Stefan Fehrenbach

People really want provenance. I keep failing at coming up with good examples. So maybe I should keep a record.

Today’s iteration: Dan Piponi wants to know why pixels look like they do:

Working on Atari 2600 emulator. Adding feature I’ve wanted on every platform: click on pixel to get explanation for why it looks like that.

I don’t know anything about Atari 2600 graphics, but he says that dumping the TIA registers and timing information should be enough. This is not obviously one of the forms of provenance studied in the context of databases. I’m not even sure (emulator-) language-level provenance would necessarily help very much with implementing this.

As in, provenance in the object language is at a different level from provenance in the meta language. The object language being the interface of the emulator (where you click on pixels). From the meta language viewpoint, it is data that you want to propagate, pretty much like any other data. What could language-support for provenance possibly provide over just pairing up pixels with their associated ITA register values?

So does that mean that people do not want provenance support in their language after all?