Tag Archives: personal

Free Will

I have been going through an intense period of self-discovery and reconstruction. I realized that the path in life I have been following for the past several years is not working for me; it is not resonating with me, and it is taking me somewhere I don’t want to be. This realization was revealing itself to me at the same time as a complicated and heartbreaking end to a (short) relationship unfolded, and everything I believed crashed down and came into question. I was a programmer with no desire for a computer, I was a calm communicator behaving violently, I was an atheist experiencing God.

I believe that I am now picking up my pieces and realigning with my dreams — dreams I had forgotten or dumbed down. I’ve believed this several times during the past weeks, only to find another layer collapsing beneath me, so I may be full of shit. But all I can do is to use the best information I have now. It’s a very interesting, emotional time for me.

One of the axioms that crashed during this experience was the idea that I have any control over what happens in the world. This began as a grounded life principle: my attempts to control life only led to more suffering, so I should surrender to the flow of the world. It percolated up to my intellect, combining with the studies of physics I was using to distract myself from my emotions, eventually leading me to the confusing world of philosophy that I love to entertain.

The idea that there is something physically more to a human being than a physical system is something I consider absurd. The conventional non-spiritual idea is that you put more and more molecules together and suddenly a light turns on called consciousness. Humans have consciousness, dogs probably do, lizards perhaps not as they are simple stimulus-response machines, bacteria have no brains so certainly not. Associated with consciousness is the ability to make decisions as an independent entity: free will. Cognitive scientists are madly in search of the magical light that turns on consciousness, a holy grail in our search to understand ourselves.

My developing position — I won’t call it a belief, but I’ll say I am considering it and its implications seriously — is to reject the above narcissism. I see what we define to be consciousness as a gradual increase in sophistication of these biological machines. There is not self-awareness and self-unawareness, merely a band of sophistication in which we communicate that there is a definite “I” and that it is aware of itself. We can communicate that to ourselves, by having a little simulated conversation in our brains in which we say such things to some abstract person.

My experience, particularly at the end of the aforementioned relationship, showed me that a great deal of my self-awareness — my free will — is a hoax. I listened, I reasoned, I concluded the best action. I watched as a ridiculous prediction took hold of my reasoning process. I watched as I carried out, in a state of mental contradiction, the opposite of what I had concluded. I watched myself crying, simultaneously astonished and unsurprised by the way things actually unfolded. I saw myself not as a single unified “I”, but as an ensemble of communicating (or not) decision-making machines, combined with a mechanism retroactively justifying my ridiculous actions.

That free will I was so convinced I had struck me as a process, always living a moment in the past, existing to analyze and retrain my unconscious decision making processes for the future. I was a sophisticated machine, but a machine. I am governed by the same laws as a rock tumbling down a landslide. When asking whether it is possible that I will not push publish in a few minutes and share my thoughts with the world, I’m expressing not a set of a decisions available to me, but a state of uncertainty about what my action will eventually be.

I was walking down the mall and had the strongest urge to pick up a brick and throw it through a window. Jail schmail, money schmoney, I just wanted to do something nuts to release the pressure. And I did not; I watched the urge pass, frustratingly, as I didn’t carry out the action I had pictured so strongly. I couldn’t; my consciousness is not a decider but a justifier, and the action was not there to justify. There was no immediate reason it could come up with for why I didn’t — I was even disappointed that I didn’t. One might view this post as the belated conclusion of my justifier of that situation — that it does not in fact have control of my actions.

I see the universe as a great continuous four-dimensional tapestry, that I have the capability to view only a little slice at a time. I cannot ground the idea that there is some “I” which can cause the tapestry to be altered meanwhile existing within it. What could “altered” even mean in this situation: altered from what? I have been seeing this as a physicist studying something external for quite some time, but to incorporate it, to understand it as something I am part of, is taking me to a whole new place.

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I am technically enrolled in classes again, but my heart isn’t in it. I have a middle school teaching practicum (awesome), and a writing class (great), and a larger dose of boring bullshit. Are these two classes worth $6,000? Hardly. I am on the edge of dropping out again. My life has been exploding into worlds of hippie love and search for purpose. I am high in the clouds, riding the shifting winds.

