‘Code Poems’, code as art

March 3rd, 2012 § Comments Off on ‘Code Poems’, code as art § permalink

I am always interested in ‘arty’ aspects of creative professions – when does design or architecture become art, why couldn’t entrepreneurship be considered art etc. code and software engineering can be beautiful as well, so this project si really wonderful:

Creative Project Invites Developers to Write ‘Code Poems’

Artist and engineer Ishac Bertran has launched a project that invites people to submit poetry written in any coding language. These code poems will be considered for publication in a book. A code poem is simply a poem written in any programming language including C++, HTML, C#, SQL, Objective C, Applescript and Java.

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via: www.wired.com

i’m just a bit sad that there are no inspirational examples on the site yet, so I feel obliged to write about some cases where I have recognized ‘beauty’ in code before:

  • obfuscated JAPH snippets are mind-boggling in sometimes very profound ways. my absolutely favorite is this piece of code, that uses only reserved words to print out “just another perl hacker” when run:
not exp log srand xor s qq qx xor
s x x length uc ord and print chr
ord for qw q join use sub tied qx
xor eval xor print qq q q xor int
eval lc q m cos and print chr ord
for qw y abs ne open tied hex exp
ref y m xor scalar srand print qq
q q xor int eval lc qq y sqrt cos
and print chr ord for qw x printf
each return local x y or print qq
s s and eval q s undef or oct xor
time xor ref print chr int ord lc
foreach qw y hex alarm chdir kill
exec return y s gt sin sort split
English: Program in the Piet programming langu...

This image is a program code!

  • esoteric programming languages, like brainfuck, are awesome, but Piet is the king of them all. I guess it’s not surprising that you can write a program code as a picture, but after you see it in action, it still give a sense of profound connection between digital and organic world.
  • and lastly some blatant self-promotion – two years ago I started an online unicode art gallery, čšž.si, where I try to use only html/css/javascript basics to present the wealth of worlds languages and scripts, and where every ‘gallery piece’ displays it’s own source code.
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Future of semantic web

November 17th, 2007 § Comments Off on Future of semantic web § permalink

imageWorking with web technologies, one cannot escape all the hype being built up around semantic technologies, Powerset, CYC, natural language technologies in general. We have more or less gotten used to this set of fancy new buzzword compliant companies raising obscene amounts of dollars for products, I personally believe are unachievable and are bound to dissapoint a whole generation of users.

These guys are making a dangerous bet, that they will be able to formally describe the world in a rational structure of well defined entities and relations. This sounds incredibly similar to what the structuralists were claiming 40 years ago, and failed.

These guys are smart, they recognized that top-bottom approach to building an ontology of the world will fail, so they bet everything on understanding natural language and deducing the meaning of the message with help of grammar as a translation layer for their rational representation. Their bet is, that the natural language grammar is rational enough, that they can follow it’s structures and translate them into mashine-readable format. 100 yars ago Wittgenstein and de Saussure started a movement around premisses like these, but unlike these contemporary nerds, they knew what their objectives and limits were. Wittgenstein described formal relation beetween language and mind, Saussure practical one. None of them was prudent enough to think he could invent the sense of the world.

The sense of the message is encoded into the context surrounding the individual words, not into their grammatical relations. Or better said, there is a substantial amount of sensful information that cannot be recognized using rational analysis, because language is not a rational structure. Human beings learn to communicate with observation and repeating after other. To know a language is mainly about interpolating it from the aggregated behavior of others. The interpolation is done according to ‘rules’ deSaussure and structural linguistics recognized, and has logical limits Wittgenstein and logical positivismus described. Actual ‘grammatical’ rules are the result of each individuals constantly growing interpolation and are never fixed. The message is always ‘in-between’ words and language rules, simply because humans don’t relly on language rules in order to tranfer the message, but rather adapt to current receiver’s language code.

Anyway, main reason for writing this article was seeing Powerset demo, with handpicked use cases, none of which worked. And some computer scientists around me simply wouldn’t accept the fact, that philosophy has already tried and abandoned the hope of rationally sorting out the world. And the only true power of computers lies in the abbility to crunch numbers at a scale so large, that the practical statistical analisys starts to give usefull results. Statistics is just like interpolation, and preserves the human approach to content; while logical deduction simply doesn’t have the infromations avaliable, on which it could reliably run. So it tends to take wrong turns and end up on entirel wrong part of the tree.

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