Sunday, January 27, 2008

Hello, world!

Hello, World! And welcome to Computronium.

In this forum I’ll be talking about things that thrill my brain. Mostly, as the name implies, it’ll be about computing, especially the recreational variety, but I’ll be taking brief interludes into math, physics, astronomy, or whatever else strikes my fancy. I’ll be focusing on the bits that are just fun, or interesting, or beautiful to me. Hopefully they will be to you too.

I have met a number of people in my life who enjoy computer programming for its own sake. But there’s also people who think that anything created on a computer is inherently soulless, and that any art created on a computer is cold and robotic. I couldn’t disagree more. Art created on a computer is as human as the person who makes it. But the logic underneath too is beautiful in and of itself.

Though I’ll be presenting things that give me “intellectual” thrills, my goal will always be to simplify, and to explain clearly, without dressing things up in fancy language. I’ll be writing about what I know but also about what I don’t — things I’m curious about. So I’m counting on input from you all. Not everything I’ll be writing about will be deeply profound — some of the topics I’m pondering will require just a few sentences. But even in dusting off these old ideas that I’ve pondered before, I’ve come up with new ways of looking at them, as well as some completely new ideas. I’m sure, with the participation in this forum that I’m hoping for, there’ll be lots and lots of other things that come up.

So, the main topic: computing. Computers themselves are ghastly, I believe, BUT, they’re the only things that let you compute. We’ll not be arguing here the merits of Java versus C++, or talk much about the flavor du jour of software processes. I have preferences in these matters, of course, but the underlying algorithms are what really interest me. Some languages do indeed encourage you to look at problems in interesting ways, but for much of what I’ll be talking about, the choice of programming language is pretty much moot. And as far as process — while I’m totally convinced of the necessity of good software practices, I don’t find a lot of joy in talking about it.


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