May 1994

Learning by doing

Is it possible to program without knowing a programming language? Cypher's collection of 18 examples shouts a loud "YES!" The premise is simple from a human perspective but incredibly complex from a computing view. If you know how to do something on your computer, your computer should know how to "watch" and "learn" your routines and then repeat them on demand. These are not mere macro recorders or preference settings but full-fledged programs learning by lurking in the background. The text opens with a description of Pygmalion, born nearly 20 years ago, and proceeds to describe applications such as Tinker, Metamouse, Garnet, Turvy, and Mondrian. As can be expected from MIT Press, this book is well designed for easy use, with an abundance of illustrations, wide margins for notes, and binding stitched to open flat on the desk. If you're wondering about the future of computing and of programming, you'll find all of the secrets here.
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