PC News, Part II

Here’s anoth­er PC News cov­er flash­back from my LLNL days, cir­ca ’84/’85.

Umm, what to say about this one? I don’t know that I can ful­ly explain what’s going on here any­more. Too many years removed. I think what’s going on is that this was for an arti­cle talk­ing about how they were able to give PC’s ver­bal instruc­tions and have them trans­lat­ed into prop­er com­put­er lan­guage, but then you can prob­a­bly pick up that much from it on your own.

And for rea­sons I don’t recall, I was play­ing around with a qua­si-Chester Gould “Dick Tra­cy” look. Though I no longer ful­ly under­stand what I was try­ing to do here, I still think it was kind of a fun piece.

The “flash­back-ery” will continue.

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2 Responses to PC News, Part II

  1. Nat Gertler says:

    Actu­al­ly, what you’ve got here has noth­ing to do with speech recog­ni­tion. It’s an illus­tra­tion of how the com­put­er lan­guages that com­put­er pro­gram­mers under­stand (the “high-lev­el lan­guage”) get turned into lan­guage that the machine under­stands (“machine lan­guage”, or close enough to it). The pro­gram­mer is read­ing what he wrote on the screen. Then beyond that, we see the two dif­fer­ent process­es; an “inter­preter” is a pro­gram that fig­ures out what your pro­gram is say­ing while it runs the pro­gram — you might use that for a quicky lit­tle BASIC pro­gram that you wrote. If you wrote a sec­tion of pro­gram that decides what hap­pens if the user hits the space bar, and the user nev­er hits the space bar, that sec­tion nev­er gets trans­lat­ed — but if you write a sec­tion that says what to do when the user hits the Return key, and the user hits Return 37 times, then the inter­preter will trans­late the com­mands 37 times.
    A com­pil­er takes the whole pro­gram and trans­lates the entire thing into machine lan­guage all at once, while the pro­gram isn’t run­ning. Then you have a pro­gram that’s ready to run again and again with no fur­ther trans­la­tion, and will thus run much faster.

  2. Mark says:

    Nat,

    Thanks much for stop­ping by my site, and for the expla­na­tion! Lots of water under the bridge since I did this, so I couldn’t ful­ly recall just what was sup­posed to be going on. Though truth be told, I’m not sure they ever explained the con­cept to me to this degree.

    Now we can say my site not only has lots of stuff to look at, but it’s also educational!

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