The Rule of Least Power

Computer Science in the 1960s through 1980s spent a lot of effort making languages that were as powerful as possible. Nowadays we have to appreciate the reasons for picking not the most powerful solution but the least powerful.


When designing computer systems, one is often faced with a choice between using a more or less powerful language for publishing information, for expressing constraints, or for solving some problem. This finding explores tradeoffs relating the choice of language to reusability of information. The "Rule of Least Power" suggests choosing the least powerful language suitable for a given purpose.

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