My writing class has shown me a wonderful outlet: freewriting. It is my source of peace these days. I sit down, get comfortable, and start moving my pen. Whatever happens, my pen has to keep moving. Sometimes I just repeat the same word over and over — I have filled up an entire page with a single word. Sometimes I go on a deep symbolic exploration of my subconscious, exploring dungeons of memories. Sometimes I write nonsense stories, sometimes I just write nonsense. Sometimes I focus on the shape of my letters, sometimes I write as slowly as I can, sometimes I write as quickly as I want. I have hypnotized myself in this book.

It is so much more visceral than thinking. I am forced to stay with a thought long enough to finish a sentence. A thousand other thoughts arise and fade away before I get to that blasted period. If I were just thinking, one of those thoughts would have brought me back to the deeply emotional experience of breaking up with a recent love, and I would spiral down for hours. But when I am writing there is more force, more intention behind the thoughts, even as I go off into an unconscious trance. A passing whim is less capable of derailing me. Or sometimes I will be in the middle of an exploration when she comes into my mind — Moriah, I write — and having acknowledged her presence I can return to where I was.

It is important that it be handwritten. I love watching the shapes of my letters change as my mental state changes; sometimes it looks like a doctor’s rushed scribbles, sometimes it is deeply sensuous and feminine. I can evoke a sense of liberation by ignoring the margins, filling up the entire page. I can get a sense of spaciousness by closing my eyes and letting my words land where they will. Sometimes I feel the urge to draw a picture (I have drawn very little in my life). I have freewritten on a computer before, but it has never felt like this.

My right brain is waking up again. Welcome back.

Love and Loss

Today I did one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. I feel a combination of immense sadness, anxiety, and pride. I broke up with my girlfriend Anna, who I have been seeing for 19 months.

It was about the end of February last year when my emotions were finally letting go of my obsession over Karen — a crush that was impossible to begin with, but lasted a whole freaking year. I went to a game night at a friends house and Anna was there, with her boyfriend. We were casually introduced and eyed each other a little. We chatted online a few times after that, until she told me that she had broken up with her boyfriend. We proceeded to talk all night for the next few nights.

When we finally got together in person, things progressed pretty fast. We went from nervously sitting on the couch together to definitely-in-a-relationship in about two weeks. We had similar lifestyles, wanted similar things out of a relationship, and had great physical chemistry. We were both full of idiosyncrasies and tolerance.

It was fun for a while, and soon I knew that I loved her. Paradoxically enough, I never really felt that serious about the relationship. Oh well, what fun would be love if we understood it? We had plenty of fun experiences, personal late-night talks, quiet affectionate moments. I would call it a healthy relationship.

It was as early as March this year when the prospect of things getting more serious started to become real. I was having trouble understanding whether I would want to stay with her for a long time. I invited her to Hawaii for a month as a way to bring us closer and to increase my level of commitment.

We had a great time in Hawaii. Half way through I understood — I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life with her. I told her that during the trip, when we were guaranteed another two weeks in the same bed. I can’t believe I told her that! But she forgot or blocked it out or something, and then I did too, and the relationship continued for another few months, a bit shakily.

We were eating outside at a salad restaurant on a sunny August day. We were just having a friendly conversation, and just as I was getting excited by what we were talking about, she wanted to stop talking about it because I was getting argumentative. Sounds like a typical minor communication failure, right? But it set off some kind of chain reaction in my brain. I sat there in silence for five minutes while she wondered what was going on. My heart tugged in a thousand directions at once as the words squeezed their way out of my mouth, “I don’t think this relationship is working for me.”

We talked for about an hour, and at some point she had touched my leg. I love physical affection, and I still loved her. Through this interaction I understood that I really cared about her. I never wanted to hurt her. She is such a soft, emotional person, it was like trying to break up with a kitten. I couldn’t follow through.

The next couple months were pretty pleasant, actually. We were getting along, I felt like we cared for each other and enjoyed each others’ company. But I still knew that I couldn’t spend my life with her. I told myself stories like, if you spend “now” with someone enough times, you’ll have spent the rest of your life with them, so maybe I don’t need to feel that meaningful life-connection. Such bullshit. I think maybe the relationship was going better because I had violated some of the trust, so it was behaving more like initial dating.

Getting down to the wire. A few nights ago I was having dinner with my mom and out of my mouth popped “I don’t really want to be with Anna.” This had been on the tip of my tongue at gatherings with my friends and with my dad, but hadn’t come out yet. Saying it aloud let it do its work on me though. I knew it was only a matter of time.

