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hpr0926 :: Heresies in the year of the apocalypse ep 1 - computer languages

Thoughts about the evolution of high-level languages from machine language

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Hosted by MrGadgets on 2012-02-20 is flagged as Explicit and is released under a CC-BY-SA license.
machine code, assembly language, Grace Hopper, COBOL, debugging, C, Python, Perl, Vala. 5.
The show is available on the Internet Archive at:

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Duration: 00:31:57


Mr Gadgets calls in Apocalyptic year 2012 where he discusses Assembler, COBOL and Grace Hopper


Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper (December 9, 1906 – January 1, 1992) was an American computer scientist and United States Navy officer. A pioneer in the field, she was one of the first programmers of the Harvard Mark I computer, and developed the first compiler for a computer programming language. She conceptualized the idea of machine-independent programming languages, which led to the development of COBOL, one of the first modern programming languages. She is credited with popularizing the term "debugging" for fixing computer glitches (motivated by an actual moth removed from the computer). Because of the breadth of her accomplishments and her naval rank, she is sometimes referred to as "Amazing Grace." The U.S. Navy destroyer USS Hopper (DDG-70) was named for her, as was the Cray XE6 "Hopper" supercomputer at NERSC.


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Comment #1 posted on 2012-02-20 20:22:39 by Stephen

same opinion on perl vs python

I have the same kind of attitude toward Perl. I appreciate its power and ubiquity, but for me as a *learner* the whole "there's more than one way to do it" approach is a big turn-off. Hence I too have steered more toward Python as a preferred scripting language.

Comment #2 posted on 2012-02-21 19:00:42 by Paul Perkins

Why (still) C and Python?

I, too, went through a “C” phase and have ended up using Python. I looked at Perl and said “yuck!” And I looked at Genie and concluded that the lack of libraries and documentation ruled it out. I think I know the answer to your “heretical” question, “why are we not all using a language that is as efficient to run as C and as efficient to write as Python?”: It is a lot harder than it looks. Python (specifically CPython) looks terrible in benchmarks, but for many real applications it is slower than C, but not enough slower to matter. Also, lots of smart people have tackled the problem from lots of different directions (C++, OCaml, Java, Unladen Sparrow, etc.) with limited success so far. And change is slow just because being an early adopter of a language is expensive, and being a late abandoner is even more expensive. But take a look at the PyPy project and the “RPython” language.

Comment #3 posted on 2012-02-22 15:14:32 by diablomarcus

Intermediate compiler

For all the flack that Perl gets, it does precompile down to simpler language and then that is run on the fly. Sounds just like what you were recommending

Comment #4 posted on 2012-02-22 19:00:57 by Deltaray

Do you actually want people to listen?

I stopped listening at about 15 mintues due to the cans and bottles. Calling in a show is ok, but trying to make it somehow sound "cool" by doing it while making a bunch of noise IMHO is not so good.

Comment #5 posted on 2012-03-08 21:53:28 by Xoke

Compiling and compiling

Python -> C -> Assembly.

In short yes you can. But no-one would.

When you compile it drops any comments you have and change variable names and can do other things, so you would then have this mass of code that is VERY unreadable. If you are good enough to read that and make any tweaks you simple would code in that language as lower languages gives you much more control.

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