Java’s Terseness

2020-04-22, post № 228

Java, programming, #anti-pattern, #anti-patternism

Whilst pondering the lost control one has over pastebin posts as a guest; the inability to remove a text one has published themselves and the entailed virtually temporally unbounded availability to anyone of this text, I decided to look at pastebin’s “archive” site — a chronologically sorted collection of the most recent public pastebin posts.

One interesting post was titled Filter — Stringrid — Delphi and appears to be a Delphi program with German comments accomplishing some two-dimensional array manipulation task.

However, when looking further down the archive, a post published around two minutes earlier caught my attention — exmp1 [1]. This innocuously titled Java source file upon closer contains inspection an impressive 𝟥𝟦𝟫 lines of code. Now, source files of such a line count are not unreasonable (especially when writing Java), however it is not the typical size of an example — as this paste’s title suggests.
Thus, I decided to read it to know what it is meant to accomplish and how it is written — the source’s line count is highly misleading regarding its functionality.

Colorful Time Prompt in zsh

2020-04-18, post № 227

programming, #customization, #prompt, #zsh

I have been using zsh for a while now, and whilst I like its minimalistic approach, I felt that my prompt lacked a certain graphical oomph.
Thus, I built what most graphical environments hide away at the screen’s corner directly into the prompt — a clock. Paired with a time-sensitive rainbow color scheme, I find the result quite visually pleasing.

If you want to try out my prompt, the following installer automatically downloads jprompt.c, compiles it and asks if .zshrc should be set up to load my prompt.
Since jblog has moved, the below script might not work.

% curl --silent https://www.jfrech.com/jblog/post227/install.zsh | zsh


2020-03-21, post № 226

programming, Zpr'(h, #esolang

I have designed and implemented a new esoteric programming language called Zpr’(h. It is a language built upon iterated symbolic pattern matching, requiring the user to define their own semantics and interpreting them as computations.
Whilst developing Zpr’(h, I implemented a rudimentary standard library, defining semantics for natural numbers, mappings, lists and logic. Furthermore, I used these semantics to define a lazy computation of all prime numbers — albeit executing at a rather slow pace.
Having finalized the language’s specifications I began investigating its computational bounds. After all, testing primality is a primitive recursive relation. Thus, it a priori is not even clear if Zpr’(h is Turing complete — a useful feature for a programming language to have.

Pondering this question, I thought about how to show that Zpr’(h is indeed Turing complete — driven by hope that I have not created a primitively weak language. I briefly thought about implementing a Turing machine but quickly opted to implement a brainfuck interpreter — equivalent, since both can simulate each other.
After having written said brainfuck interpreter (zprh_brainfuck.zpr), I proceeded to test it only to realize that using byte-based pattern matching to implement a brainfuck interpreter in a functional manner does not lead to the most efficient implementation. Interpreting the brainfuck program ++[->+++<]>. — that is, multiplying two by three — takes a respectable twenty seconds at 𝟦.𝟢𝟢 GHz. Yet more excruciatingly, adhering to commutativity and interpreting +++[->++<]>. yields the same correct numerical result, although at a steep slowdown to over three minutes.
Time constraints are not the only factor — since the current Zpr’(h implementation does not alias any byte sequences if long byte sequences are duplicated, the memory footprint rises to the unmanageable, easily blowing the 𝟣 GiB provided by default. Increasing the available memory most likely not make much of a difference given the aforementioned exponential behavior.
Thus, testing larger brainfuck programs appears not to be feasible due to computational resource limitations. Nevertheless, I am now fairly certain of Zpr’(h being Turing complete, even though my brainfuck implementation may not be correct.
To input brainfuck source code into the above interpreter, I used this translator.

Not being satisfied with a nigh untestable brainfuck implementation, I attempted to fulfil another classical interpretation of computability; recursive functions. As seen above, primitive recursive functions can already be modelled, leaving only the existence of µ-recursion open; a one-liner using the standard library:

(µ .p) |> (head (filter p |N0))

In conclusio, I am convinced that Zpr’(h is Turing complete, if not very efficient — a common fate of esoteric programming languages.

As a side note, implementing the Ackermann-Peter function is fairly intuitive: zprh_ackermann-peter.zpr
I have also golfed in Zpr’(h; it is not the most terse language out there.

Jonathan Frech's blog; built 2021/04/16 21:21:49 CEST