As We Should Have Thought

Peter J. Nürnberg, John J. Leggett, Erich R. Schneider

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The hypermedia field has long realized the need for first-class structural abstractions. However, we have failed to generalize the concept of ubiquitous structure management to problem domains other than navigation of information spaces. In this paper, we argue for the recognition of such a generalization, called structural computing, in which we assert the primacy of structure over data. We provide examples of four problem domains that are more naturally modeled with structure than data. We argue that support for structural computing must come in the form of new models, operating systems, and programming languages. We also assert that the experience gained by hypermedia researchers over the last decade may be naturally extended to form the basis of the new field of structural computing, and furthermore, the broadening of the applicability of our work is necessary for the continued vitality of our research community.

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