talking to machines ::: geppetto's workshop

duluth quantum computing project

  1. reading list
  2. discussion
  3. dqcp topic list

reading list

background

artist @ work

discussion

in process ...

We use technology to manifest visions : metaphors. In turn, technology infuses our dream life with new forms and possibilities. Tools help us do things : they extend our bodies' potential. Early computing machines were used to count : to add : to record (to remember).

counting : arithmetic : memory : sorting : the census
arithmetic : calculus : calculating projectiles
maps : transects : time : navigation : calendars
iterating : translating : transforming : encoding : encrypting : decoding

The genesis of modern computing lies in long-ago, far-away concepts that were at once both simple & profoundly insightful.
< ::: Look past the surface ::: >
The origin stories of today's digital world reflect the gorgeous creativity of the human mind.

The computability of a complex problem lies in its ability to be broken down into small, stand-alone calculations that can be strung together in a larger pipeline : a sequence of steps that will lead to the larger solution.

digits
counting
adding machines
thought machines

hands : digits
abacus : loom
memory : love
electricity : 0 & 1 : binary landscapes

In the beginning :::

Decomposing complex problems into computable parts ::: into intersecting gears is key to our ability to mechanize logical processes.The Difference engine and the Analytical Engine were analogue forerunners of our modern computer. They were inspired by the mechanized Jacquard loom which used punch cards to control the patterns of the loom's weave. The hardware ::: the complex mechanical machinery existed in the imagination of Charles Babbage. He struggled to implement his ideas for these machines from the 1820s until he died in 1871. The full potential of the analytical engine came alive in the imagination of Ada Lovelace. She wrote extensive notes visioning applications for the engine. She is often considered the first programmer. She is credited with writing a first algorithm to be performed by machine.

Grappling with the concept of computability continues into the twentieth century. One of the major players : a key figure in the birth of the modern computer age was a man named Alan Turing.

Gepetto's workshop :::

Turing was in many ways inspired by love ::: he was on a quest to re-create Christopher Molcom's mind.

Turing was interested in more than mathematical calculations ::: he wondered whether computers could actually think. There is a sense of the Pinocchio ::: the quest to create a real being in the machine. The computer mirrors us ::: speaks to us ::: remembers us. It gently surveils us ::: memorizes our fingerprints, our irises, our paths, our intimate datasets. It transmits out information ::: we imprint the world ::: our digital cave drawings ::: the tomb of data < ººº Say my name ::: talk to me ººº >.

The first computers were large and very expensive. Programming was a complex exercise in wiring. Coders talked very directly to the flow of currents. They directed flows ::: created circuits. They were wizards of the binary ::: electricity conductors. They had only switches ::: zer0 ::: øne ::: true ::: false ::: on || off.

Talking to the computing machines was often the responsibility of women ::: (the women of the ENIAC). To expand the community of machine talkers past the very few, a more human language interface was needed. This in turn led to the development of interpreter layers that could bridge between machine & more abstracted, human-readable code languages ::: Grace Hopper: The Queen of Code

more soon ...

hierarchical file systems ::: bell labs => > The UNIX Operating System (old video ::: go to 5 minutes - a little after 15 min)

(add in a section about unix core code commands & pipelines)

This is a manifesto of sorts ::: in favor of slow code : distilled, simple code. Code that relies on open-source community syntax. Code that is a literature : a poetry. Code that is accessible.

Looms ::: Spider spinning ...
The intimacy of fingers touching glass
Aladdin's lamp : rubbing glass
Fiber optics ::: the cyborg body
The fragile electric body

Let's linger …. in that space : that time before :::

before everything looked like an e-commerce site : before everything looked like a Microsoft product : before everything was an iphone app : before code was locked away into proprietary platforms and vendor-ruled gated communities : before that.

=> >> de-mystify / re-mystify this space.

topic list