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Post-impressionist programming

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  • Gilad Ben-Yossef
    Just got this on some other mailing list: ;-) Translated from the Memoirs of Jean Turing-VonNeuman
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 14, 2000
      Just got this on some other mailing list: ;-)

      <> Translated from the Memoirs of
      <> Jean Turing-VonNeuman
      <> A minor 19th century post-impressionist programmer
      <> I will never forget that Spring, that day. Paris had an air of
      <> revolution. The week before an exhibition of Seurat's listings had
      <> caused a sensation. In his unrelenting quest for simplicity he had
      <> reduced all of programming to three machine instructions. The
      <> resulting 6,000 line bubble sort had shocked the critics.
      <> My own recent efforts had been received poorly. I had cut and
      <> slashed through my programs, juxtaposing blocks of code in a way
      <> that exposed the underlying intensity of the algorithm without
      <> regard to convention or syntax.
      <> "But it doesn't compile," they complained.
      <> As if programming was about adhering to their primitive language
      <> definitions.
      <> As if it was my duty to live within the limits of their antiquated
      <> and ordinary compilers.
      <> So it was that I came that day to La Boite Bleue, seeking solace
      <> and companionship.
      <> La Boite Bleue was where we gathered in those days. The wine there
      <> was cheap, the tables were large and they kept a complete set of
      <> language manuals behind the bar.
      <> As I entered I heard Henri's measured accents above the din.
      <> "...that complexity is not the salient characteristic of exemplary
      <> style."
      <> Toulouse-Lautrec was seated at a table spread with greenbar.
      <> Manet, redfaced, loomed over him.
      <> "Damm your recursion, Henri. Iteration, however complex, is always
      <> more efficient."
      <> Manet stormed away from the table in the direction of the bar. He
      <> always seemed angry at that time. Partly because his refusal to
      <> write in anything but FORTRAN isolated him from the rest of the
      <> Avant-Guarde, partly because people kept confusing him with Monet.
      <> Henri motioned to me to join him at the table.
      <> "Have you heard from Vincent recently?"
      <> We were all concerned about Van Gogh. Only a few days before he
      <> had completed an order in sorting routine that required no
      <> additional memory.
      <> Unfortunately, because he had written it in C and refused, on
      <> principle, to comment his code, no one had understood a line of it.
      <> He had not taken it well.
      <> "No. Why?", I replied.
      <> "He and Gaugin had a violent argument last night over whether a
      <> side effect should be considered output and he hasn't been seen
      <> since. I fear he may have done something ... rash."
      <> We were suddenly interrupted by the waitress's terrified scream. I
      <> turned in time to see something fall from the open envelope she
      <> held in her hand. Stooping to retrieve it, I was seized by a wave
      <> of revulsion as I recognized that the object in my hand, bestially
      <> torn from its accustomed place, was the mouse from Van Gogh's
      <> workstation. The waitress, who had fainted, lay in an unnoticed
      <> heap beside me.
      <> By the evening, the incident had become the talk of Paris.
      Gilad Ben-Yossef <gby@...>
      http://kagoor.com | +972(9)9565333 x230 | +972(54)756701
      "I've been seduced by the chocolate side of the force."
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