[Tutor] OT self-implementation?

Brian van den Broek bvande at po-box.mcgill.ca
Sat Jul 2 01:43:56 CEST 2005

Hi all,

a bit off topic for Python Tutor, but I am think there are decent odds 
that folks here both know good resources and have an idea of what 
level would be appropriate for me. So, I hope no one minds.

A recent thread on comp.lang.python has touched on to what extent C 
was written in C. I know PyPy aims to implement Python in Python. I 
believe I've heard that many lisp fans think you don't have a language 
unless you can write the language's interpreter in the language 
itself. (Perhaps one or more of these claims is a bit inaccurate, but 
the substance seems right.)

This sounds, to the untutored, rather like magic. (It reminds me of a 
line from the German mathematician and philosopher, Gottlob Frege, 
who, in a book on the foundations of arithmetic, characterized an 
opposing position as akin to "trying to pull yourself out of the swamp 
by your own top-knot" -- which, I can only assume, is even funnier in 
the original 19th c. German ;-) Naively, one thinks that to write 
anything in C, you'd have to *have* C to write in, etc.

Now's not the time in my life to start a comp. sci. degree. So, my 
questions are:

1) What would be good terms to google for to find an explanation of 
how the seeming magic doesn't violate all reason?

2) Much harder, so please pass unless you've a link you know of 
off-hand: any recommendations of particular things that I could read?

Thanks and best,

Brian vdB

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