[IAEP] Turtles All The Way Down

C. Scott Ananian cscott at laptop.org
Sat May 21 19:22:01 EDT 2011

I'm familiar with the processors designed for specific high-level
languages.  There was another generation of them built for Java
(microblaze, picoblaze, etc) and some of those are even still
commercially significant (they run Java subsets on smart cards).

I'm not terribly interested in those processors.

More in tune with the "turles all the way down" agenda is the work
done on compiling high level languages to hardware. It's not that the
hardware chipset runs turtlescript (that's not really giving you any
additional insight into the operation of the hardware), but that the
hardware is *described* in turtlescript.  I've made some modest
contributions to this in the distant past

That said, there is *zero* chance that this work will result in
hardware suitable for the kids we care about.  So let's stop talking
about it.

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

Let's find out.

I've written almost 4,000 lines of code in my "tile based language" so
far.  So far I've been typing it.  I hope to leave the keyboard behind
soon.  And then we'll see whether I agree with you or not.

      ( http://cscott.net )

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