Types of Information

For a while, I've bought into an idea that some folks (like Dave Winer) have promulgated about information. They say that there are three ways to organize information: chronologically, tabular, and hierarchically. (Notably, project management software combines all three.)

It seems about right, though the description seems too facile. Right now, computers can have tables and hierarchies, but there's not much support for storing and querying collected time-interval data. Most time data are treated as "atoms," when, in reality, most time data is some kind of interval.

One other kind of information seems to be missing: indeterminacy. Quantum mechanics (a subject about which I know little) and fuzzy logic (again, don't know much) both deal with the fact that you don't really know the value of a measurement, until you also know how accurate your measurement is. In other words, you need to know how much confidence you have in your data; statistics and statistical methods (a class I didn't do well in) are important.

Given that computers today really handle only tabular and hierarchical data, and don't really deal with time data very well, I'm not holding my breath to see when indeterminacy will be worked in. (And given that I lack basic math skills to tackle the problem, I'm just hoping someone else is researching this.)