Finally, this morning, Anna had called me for advice and we were digging around in her soul a little. We got to a point where she said “I don’t want you to break up with me” as a non-sequitur. She had felt it. Of course. You always feel it coming. I could lie to her and deny it for a few more days, but that’s not very loving to either of us. So that turned out to be the opportunity to say it, and I did. I cried a lot, because I care about her still and because my conscious brain was so unsure of what I was doing. But I knew it in my heart — I knew that if I turned back, it would just happen again in a month — or worse, longer. The longer we stay together, the more she trusts me, and the more painful it is for both of us to say goodbye. Now is the right time.

I still feel very sad. I have never broken up with someone while knowing I still care about them. Maybe I am being irrational. Maybe All You Need is Love. Maybe this is the stupidest decision of my life and Anna will go insane and I will live the rest of my days lonely. O how my brain doth fantasize. But deep down I know it is right. We will move on, and both have richer, fuller lives because of it. If I stayed with her it would gradually wear us down to depressed couch potatoes.

I wish Anna well, and hope I get to see her going overseas to have the adventurous life she wants in the near future. I’m curious to see what will happen to me relationship-free for a while. Sometimes I get really heady and my heart just kind of shrivels up and doesn’t participate. I’ll have to find something to do to keep it engaged.

Whew. Life is the better for such experiences… or so it tells me.

Bilabial trill

I am feeling annoyed and slightly insane, only slightly though. This may be due to the two hours of Zach Galifianakis I just watched — his level of insanity is great enough that it easily diffuses into me. I am unmotivated to work on my game. I hate that computers have finite speed. This game would be great if not for the inevitable performance problems. I’m tired of having ideas that require the latest processor in three Moore’s laws to run. I’m rebellious toward all the commitments I have made to others. I wish my left hand would heal so I could play Beethoven again. I wish I had good things to write about, good ideas to implement, good music to perform. Even though I am more musically active than I have been in years, I am frustrated that I feel so uncreative.

And I don’t care that this is a tech blog. For once I am not writing to get thousands of hits. Maybe I should be grateful that that is pretty easy these days. Thanks to all my loyal readers :-).

I have this idea about a programming IDE that I am very frustrated doesn’t exist. I’m having a hard time getting past it in my projects — I know exactly how I would design it if I had this feature, but I don’t, and no language I know of does, so I get stuck. I have to settle for ugly shit like singletons when I could just abstract over the code that references it and be modularly well-fed. I hate singletons. They should just call them globals. It is more truthful.

I wrote a song (score) and shared it on Facebook. First song I’ve written in years. Warnocked. Bleh. No pity please.

I got a delightful little meme from Karen the other day. It reads:

To the first five people who comment to this post, I will gift you with something of my own crafting. It may be an icon, a manip, a drawing, a ficlet, or something completely random. You may love it or you may think it sucks, but regardless, it will be made with love for you from me. ;) Feel free to give me a hint of what you might like (ship, character, actor/actress, fandom, color, etc).

The catch? You must pay it forward and post this in your journal so you can gift 5 of your friends with special gifts made by you.

So I posted that in Facebook too. Warnocked. Well that one doesn’t really carry the same dilemma. That really frustrates me. Here I am, willing to give to my friends, and nobody wants anything. Maybe it’s just because people are really bad at saying that they want something. Or maybe it’s because I am still distant with my friends. I don’t want to be anymore.

You know, I have a theory. I have observed that my relationship with my mother is a lot like my relationships with women, and my relationship with my father is a lot like my relationships with my friends. I figure it probably reverses for women.

I want to be funny. How does one come up with a good joke? I have no idea.

I really want Anna to feel good about herself. I see her tearing herself to pieces from the inside, and it makes me sad. I know it doesn’t sound like I feel good about myself right now, and that given that observation it is probably apropos to focus on myself first. But I’m generally happy and generally feel good about myself. I’m just having an emo-reflective streak.

See, I’m not getting at anything, I’m just blabbing. I notice that my posts are less curious and more argumentative these days. Maybe its because my arguments get more attention, maybe it’s because I feel like I have created a stronger work when I make an argument. Maybe it’s because (or the cause that) I have not been very curious recently. Maybe that’s why I haven’t been very creative.

