I did quite a bit of programming in BASIC, much more in C/C++ and Java in college. I did a bit of multidimensional work using arrays and dynamic links (forget the actual name of the data structure now). I had a prof in college that was a huge APL and could do massive array operations in single instructions. I worked with him some on some graphics type programs and music/computer interface programs.
I will need to grab Wolfram's new book and read the chapter you recommended. I will get back to you! Thanks for the awesome thread! (I'm such a nerd.)
I love talking to my fellow nerds. I've looked at the syntax of C and I like it. It appeals to me with its minimalism. It was made by a man with an anarchist attitude. He didn't want to impose on programmers. I respect this. But then I also respect Wirth, the inventor of Pascal. Pascal is a beautiful little language. Of course I should really just say that structured programming is likable, for Pascal is just one example.
Of course I will always be fond of BASIC, because I can remember those first videos games conceived and created by yours truly. Not that they were especially sublime, but I built them from scratch. And that felt pretty good, especially at 11. My first was a sort of Choose Your Own Adventure game. Quite simple as far as programming goes. It's messing with those text graphics that made things exciting. A man can go far on if, goto, and arrays, yes? Of course goto is mentioned for its essence, not as an ideal way to loop...but rather as looping reduced to lowest terms.
I suspect you have more training than I do, as most of mine was high school. A little VB in tech school, but the class moved at a snail's pace. I was hired as a tutor, but it really wasn't much of an accomplishment. The Visual languages do so much work for you, of course, leaving only the logical bits. I guess this is nice, but it's sort of castrating. You are forced to play nice with Windows. If I had all the time in the world, I would learn machine language on some old chip. I would also like to have the skill to write a compiler and from there invent my own high level language. Ah, there's too much worth doing. I've got many crazy game ideas, as well, but one must choose choose choose.
I was reading Knuth about random algorithms. Apparently in some cases, randomness is the superior approach. Now that
was entirely new to me. Erdos apparently is connected to this. Knuth would use randomness to grade papers, and also to explore the Bible, as he is a man of openminded faith. (You might be interested in his 3:16 project).
My latest programming fantasy was a 3-dimensional ecosystem in which simple animals move, feed, breed, and die. Maybe I would define them with an array of seven attributes, and with each reproduction there would be the small chance of mutation. One could make a little synthetic world and let them loose, the big and the small, the fast and slow. Run it for a million moves and see how the creatures have evolved. I feel that it's certainly doable. The time element would be tricky. You would probably need an array that included every single organism, and move them from 1 to n, one at a time. Seems to me that true "continuity" is impossible here. Of course I am reminded of the movie theater (I once worked as a projectionist) and of how convincing 24 frames per second is.
One last thing. I was reading CS Pierce and he mentioned the individual rods and cones of the eye, and how continuity is cooked up from this. It was a point I had never thought of. Even our human eyes are digital.