Complex vs Complicated

Just a quick reminder for myself

It is ok if something is complex so long as it is not complicated.

complex: composed of many interconnected parts; compound; composite

complicated: difficult to analyze or understand

Many problems require complexity to solve. Calculating the discounted value for a 30 year financial instrument using a predicted rate model with a monthly granularity requires a lot of work. You have to generate the rate model, calculate the cash flows from the instrument, then apply the discount to the flows. If this seems simple to you its because you understand the reasons behind each one of these steps.

I don’t think any problem requires ‘complicatedness’ in order to be solved. This is like the reoccuring geek joke, “Well we could call the RateManager and then send the results in a JSON document in an email to the InstumentClass that then faxes the … and finally a suite of monkeys types the result on your screen”. Does your problem need that kind of solution?

Anyways, nothing new, just a note to me.

Further Reading: http://christopherdeweese.com/christopherdeweese.com/blog/post/Complexity-Simplicity-and-Elegance.aspx

About Dru Sellers

Sr. Software Engineer at Dovetail Software.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.
  • http://blogs.msdn.com/alexj Alex James

    Yeap.

    While problems can be complicated, solutions should never be…

    Alex

  • Eyston

    http://www.python.org/dev/peps/pep-0020/

    Zen of Python:

    Simple is better than complex.
    Complex is better than complicated.