31 July 2016
Brian Hayes gives us a show-and-tell introduction to the Julia programming language an interesting language but not something I'm likely to need in my day job (although my colleagues Nick and Stephen might be interested). One of his peeves is that the compiler does not perform tail-call recursion. Hayes demonstrates why that's a useful feature, and gives an easy example that you could you with any programming language and its ecosystem to detect whether the compiler performs this helpful optimization. However, reading Hayes as a fairly-well indoctrinated O-O programmer, I confess that he lost me when he describes the distinction between multiple dispatch and OOP.
01 July 2016
Michael D. Gordin reviews How Not to Network a Nation: The Uneasy History of the Soviet Internet, by Benjamin Peters.
... Peters finds six different proposals to develop an 'all-union' computer network. This stands to reason, given what he calls “the outsized infrastructural imagination of Soviet planners”, who liked their projects big and utopian — think the space programme, dams and nuclear power.