Structures of structures

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


Thinking about media

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

Olivetti Programma 101

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

LR(k) Parser

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