I love the Beatles. I didn’t used to, but I heard the light… you know what I mean. They’re great. You can probably guess why I thought of them :-).

I wonder why I don’t want to go to sleep. I think it’s because then 8 or 9 hours will fly by, and then it won’t be long before I have to go deal with the world again. Eric (my “busking manager”, heh) is being a pain in the ass, as usual. I always make sure to express my gratitude for what he’s done, buying a piano for me to play. But man he makes it a chore. He constantly bugs me to get out there and gets upset with me if I miss a day. God forbid I want to spend some fleeting time with my friends when they are available. I don’t want to associate my musical expression with such stress. He is something of a projective narcissist — he expects me to make that the center of my life, my “primary gig”, and fit in everything else around it. His words. I get really angry at him sometimes.

I want to make something beautiful and inspiring. Not just one thing, actually. That’s what I want to be doing in every aspect of my life. I love creating. I’m tired of relationship drama. I’m tired of being unable to tell if I’m being honest with myself (or rather, able to tell that I’m not, and not able to hear what the truth is). I’m aware that my heart aches. My intention is to fulfill it.

I took this seminar called Insight once when I was 14 and again this year. It’s wonderful — it helped me in so many ways the first time, and it was a nice reawakening the second time. One of their techniques is simply to fill in those two sentences: “I am aware …. My intention is ….”. It really helps focus my energy.

That’s all.

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I am insomniatic, so I’ll write about what is keeping me up.

I want to concoct a “humanfood” for myself: a food that would keep me healthy even if it were 100% of my diet. I spend energy every day worrying about what I should eat and traveling around town to get it. Sometimes I get in a rut and just eat Subway every day (there is one across the street), which is gluten-heavy and probably incomplete in a few ways. This contributes to my malnutrition and pushes me further into my rut.

I understand that nutrition is a subtle balance, but mostly I am trying to protect myself from malnutrition. I trust my body to do a pretty good job sorting out the jewels from the junk (as long as there isn’t too much junk, which I am typically good about). As I am coming to understand how tightly coupled my motivation and energy level are to my nutrition, I conjecture that having some prepared food that I can snack on anytime and get my nutrients for the day will help me get more out of my time.

And yet, I don’t want to be a nutritionist. Thus humanfood.

Fortunately my mother is associated with people who spend a lot of time thinking about nutrition. I’m going to start by asking them, and doing research on the interwebs. If any of my readers have ideas for what would make good ingredients, do post. Please, keep it reasonable though — this is something that I am thinking about eating all the time, so I require more than just for it to be healthy. It should be “maximally healthy”. (Calories are important too!)

I will publish my research and experiences as I acquire them. I will try to keep my reports relatively scientific, but I’m trying to get on with my life in the meantime, so I probably won’t be able to do that to an extreme. In other words, I will try to make my anecdotes worthwhile.

Life and Projects

I just lost my job. This happening was unexpected except to the deep knowledge of my subconscious, who, for the last week, has been practicing what to say when it happened. The reason is that my “level of productivity is not sufficiently high to justify [my] contract rate”. I agree with this, and although the whole thing has got me feeling a tad worthless, I am not beating myself up about it. The project was less familiar territory than I had expected, being of primarily object-oriented design (rather than functional — and yes “functional design” is a real thing). I have done a lot of OO programming in my day, but since I have started functional programming, my OO code never seems good enough. I now spend a good proportion of my time searching for cleaner, smaller, more obviously correct solutions, when the code that I am criticizing would have been just dandy 5 years ago.

Anyway I won’t blather on anymore justifying why I am still a good programmer nonetheless. This post is about the future.

In any case, I feel like the event woke me up. I was spending my 25 hours working on a project I didn’t really care about (despite it being fun and working with good people), a few hours a week on my own projects, and the rest of the time on who-knows-what. Chilling out, wasting time on the internet, watching netflix, getting high and playing the piano. It’s all a fine, relaxing lifestyle, but I am disappointed that I was spending so little time on my projects. So, I resolve to spend no less time working than I was before — at least 30 hours per week, all for my own goals.

