[Chicago] Question about Machine Language.

Joshua Herman zitterbewegung at gmail.com
Tue Dec 8 18:06:14 EST 2015


I believe the reason why stuxnet was found primarily in the Middle East was
its designed to hop from computer to computer by files and it was
distributed there but this is going way off topic now.

On Tue, Dec 8, 2015 at 4:45 PM Lewit, Douglas <d-lewit at neiu.edu> wrote:

> If I had to program the Altair on a daily basis.... well, I don't think I
> would have much to do with programming!!!  I think the lowest level
> programming I've ever done was PLC programming while taking classes at a
> vocational school.  ( Coyne-American Institute )  That was actually kind of
> interesting, but I don't remember much of it anymore.  I think most
> electrical engineers have to become very proficient at PLC programming.  I
> was reading that the infamous Stuxnet virus is actually an example of a PLC
> virus that sabotages the refinement of Uranium in nuclear power plants.  (
> The virus actually sabotages the PLC's that control the machinery
> responsible for the refinery process. )  Oddly enough, according to what I
> read, more than half of the nuclear power plants affected are in the Middle
> East!  This started as a computer science chat.... and now we're getting
> into geography and politics!
>
> On Tue, Dec 8, 2015 at 4:29 PM, Randy Baxley <randy7771026 at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>
>> I tend to like to think that since everything breaks down into a hilo
>> variation in charge that we represent with 0s and 1s that even I can deal
>> with that level of math as long as I do not let the theoretical math
>> discussions of 0 and singularity bother me.
>>
>> On Tue, Dec 8, 2015 at 4:04 PM, Rob Kapteyn <robkapteyn at gmail.com> wrote:
>>
>>> I actually have an Altair that I built in high school and I did a lot of
>>> actual machine language programming.
>>>
>>> "Programming" involved scribbling op codes and addresses on dozens of
>>> sheets of paper, translating those into octal binary codes, and keying them
>>> into the front panel switches.
>>> You could not do very much.  There was a game called "Kill the bit
>>> <https://youtu.be/ZKeiQ8e18QY>" -- which I actually played ;)
>>>
>>> I remember how much my finger tips started to hurt after a while ;)
>>>
>>> I think it was educationally useful for me, as a 13-year old, to work on
>>> that level, but I'm not really sure.
>>>
>>> -Rob
>>> <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZKeiQ8e18QY>
>>>
>>> On Mon, Dec 7, 2015 at 3:41 PM, Lewit, Douglas <d-lewit at neiu.edu> wrote:
>>>
>>>> Hi there Thomas,
>>>>
>>>> I watched that video on the Altair 8800.  Oh my god!!!  How
>>>> confusing!!!  How many years ago were engineers and programmers actually
>>>> working with computers like that?  Wow!  It really makes me appreciate the
>>>> abstraction of higher-level languages such as Python!
>>>>
>>>> Thanks for the YouTube link.  That was really interesting.... and also
>>>> kind of frightening!
>>>>
>>>> Best,
>>>>
>>>> Douglas.
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> On Mon, Dec 7, 2015 at 3:10 PM, Thomas Johnson <
>>>> thomas.j.johnson at gmail.com> wrote:
>>>>
>>>>> Because:
>>>>> * Different computers use different instruction sets (i.e., different
>>>>> version of machine language)
>>>>> * The compiler is almost certainly better than you are at generating
>>>>> optimized machine language from your high-level language. See some examples
>>>>> of the kind of optimization options gcc has here:
>>>>> https://gcc.gnu.org/onlinedocs/gcc/Optimize-Options.html
>>>>> * Unless you are an expert at assembly, you will be more productive in
>>>>> a higher level language
>>>>> * We used to, and it wasn't pleasant
>>>>> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EV1ki6LiEmg
>>>>>
>>>>> On Mon, Dec 7, 2015 at 3:05 PM Lewit, Douglas <d-lewit at neiu.edu>
>>>>> wrote:
>>>>>
>>>>>> Thanks for the correction Naomi, but that didn't really answer my
>>>>>> question.  Why don't we all just study machine language and that's it?
>>>>>>
>>>>>> On Mon, Dec 7, 2015 at 2:10 PM, Naomi Ceder <naomi.ceder at gmail.com>
>>>>>> wrote:
>>>>>>
>>>>>>> On 7 December 2015 at 13:57, Lewit, Douglas <d-lewit at neiu.edu>
>>>>>>> wrote:
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>> Hi everyone,
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>> I was reading an article on the web about how all programming
>>>>>>>> languages are "Turing complete".  I believe that basically means that all
>>>>>>>> programming languages are able to communicate with the computer's CPU using
>>>>>>>> the binary codes of machine language.
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> Uh, that's not actually what "Turing Complete" means...  It doesn't
>>>>>>>  have anything to do with binary or machine language... from Wikipedia (
>>>>>>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turing_completeness):
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> "To show that something is Turing complete, it is enough to show
>>>>>>> that it can be used to simulate some Turing complete system. For example,
>>>>>>> an imperative language
>>>>>>> <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imperative_language> is Turing
>>>>>>> complete if it has conditional branching
>>>>>>> <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conditional_branching> (*e.g.*, "if"
>>>>>>> and "goto" statements, or a "branch if zero" instruction. See OISC
>>>>>>> <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One_instruction_set_computer>) and
>>>>>>> the ability to change an arbitrary amount ofmemory
>>>>>>> <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computer_memory> locations (*e.g.*,
>>>>>>> the ability to maintain an arbitrary number of variables). Since this is
>>>>>>> almost always the case, most (if not all) imperative languages are Turing
>>>>>>> complete if the limitations of finite memory are ignored."
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> Cheers,
>>>>>>> Naomi
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> Okay then.... so why don't we get rid of C, C++, Java, Python, Ruby,
>>>>>>>> Perl, Ocaml, Haskell, C#, F#, etc, etc and why don't we call just code in
>>>>>>>> machine language?  Bear in mind that I'm asking this question from the
>>>>>>>> point of view of the Devil's Advocate because I know almost nothing about
>>>>>>>> machine language.  But it's an interesting question.  It's related to the
>>>>>>>> question, "Why don't we have one universal natural language?  Let's get rid
>>>>>>>> of English, French, Spanish, German, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, Arabic,
>>>>>>>> Hebrew, etc, etc, and replace them all with one universal language that
>>>>>>>> everyone understands".
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>> I'm interested in reading your thoughts and ideas.  Thanks.
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>> Best,
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>> Douglas.
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>> P.S.  Sorry to hear about the Django Study Group.  I thought Mark
>>>>>>>> Graves was very friendly and did a great job of demonstrating various web
>>>>>>>> applications using Python.
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>> _______________________________________________
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>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> --
>>>>>>> Naomi Ceder
>>>>>>> https://plus.google.com/u/0/111396744045017339164/about
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>>>>> Chicago mailing list
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>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>
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