Microspeak: to reason over


Today's Microspeak is the phrase reason over.

This API allows you to reason over the objects and relationships contained in the schema model generated by DACFx.

To get value out of that data, we must be able to reason over it, tap into processing power to quickly analyze it and accelerate the insights.

COMObject may be imported via tlbimp in which case they have some static type information that can be used to reason over them.

Write location-aware rules to reason over geographic data of entities and events.

To reason over something is to be able to make programmatic decisions about them, usually to produce a higher-level result.

For example, if you have a bunch of digital photos and you can obtain the date the photo was taken, then you can reason over the photos and do simple things like sort them chronologically, or more complex things like look for date clustering and attempt to infer events. If you also had location information, you could reason more confidently over the photos to identify photos taken at the same event.

Comments (13)
  1. DWalker07 says:

    But an API can't reason over anything! That's a horrible redefinition of a perfectly fine word.

    1. Simon Clarkstone says:

      a horrible redefinition of a perfectly fine word

      Are you are new the the Microspeak series? :-)

    2. The API doesn't reason over things. The API allows you to reason over things. In other words, the API provides information. You use that information to make higher-order decisions.

      1. DWalker07 says:

        I get it! Still.... enjoy the Microspeak series!

  2. Ken Hagan says:

    "Learn about" ?

    "Reason over" isn't even less typing. :(

    1. Brian says:

      You obviously never worked at Microsoft :-).

    2. Scarlet Manuka says:

      "Learn about" is less accurate. To learn about something implies that what you learn is true (and also has a connotation of receiving an answer from an external source of truth rather than finding it on your own), while reasoning about it may lead you to an incorrect conclusion. Really what we're talking about simply seems to be inductive reasoning, so "reason over" is a pretty good shorthand for it in my opinion.

  3. Tim! says:

    It feels like there's an implication of a collection here: i.e. you couldn't reason over a rock, but you could reason over a rockslide.

    1. Scarlet Manuka says:

      You can't do much analysis from a single data point.

  4. xcomcmdr says:

    I replaced "reason over" with "make decisions about" in every sentence and it was then not Microspeak but correct English.

    Magic !

    1. Muzer says:

      Correct English, but not correctly capturing the original meaning.

      1. morlamweb says:

        I'll take "correct" and understandable English over the nonsense of "reason over" any day, even if some of the finer points of the Microspeak phrase get lost in translation.

        What part of "to reason over" is not captured in "make decisions about"?

      2. Joe says:

        Seems to me that there isn't one original meaning, but four slightly different meanings which are ambiguous.

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