Tuesday, February 14, 2006

I is for ...


"... (pronounced "eyeball") is a general-purpose language for probabilistic modeling, parameter estimation and decision making. It generalizes Bayesian networks, hidden Markov models, stochastic context free grammars, Markov decision processes, and allows many new possibilities. It also provides a convenient programming-language framework with libraries, automatic type checking and so on."


A Design System for Interactive Fiction

Just as film might be called a form of literature which needs technology to be read (a cinema projector or a television set) and to be written (a camera), interactive fiction is read with the aid of a computer. On this analogy, Inform is a piece of software enabling any modern computer to be used as the camera, or the film studio, to create works of interactive fiction. To read the resulting works, you and your audience need only a simpler piece of software called an interpreter.

In this genre of fiction, the computer describes a world and the player types instructions like touch the mirror for the protagonist character to follow; the computer responds by describing the result, and so on until a story is told.

Interactive fiction emerged from the old-style "adventure game" (c.1975) and tends to be a playful genre, which must sometimes be teased out as though it were a cryptic crossword puzzle. But this doesn't prevent it from being an artistic medium, which has attracted (for instance) the former U.S. Poet Laureate, Robert Pinsky, and the novelists Thomas M. Disch and Michael Crichton. An interactive fiction is not a child's puzzle-book, with a maze on one page and a rebus on the next, but nor is it a novel. Neither pure interaction nor pure fiction, it lies in a strange and still largely unexplored land in between.

Since its invention (by Graham Nelson in 1993), Inform has been used to design some hundreds of works of interactive fiction, in eight languages, reviewed in periodicals ranging in specialisation from XYZZYnews to The New York Times. It accounts for around ten thousand postings per year to Internet newsgroups. Commercially, Inform has been used as a multimedia games prototyping tool. Academically, it has turned up in syllabuses and seminars from computer science to theoretical architecture, and appears in books such as Cybertext: Perspectives on Ergodic Literature (E. J. Aarseth, Johns Hopkins Press, 1997). Having started as a revival of the then-disused Infocom adventure game format, the Z-Machine, Inform came full circle when it produced Infocom's only text game of the 1990s: Zork: The Undiscovered Underground, by Mike Berlyn and Marc Blank.

ImageScript 2

is a programmers tool to convert, resize, copy and move bmp, gif and jpg images under control of a script that you can create from e.g. Delphi, VB, MS Access 97 etc. NEW: png and tif support, add (angled) text, add grid lines.


The Indie language is an effort to provide the runtime features of modern languages, including type safety and garbage collection, without the overhead of a runtime executable like the Java Virtual Machine. The hope is this will let us use Indie in lower-level system code and other areas where (today) only C is prevalent.
The Indie programming language is designed to be a safe alternative to C and C++. It is designed to have the feel of Java, but with features that make it easy to analyze and compile to native code efficiently. Indie's unique type system makes it easy to create generic, reliable components without incurring significant runtime type safety costs.


is small prototype-based programming language. The ideas in Io are mostly inspired by Smalltalk (all values are objects), Self, NewtonScript and Act1 (prototype-based differential inheritance, actors and futures for concurrency), LISP (code is a runtime inspectable/modifiable tree) and Lua (small, embeddable).


is an embeddable byte-code compiled/interpreted language whichis useful as both an extension and a command language. Its syntax isdesigned to be easy to learn and to be fairly good looking. Ivy currentlysupports four data types: integers, strings, functions and objects. Objectsare late-binding storage devices which take the role of arrays, structuresand simple look-up tables. Floating point or arbitrary length floatingpoint numbers will be available in a future implementation. Ivy comespackaged as an interactive language like BASIC and LISP. You can eitherexecute language statements immediately from the keyboard or run a programstored in a file. Ivy is also easy to embed into another program. Callsare provided to execute Ivy code and to add C function extensions to Ivy'sinterpreter.

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