voice1986June17
D8Knowledge-based systems for assessment1992December2
D9An intelligent interface for the disabled= AC45 )1985 December4
D10A proposal for work with Mr W....= AC60 )1986 December10
D11Steps towards a robotic table attendant= AC61 )1986 December23
D12On disabled people using robots= AC66 )1991 July18
D13Some notes on a proposed interface device= AC78 )1990 December28
D14Contributions to the design of a domestic communications network= AC80 )1991 August26
D15Multiple keying for faster communication= AC91 )1994 September23
D16A novel reaching device= AC92 )1995 January6
D17Reaching beyond words in rehabilitation computer systems= AC96 )1996 October2
D18Interactors in rehabilitation system design= AC97 )1996 August2
D19Faster communication through multiple key operations= AC98 )1996 May17
D20How to use Mapwalker : version 1= AC100 )1996 August1
D21Analysing WordKeys= AC103 )1996 September30
D22Sentences that mean "X", more or less= AC104 )1996 September30
D23Analysis of a one- handed chord keyboard= AC105 )1996 October21
D24Subverting BIOS for the Compaq Elite= AC108 )1996 December13
D25Instructions for the multiple key interface= AC109 )1996 December13
D26Novel approaches to using keyboards= AC110 )1996 December18
D27A binary selection interface2000October13
D28Describing and designing communications in rehabilitation computer systems2001May21

Go to me ( Alan Creak, in case you've forgotten );
Go to Computer Science.