It is my pleasure to announce the new and improved Programming languages Zoo, a potpourri of miniature but fully functioning programming language implementations. The new zoo has a decent web site, it is now hosted on GitHub, and the source code was cleaned up. Many thanks to Matija Pretnar for all the work.
The purpose of the zoo is to demonstrate design and implementation techniques, from dirty practical details to lofty theoretical considerations:
- functional, declarative, object-oriented, and procedural languages
- source code parsing with a parser generator
- recording of source code positions
- pretty-printing of values
- interactive shell (REPL) and non-interactive file processing
- untyped, statically and dynamically typed languages
- type checking and type inference
- subtyping, parametric polymorphism, and other kinds of type systems
- eager and lazy evaluation strategies
- recursive definitions
- interpreters and compilers
- abstract machine
There is still a lot of room for improvement and new languages. Contributions are welcome!
My student Marko Koležnik is about to finish his Master’s degree in Mathematics at the University of Ljubljana. He implemented Agda Writer, a graphical user interface for the Agda proof assistant on the OS X platform. As he puts it, the main advantage of Agda Writer is no Emacs, but the list of cool features is a bit longer:
- bundled Agda: it comes with preinstalled Agda so there is zero installation effort (of course, you can use your own Agda as well).
- UTF-8 keyboard shortcuts: it is super-easy to enter UTF-8 characters by typing their LaTeX names, just like in Emacs. It trumps Emacs by converting ASCII arrows to their UTF8 equivalents on the fly. In the preferences you can customize the long list of shortcuts to your liking.
- the usual features expected on OS X are all there: auto-completion, clickable error messages and goals, etc.
Agda Writer is open source. Everybody is welcome to help out and participate on the Agda Writer repository.
Who is Agda Writer for? Obviously for students, mathematicians, and other potential users who were not born with Emacs hard-wired into their brains. It is great for teaching Agda as you do not have to spend two weeks explaining Emacs. The only drawback is that it is limited to OS X. Someone should write equivalent Windows and Linux applications. Then perhaps proof assistants will have a chance of being more widely adopted.
I spoke at TEDx University of Ljubljana. The topic was how programming influences various aspects of life. I showed the audence how a bit of simple programming can reveal the beauty of mathematics. Taking John Baez’s The Bauty of Roots as an inspiration, I drew a very large image (20000 by 17500 pixels) of all roots of all polynomials of degree at most 26 whose coefficients are $-1$ or $1$. That’s 268.435.452 polynomials and 6.979.321.752 roots. It is two degrees more than Sam Derbyshire’s image, so consider the race to be on! Who can give me 30 degrees?
Continue reading TEDx “Zeroes”
A student of mine worked on a project to produce beautiful pictures of Costa’s minimal surface with the PovRay ray tracer. For this purpose she needed to triangulate the and compute normals to it at the vertices. It is not too hard to do the latter part, and the Internet offers several ways of doing it, but the normals are a bit tricky. If anyone can calculate them with paper and pencil I’d like to hear about it.
I went back to my undergraduate days when I actually did differential geometry and churned out the normals with Mathematica. It took a bit of work, kind advice from my colleague Pavle Saksida, and a pinch of black magic (to extract the Delaunay triangulation from Mathematica), so I thought I might as well publish the result at my GitHub costa-surface repository. The code is released into public domain. Have fun making pictures of Costa’s surface! Here is mine (deliberately non-fancy):
I spent a week trying to implement higher-order pattern unification. I looked at couple of PhD dissertations, talked to lots of smart people, and failed because the substitutions were just getting in the way all the time. So today we are going to bite the bullet and implement de Bruijn indices and explicit substitutions.
The code is available on Github in the repository andrejbauer/tt (the
Continue reading How to implement dependent type theory III