We linguistically compare computer programming with mathematics, revealing that the algorithmic (second-person) nature of the first makes it distinctly different from the third-person character of mathematics. But, in reviewing the literature [e.g., HAWAII INT'L CONFER SYSTEM SCIENCES, 1985: 3060316; & NOTICES, Amer Math Soc 24: A-313 and 25: A-463, 1978], we show that this algorithmic nature implies that every computer program is a mimic of a decider, or decision-making process, and therefore a simulation model (of something, of some process). The conclusion becomes of pertinence in view of the established isomorphism [cf. SIMULATION: STATISTICAL FOUNDATIONS AND METHODOLOGY, 1972 (1970)] between the six-stage model-building process of simulation methodology and the Scientific Method, as the latter has been conducted historically. Thus, the credibility of computer programs becomes the age-old question of the truth of any other scientific writing/report, since Science is that human activity devoted to the very explanation for (i.e., to seeking the truth about) a naturally occurring phenomenon. As importantly, this six-stage model-building process which we humans conduct extra-corporeally is one-to-one isomorphic to the six-stage chemical model-building process which has ensured biological survival [cf. AN EPISTLE TO DR. BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, 1975 (1974)]: first “used” by plants and animals in chemico-genetic models for survival and then “employed” (non-consciously, of course) by the “higher” animals via chemico-neural modelling to enhance day-to-day survival. We provide several examples to reveal the distinction between computer programming and mathematics, then move to the titular theme, using as examples the presently widespread bibliographical retrieval software: actually, simulation models of the reference librarian (or researcher) at work.
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