computer science jargon from the past

How old do you think these two phrases sound? “Reified void” “Access denied” (Hint: They are older than they sound to a computer nerd.) They sound like 21st-century computer jargon, but they both happen to predate even the 20th century. I told Chuar that he was a great traveler, and that I knew of two other great travelers among the seers of the East, one by the name of Hegel, and another by the name of Spencer, and that I should ever remember these three wise men, who spoke...

Tuesday, October 13, 2015 | General | Read More

two thoughts about career excellence

I love Dickens, warts and all. Sometimes he is sententious, and (like the mediocre modern I am) at such points I am willing to listen non-ironically. This bit here struck me hard enough to stop and write it down: I mean a man whose hopes and aims may sometimes lie (as most men's sometimes do, I dare say) above the ordinary level, but to whom the ordinary level will be high enough after all if it should prove to be a way of usefulness and good service leading to no other. All...

Thursday, June 5, 2014 | General | Read More

value types in the vm, infant edition

A number of folks have been working hard for months on a credible proposal for value types in the VM. I am happy to announce that we have made our first public posting, with many concrete recommendations. Enjoy: State of the Values, April 2014: Infant Edition And remember, Codes like a class, works like an int!

Thursday, May 1, 2014 | JVM | Read More

the isthmus in the VM

This is a good time to consider new options for a “native interconnect” between code managed by the JVM and APIs for libraries not managed by the JVM. Notably, Charles Nutter has followed up on his JVM Language Summit talk (video on this page) by proposing JEP 191, to provide a new foreign function interface for Java. To access native data formats (and/or native-like ones inside the JVM), there are several projects under way including David Chase’s data layout package,Marcel...

Tuesday, March 18, 2014 | JVM | Read More

value types and struct tearing

This note explains how a notion of “value types” for the VM should protect the integrity of that value type’s invariants, and points out important differences, in memory effects, between “struct-like” and “persistent” designs for values. First, the running example Consider this two-variable data structure, a pair of encapsulated integral coordinates, with a couple of access functions: class XY { private int x = 1, y = 0; public XY() { } // make a blank one public boolean...

Thursday, March 6, 2014 | JVM | Read More

celestial harmony

Listening to music helps me concentrate at work. Music with words is too distracting, but all kinds of classical and jazz works for me, as well as various kinds of atmospheric sounds, natural or constructed. Lately I’ve been enjoying audio transcriptions of electromagnetic field measurements taken by NASA’s Voyager probe, which I got from iTunes. (My son David, who has a degree in psychoacoustics, turned me on to this.) As has often been noted,the sounds of space are...

Friday, May 25, 2012 | Personal | Read More

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