For my own clarity, and for the interested, here is what I’m working on:

  • Evo (codename), a “serious” real-time strategy game written in Haskell, with my friend Max. The purpose of this game is twofold: (1) to be a ridiculously fun real-time strategy game (nothing good has come out of that genre for a few years) and (2) to prepare and exposit Haskell as a game development platform. Perhaps it is yet another attempt to solve my 6 year old thesis Game Programming is Too Hard.
  • Vatican, a lazy specializing interpreter, taking after the work of Michael Jonathan Thyer’s dissertation. This is largely a research project, in which I would be happy to get 1% of the performance of GHCi — just something to start from. Here is the repository.
  • An experimental programming language with a unique view of types: types are just properties (eg. “f :: Int -> Int” is another way of saying “for all x, if x is an Int then f x is an Int”). The language is essentially an untyped lambda calculus, but comes with a proof language in which the usual types and many more sorts of properties can be expressed and verified. There is some (mechanism as-yet undecided) macro facility that allows traditional type inference to be encoded as a macro in the language. There are a lot more ideas for this language floating around, but I am trying to stick to the principle “everything it does, it does perfectly”, so I’m holding off on new features until I know exactly where in the picture they appear.
  • I will consider blogging as officially one of my projects, to continue improving my writing. I am converging on a functional design methodology, my antipattern post hinting at its direction. But the feedback I’ve received on that post makes me realize that the argument and the details are not yet clear. I’d like to keep writing about it and exploring this methodology in order to one day pin it to rigorous principles.

30 hours a week of the above, or projects that the above evolve into. I don’t need to be a pedant: I know when I am and am not being productive.

Get up in the morning, work all day. –Philip Glass

New Year’s Resolutions: Produce, Believe

I bring you two personal experimental hypotheses for 2010.

I am a Haskell module author. Constituting my released modules are those ideas which resisted the least when I opened the text editor. But two of them, data-memocombinators and graphics-drawingcombinators have gained some popularity, and I am feeling rewarded having written them.

Most of my ideas functionalize pieces of Haskell programming that are currently imperatively-minded, as you can see with the two aforementioned. But FRP, a particularly greedy such idea has been stealing my tuits away from the others. I have envisaged functional command lines, package management, event handling, persistence, testing, and probably more that presently slip my mind. This brings me to my first new year’s resolution for 2010: Produce! It’s time to start coding these up instead of letting one very hard problem block the solution of moderately hard ones. Kicking off the year, I rewrote graphics-drawingcombinators to have a stronger semantic foundation, becoming version 1.0.0 (thanks Peaker and sinelaw for egging me on!).

My second resolution addresses an irrational fear I noticed a few days ago. The story begins with Hubris Arts, the game studio my friend Max and I started in July. We released our first game in November. We are in development on our second (codename “R4”) and prototyping our third (codename “Evo”). All of our development so far has been in C# with XNA, for a familiar reason: it was the path of least resistance. But as I prototype Evo I see all my beloved functional design patterns leaping out at me from between the lines of imperative blasphemy. So far the implementation seems a great fit for Haskell, but I am uneasy. Some part of me doesn’t believe that Haskell can do it. Haskell’s role in my life so far has been that of a language for beautiful koans and interesting experiments, but not for Real Software. But why not? My only evidence is my own fear.

Thus the second resolution: Believe in Haskell! I have decided to do Evo in Haskell. It is only by tackling Real Software that a language matures — it may not be ready now, but by doing it anyway, we will make it ready. If we can do it, that will be a wonderful success for the language, perhaps permanently parting us from C# von Neumann’s clutches. If we can’t, at least we’ll have reasons why not — ideas for things to improve — instead of unsupported uneasiness and unconfidence.

Forever Unemployed

I recently interviewed for a job in Boston, in which I would get to work with Shae Erisson (shapr) and Edward Kmett, which would be a wonderful treat, of course. But I turned it down after it was described to me. My reasoning at the time was that it was too formal and there were not enough hard problems for my taste. But after a little reflecting, I realize that that’s not the reason at all:

I believe now that I am deeply and fundamentally an artist. At a job like that, I’m just an engineer building products for customers. I am not cut out for engineering as an industry.

