Saturday, February 26, 2011

Programmers Anonymous notes, 10


Unevenly Distributed: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The @, history and reflection on 8-bit rogue-like games. Also see Sword of Fargoal -- addictive dungeon crawler for iOS.


Jacob is self-assigned to fixing the syntax in the Wikipedia automata theory page. His internal compiler naturally picks out the non-standard elements in standards based encyclopediae:
In theoretical computer science, automata theory is the study of abstract machines (or more appropriately, abstract 'mathematical' machines or systems) and the computational problems that can be solved using these machines. These abstract machines are called automata.
I am pleased as punch that I was able explain the relevance of finite state machines to programming. I drew one on the board, and Secnarf ran the machine (on her brain) on a word (program), producing the appropriate compiler error (rejection of the input word, and localizing the pointer to the appropriate memory location). Funny how computer programming is approached first using very difficult problems, making complex programs, to very simple problems, short finite state machines. It is not an easy path to understanding.

In C and C++, the tilde grapheme, "~", is the bitwise NOT operator.

We tinkered with the pegboard virtual game GLIQ (, see two posts ago) and started making modifications to construct virtual dice that somehow include dinosaur sound effects.

We talked about rolling virtual dice and wrap-around in both dimensions, 3-D dice on a 4-D toroidal manifold, represented on a 2-D finite window! I'm inclined to name our program Misner Dice, after Griffin's c = c + 1 comic, Misner a reference to Misner space.

We also talked about 32 and 128 bit IP addresses, with respect to xkcd: Nanobots. I think Griffin's comic wins the nerdy obscure humor cake.

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