Fabian Kostadinov

Pile or Rhizome? A Short Pamphlet.

Erez Elul, whose honor it is to have “discovered” or “invented” the data structures I deliberately continue to call rhizomes, originally named his invention pile (or pile system). The relatively few authors (for instance Peter Krieg, Ralf Westphal, Ralf Barkow, Miriam Bedoni as well as others besides them), who both commented and contributed on the invention accepted this naming. I must say I never found the term particularly saying for several reasons.

Deleuze and Guattari use the term rhizome throughout their work, especially in their discussion of thought in "[A Thousand Plateaus](http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0816614024)." They argue that traditional thought is tree-like, in that it follows a linear pattern, branching off at various points. Rhizomes, taken from a kind of [root system](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhizome) found in nature, are non-linear, and non-hierarchical.

Rhizomes are thus a philosophically well described concept, and a corresponding theory in computer science could possibly profit from earlier work done by these post-structuralists.

Of course there is no ultimate truth in either name choice, and there are good reasons to stick to the customary term pile.

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