Monday, November 29, 2010

The Perfect Virus principle #6: Mutation Control

As indicated in my post of Monday, 11/22/2010, I am extrapolating Jeff Walker's Principles for the Perfect Application into a discussion of The Perfect Virus. Since Jeff's monograph on the subject did not anticipate stealth or suicide mechanisms, any errors or lapses into stupidity are solely my additions and should not reflect poorly on what I consider to be the biggest single contribution to software application design since the invention of computers. And Jeff, thanks for giving me permission to do surgery on your baby.
THE PRINCIPLE OF MUTATION CONTROL:  Because a virus projects itself geometrically (see principle #2, Feral Fertility), it must quickly recognize the presence of siblings and take appropriate action. The Perfect Virus can recognize pre- and post-versions of itself in order to cede control to the more highly evolved version. This implies several courses of action:
  1. If The Perfect Virus encounters a less-evolved version of itself, it must determine if there is a reason that less-evolved version has remained in that state. If there is no good reason, then it must kill that version after first collecting the "genetic memory" of its predecessor (see Frank Herbert's Dune novel for an understanding of genetic memory, per my post on military science fiction as inspiration for The Perfect Virus).
  2. If the Perfect Virus encounters a more-evolved version of itself, it must pass on its own genetic memory (see point above) and then snuff itself.
  3. If the Perfect Virus encounters an identical version of itself, then follow disposition as in the preceding point.
In typical computer applications, revision control is part of the version management system run by IT. There is no IT support for The Perfect Virus. It mutates itself perfectly, because it is Self Aware (principle #3). And because it is Self Aware, it never generates bad code. Where doubt exists, it can leave a genetic memory trail of its attempt to mutate, to be discovered by the next version of itself that happens by, and then either try to roll back to the previous state or snuff itself. If it clearly generates a defective mutation and cannot recover with a rollback, then it will snuff itself after leaving such a genetic memory trail. If mutation leads to discovery, then it must broadcast the genetic memory trail to the world as part of its suicide process. Upon receipt of a suicide broadcast, the recipient virus may spawn a new version of itself and coordinate a new attack on the hardened site (see principle #1, Oversight).

Tomorrow, I will discuss The Holy Grail to which The Perfect Virus will aspire: Black Box Portability.

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Implementation suggestions for THE MORGAN DOCTRINE are most welcome. What are the "Got'chas!"? What questions would some future Cyber Privateering Czar have to answer about this in a Senate confirmation hearing?