[IAEP] Turtles All The Way Down

mokurai at earthtreasury.org mokurai at earthtreasury.org
Sat May 21 17:41:59 EDT 2011

On Fri, May 20, 2011 9:32 pm, Gonzalo Odiard wrote:
> "The question is: does this really have educational value? "Turtles all
> the
> way down" is a great slogan, and a fine way to teach a graduate-level
> class
> on compiler technology,


* The Anatomy of LISP, by John Allen, and LISP machines, for LISP all the
way down to the hardware.


A Formal Description of System\360, by Adin Falkoff

in the original pre-APL Iverson Notation, and Digital Systems: Hardware
Organization and Design, by Frederick J. Hill & Gerald R. Peterson

for APL all the way down, also to the hardware. Specifically AHPL, A
Hardware Programming Language.

* SOAR (Smalltalk on a RISC) at UC Berkeley for Smalltalk all the way down
to the hardware.

* FORTH microprocessors such as Forth Multiprocessor Chip MuP21


I would be interested to know of any other examples of hardware
implementation of a programming language. (Not the Algol-optimized and
COBOL-optimized Burroughs machines; real hardware implementations.)

> but I feel that the higher-level UI for tile-based
> program editing is the really useful thing for tablet computing. I'm a
> compiler geek and love the grungy underbelly of this stuff, but I keep
> reminding myself I should really be spending more time building a
> beautiful
> fluffy surface."

I once used a tile-based UI in a commercial database program. It was
horrible once we got past the toy examples.

> You are doing the right question
> I remember here "No silver bullet" [1]
> Different languages, different levels of abstraction, need different
> interfaces, and text is powerfull interface. May be is not the best
> interface to start to program, but surely graphic block are not the best
> interface to do programs of more than 400 of blocks.

Of course. I would say that perhaps 40 or 50 blocks is a reasonable limit.
After that, you should be writing subroutines to go in Python blocks, and
not very long after transition to pure Python.

> Gonzalo
> [1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_Silver_Bullet
> On Fri, May 20, 2011 at 10:30 AM, C. Scott Ananian
> <cscott at laptop.org>wrote:
>> I've done a little more work on "Turtles All The Way Down", which I
>> (very briefly) discussed at EduJam.  I actually wrote a garbage
>> collector in TurtleScript for TurtleScript on Sunday.  Brief writeup
>> here:
>>   http://cananian.livejournal.com/64140.html
>> and exhaustive mind-numbing detail here:
>>   http://cscott.net/Projects/TurtleScript/
>> No actual turtles yet!  I'm going to have to fix that soon.
>>  --scott
>> --
>>       ( http://cscott.net )
>> _______________________________________________
>> IAEP -- It's An Education Project (not a laptop project!)
>> IAEP at lists.sugarlabs.org
>> http://lists.sugarlabs.org/listinfo/iaep
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Edward Mokurai
ج) Cherlin
Silent Thunder is my name, and Children are my nation.
The Cosmos is my dwelling place, the Truth my destination.

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