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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Hofstadter's Law

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Hofstadter's Law is a self-referencing time-related adage, coined by Douglas Hofstadter and named by himself. The law states:

"It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take Hofstadter's Law into account".

—Douglas Hofstadter: Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid, 20th anniversary ed., 1999, p. 152. ISBN 0-465-02656-7

Hofstadter's Law was a part of Douglas Hofstadter's 1979 magnum opus Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid. It is often cited among programmers, especially in discussions of techniques to improve productivity, such as The Mythical Man-Month or Extreme Programming.

Hofstadter's Law is a statement of the difficulty of accurately estimating the amount of time it will take to complete tasks of any substantial complexity.

Hofstadter's Law is infinitely recursive in nature (i.e., it calls itself by reference), as it has no terminal condition or case. That is, even after one has taken Hofstadter's Law into account, by Hofstadter's Law one must still apply Hofstadter's Law, and so on.

Projectsteps Note: This makes sense to me especially when estimating software development projects. Comments?

1 comment:

Gautam Beri said...

I am computer programmer and seems like Hofstadter's law hasnt been true all the time for me. So i disagree with it.