Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Boggling 2: Parallelized Boogaloo! When last we left our heroes, they’d solved Boggle! and done so with amazing speed. The only thing left to do was go faster. There are two strategies, actually, for going faster. The first, mind-bogglingly enough, is to go the other way with your search space: building a graph of the […]

All right, so now I’ve got a bitmap for tracking the path I’ve taken on the board, and I’ve got a trie that can determine whether or not a sequence of letters is a word (or the prefix of a word) from a specified dictionary. Let’s solve Boggle™. A Boggle board is a 4×4 grid […]

One of the things I needed in my Boggle solver was a bitmap. The average Boggle! board is 4×4, or 16 squares, and one of the rules is that you may not use the same letter twice. I needed a data structure that would handle the "Have I seen this before?" Now, for a 4×4 […]

There was a research project named Wyvern (not related to the current programming language Wyvern) that was intended to invent what would probably be called a "lexically scoped paradigmatic programming language." Programming languages are built on paradigms. In programming language theory, a "paradigm" is a set of ideas that form a mutually exclusive way of […]


Data Structures: Tries in Rust

Posted by Elf Sternberg as Uncategorized

I recently went to a job interview (I’m looking for work, by the way; hire me!) and one of the questions put to me was “solve the Boggle™ board.” I don’t think I did very well on the question and it wasn’t until I got home that I remembered “Dammit, the fastest structure for checking […]


“But what are they for?”

Posted by Elf Sternberg as Uncategorized

“But what are they for?” Do you remember the days in pre-college when you were taking geometry, or algebra, or calculus, and wondering when in your long and varied life you would ever have a need to use the quadratic equation? I remember having that thought lots of time. I had that thought once more, […]

Tech Republic has an article entitled Top priorities for professional developers: Why devs are always looking to learn new programming languages. It’s not until the bottom of the article that we get to any mention of programming languages versus programming skills in general. General skills are about things other than languages: Kubernetes and AWS are […]

I once read a heartbraking story about a young woman who finished her MFA (Master of Fine Arts) degree in classical composition by listening to her masters thesis work, a full-length 40-minute symphony, played by a professional orchestra. It was the high point of her life at that point. In her essay, she wrote about […]


The Sterling Bullet

Posted by Elf Sternberg as Uncategorized

One of the best books on software development ever written is the 1986 No Silver Bullet. Brooks’s central argument is that software development in a team requires the constant, daily transfer of active knowledge of progress, and the cost overhead of this transfer exceeds the value of additional developers fairly quickly; adding more people to […]

When I first moved to Seattle in 1991, I had a year’s experience working as a Cobol & DB2 developer, an accounting degree, and a couple of men in dark suits and sunglasses following me around asking if I wanted to take an Ada job that entailed six months on-site and then a six-month vacation. […]

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