2010/When Everything Looks Like A Nail

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Markus: Nautilus? I thought you said noodle house!
Matt: Wait, wait, I think I see her head!!
Markus: Are you sure?
Matt: Maybe It’s Not Her Head…

Speakers: Markus Roberts, Matt Youell

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Contributed notes

The goal: pick your tool first and then shoehorn your problem to fit the tool. To achieve this goal Markus and Matt implemented a Ray tracer in SQL, specifically PostgreSQL; computed Fibonacci numbers using nothing but ed, the text editor, and lots of text files; demonstrated that sequences of regular expression replacements are Turing complete; and showed off a working demo of arithmetic implemented by composing sound waves and directing them through jell-o (the jell-o was simulated).

Some conclusions: if all you have is a hammer you will tend to use that hammer to make more tools that are appropriate for your problem. Also apparently you can increase the speed of sound-based computation by using higher frequency sounds.

The Code