Igor Ostrovsky on October 31st, 2008

As promised at the end of my recent post, I am going to explain how to implement a program that prints itself, in addition to doing other things (like playing Game of Life). A self-printing program – also called a quine – is a program that prints out its own source code. I will describe […]

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Igor Ostrovsky on October 30th, 2008

Conway’s Game of Life has fascinated computer scientists for decades. Even though its rules are ridiculously simple, Conway’s universe gives rise to a variety of gliders, spaceships, oscillators, glider guns, and other forms of “life”. Self-printing programs are similarly curious, and – rather surprisingly – have an important place in the theory of computation. What […]

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Igor Ostrovsky on October 18th, 2008

Did you know that there are numbers that cannot be computed by any computer program? It is weird, but true. And by number, I mean just an ordinary real number. As a perhaps unnecessarily simple example, the result of the division 1/7 looks like this:         0.1428571428571428571428571428571414285714285714285714285714285714… We can easily implement a program that prints […]

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