There's a French philosopher, Louis Althusser, who once posited a theory of structural determination. What he meant by that, minus a whole lot of pretty complicated elaboration, is that there are phenomena which make no sense unless you observe them as parts of a structure. To use a pretty crude instance, a mad dash for … Continue reading Structures of structures
In today's age of fake news and fake reversals of fake news, you might find it worthwhile to see what others have thought about media. It starts predictably with the question what a medium actually is. For instance, a lot of people would agree that TV and radio are media. They mediate between a sender, … Continue reading Thinking about media
The world's first "commercially programmable 'desktop computer'" (Wikipedia), is an Italian model from 1965: the Olivetti Programma 101. Programmable in an assembly language, it had an arithmetic logic unit capable of adding, subtracting, multiplying, dividing, drawing square roots, and generating absolute values and fractions. What is more, it had a total of thirty-two JUMPs (sixteen … Continue reading Olivetti Programma 101
There's an air around writing code directly at the assembler level. You have to have a certain intimacy with the machine on which you're working; what it does and how it does it. Then of course you have to know how to make use of that in turn - how to partition memories and allocate … Continue reading Why write assembly? (1981 edition)
No blog this week (8.) and next (15.). See you all when I'm back!
How far can you reduce the idea of a numbering system? You can, for example, reduce hexadecimal numbers into decimal numbers, making them - by our standards - more handy and easier to deal with. (For an ancient Babylonian, the opposite would be true.) You can also reduce decimal numbers to octal ones, as they … Continue reading Unary numbers
Another important element of parsing is the evaluation of arithmetic weighting. You know this from school: multiplications are executed before additions and divisions before subtractions; x-to-the-power-of-y has precedence over multiplications and subtractions alike; and if it's in brackets, you solve it first. For a parser just as for you, this is something that needs to … Continue reading LR(k) Parser