What is the FRDCSA?

"FRDCSA" stands for "Formalized Research Database: Cluster, Study and Apply".

Cluster: The FRDCSA is a large collection of software (codebases) that is actively maintained and expanded using a variety of methods (see RADAR Internal Codebase ).

Study: Depending on licensing, packages or installers are semi-automatically created for each codebase. (see Packager Internal Codebase )

Apply: Packaged systems are then used to solve existing problems. (see Architect Internal Codebase )

The archive can be accessed either manually, or preferably, if you have "apt", by adding the following line to the /etc/apt/sources.list file:

deb http://services.frdcsa.org/debian unstable/

Milestones

  • February 1, 2014: We aim to have new packages generated by packager uploaded.
  • March 1, 2005: We aim to have 5000 packages which satisfy every requirement as put forth in the Debian Policy.
  • Jan 1, 2005: We aim to have 5000 packages created by the year 2005. Check our progress on the packages page. (Note that the number of packages will be nonlinear WRT time, since we are automating the packaging process.)

    Update: As of Tue Feb 15 07:12:28 EST 2005, I have 109 packages made. While this is no where near what I expected, considering the developments in late 2004 it is pretty good. The package quality, however, is not very good. Now that I am working again, I am having difficulty getting time to work on this. If you are interested in sponsoring my work at all please contact me at

    contact@frdcsa.org


FRDCSA Technical Motivation

While the technical reference is still being written, please read the following two sources: Wikipedia article on Algorithmic Information Theory , and Chaitin's paper [mirror]. It is very important that one understand this paper. If one understands the major concepts in this paper, then there are only a few more concepts required to completely understand why we need to package software.

Specifically, note the section which states: "The approach of this paper, in contrast, is to measure the power of a set of axioms, to measure the information that it contains. We shall see that there are circumstances in which one only gets out of a set of axioms what one puts in, and in which it is possible to reason in the following manner. If a set of theorems constitutes t bits of information, and a set of axioms contains less than t bits of information, then it is impossible to deduce these theorems from these axioms."

Simply replace "theorems" with "problems", "axioms" with "programs", and "deduce" with "solve" to understand the general necessity of having more software.

A.K.A.: If a set of problems constitutes t bits of information, and a set of programs contains less than t bits of information, then it is impossible to solve these problems from these programs."

So, increasing the information that our set of programs contains is necessary to solve increasingly complex problems. The FRDCSA thesis held by members of the FRDCSA says given the extent of free software, packaging this software is a necessary step of any practical attempt by our group to increase our solution space. It is not sufficient, therefore we are writing numerous systems to help us glue the functionality of the software together where necessary.

Although it represents almost 5 years of research, the FRDCSA is still in its beginning phases. Check back frequently for additional functionality. Help is sincerely needed in getting all these packages made. Packages are necessary in order to quickly and conveniently access the capabilities of software systems. If you would like to help make packages or join our group, please send mail to contact@frdcsa.org.

Further Reading

The following reading has been very useful in giving us an understanding of how to go about solving problems.


FAQ

What sort of solutions are we looking to create, for what sort of problems?
Who all's involved?
What sort of resources do we have to work with?
What do we need to tackle short term?
What's the next step.
How is this project different than Sourceforge?
How is this project different than CPAN?

Q

What sort of solutions are we looking to create, for what sort of problems?

A

There are a few central aims of our project. Since we hold the belief that software must be reused, and that key to this reuse is a central package repository, we aim to solve the problems necessary to:

  1. Create a Comprehensive Software Ontology (CSO).
  2. Compile as many packages for software whose licenses permit and as we have the resources to, using automatic packaging tools we have written that learn from our experiences in packaging novel types of applications.
  3. Find or create software which helps the user to locate the right tools for a particular job. A simple example

How do we limit which types of problems we aim to solve? Well, eventually we would like the computer to define an ontology of problems, and be able to do planning. Until we have such software, however, we are simply using our intuitition. Our main focus currently is recruiting the core group of programmers and packagers, since we feel that our purpose is well-defined but impractical without a software development team focused on achieving the above 3 goals. These goals simplify somewhat the actual nature of the problems, which we cannot yet summarise, so you might already be thinking about some of the limitations of the above 3 goals. Check out our internal codebases to get a better picture of the state of our approach.


Q

Who all's involved?

A

The project was initiated by a socially disabled college student in his first year of college, and has been in progress for 5 years, developing the theory and the central goals of the project. It is based on results in mathematical logic, recursion theory and proof theory.

Once I am organized I will see what kind of interest exists in the online community.


Q

What sort of resources do we have to work with?

A

We have about 15 computers, 10 of which are XP 1800/512 DDR/120 GB.


Q

What do we need to tackle short term?

A

The completion of the planning system.


Q

What's the next step.

A

Our next step is really the recruitment of additional members who can sort out the challenges and find answers to these questions.

Q

How is this project different than Sourceforge?.

A

Good question. We make extensive use of the resources that Sourceforge provides. Sourceforge is a great repository of online software, but it does not do certain things that we need. First, it does not actively locate software by spidering the web, rather, the authors of software must register their product. So, by spidering the web and their resources, we can actually create a comprehensive software ontology that includes software that is not found on Sourceforge. Secondly, it does not always provide packages for their software.


Q

How is this project different than CPAN?.

A

CPAN is the Comprehensive Perl Archive Network. While many of interal codebases happen to be written in Perl, the majority of external codebases are not. Our system is also different from the main Debian archive in that our applications have much lower quality standards, since we don't have the talent or man power of Debian. However, we do fill a role in that we make rough packages for end users, in the hopes that we can help them to solve their problems. In this way, users are more likely to find what they are looking for and not to redouble efforts, as this is wasteful to the world.

Andrew J. Dougherty
Last modified: Wed Jun 7 10:27:17 CDT 2006