I’m currently making a game with my friend Max about gravity and the universe, which we plan to enter into the independent games festival at GDC. In the process of making this game, we written and scrapped three large-scale gravitational simulation algorithms, and are developing our fourth. We have learned and are simulating a fair amount of cosmology. We even tried to use some general relativity to solve the simulation problems. Our gameplay will probably not be intuitive to the naive player, but that’s because the naive player doesn’t really understand gravity, and we believe that showing the true nature of the universe trumps pandering to ignorance to flatten the learning curve. Clearly, our hearts are in this: this isn’t just a game to take to the bank. We’re trying to show people something about the beauty of the universe.

Dana is also a work of art. That’s why I’m having trouble understanding what it is as a clearly-stated engineering goal. It is evading the usual engineering practices, because it’s not trying to solve a specific problem. Really what Dana is trying to be is advanced technology. I want it to do whatever it does, and when the code pop culture sees it they have the sense that they are looking at alien technology: it is compact, unfamiliar, but obviously very elegant, whatever it is. When you dig into its subproblems and put in the effort understand them, the response will be “Oh! Of course that’s how you do that!” The realization that Dana is art has convinced me to try to reduce it’s scope. It is more important that it do one thing in the most beautiful way, than for it to be a complete foundation for arbitrary software.

And I have always been an artist with my music. My friend Eric Shapiro bought a piano for me to play on the Pearl Street mall, in exchange for 25% of my earnings. It is going great: I often attract crowds of 20 or more watching me improvise and make about $40/hr doing it. Eric helped me see that my music can be valued. So I’ve decided to be more industrious about it — after all, the music industry is about supporting artists (even if it is mostly corrupt); in contrast, I don’t know anyone who would pay for something like Dana. I’m developing a solo album to sell on the mall and approach record companies with. I’m trying to think of a pseudonym (my name is pretty lame). During the winter I’ll make my money with teaching and shows. Essentially, my plan is curiously “I’ll use music to support myself, so I have time for my art.”

It’s harder to make good money with music than with engineering. But I think this plan will lead me to a happier lifestyle than wasting my half my life on an engineering project that I couldn’t give a rats ass about, just so I can have a surplus of money in the other half.

Downtime over, hopefully

It has been almost a month since I’ve had something to post about. So here is something to fill the awkward silence.

Me and Anna
Me and Anna

Most of my life has been filled by my new love, Anna. This may explain why my productivity has gone down, but not why it has stopped completely. A recent study may provide justification for the latter.

I’m running out of money, so I’ve been looking for a job. The state of my resume is mixed, so that I look unqualified to first-order employers (looking for specific trendy technologies, most of which I don’t have that much experience with) and qualified to the ones who realize that they’re looking for good programmers, not good encyclopedias. Unfortunately, the latter such employers tend to be sharp people, and put the pieces together to find that I’m more of a researcher than a developer. So… I’m having trouble.

I have been working on a computer game with my friend Max, codename Silver Seed. It is beautiful and innovative, so much so that I’m having trouble seeing where the gameplay is. It’s a gardening game, of sorts. I’m afraid I can’t say much about the game mechanics, because Max is afraid of people stealing our ideas. It will be a mind-blowing game once we know what it is. It is incredibly fun to work on, and it has been the sink of most of my creative energy recently.

Silver Seed screenshot

Of course, this means that Dana has been rather off my mind. The more I think about it, the less I know what Dana is, and what the next step should be. I’m continuing to work on the system, which I hope will be hackage-worthy soon. But once I’m happy with that… what do I do? Is IΞ executable, or is it just a calculus for reasoning –an abstract semantics? If the latter, what is executed? And who executes it?

I guess my first goal still remains, but it’s form keeps changing: I want a command line utility where you can program functions, run them, and see the results. Because I no longer have a code calculus which can be typechecked (rather, you need to manually prove that your programs are well-typed (don’t be afraid, this is a great benefit!)), I think I will start by accepting only simply-typed programs at said command line.

I want to get crackin’ on this, damnit! If only I didn’t need to eat…


It has been a little while since I posted anything. So here’s a general update about my work and other aspects of my life.

I’ve been passively thinking about Dana, but not doing very much significant. I have abandoned the RTS language on the grounds that it is too hard for my little mind right now. Hopefully I will come back to it, but it can be safely moved further down in the queue without hurting my progress.

That brings me back to the dependent typed core. I’ve switched directions and decided that it really ought to be total. In experimenting with how to bring back partiality to a total language, it finally sunk in how partiality is a monad in its essence. It is in the very same way Maybe is, though my practical ideas about the essence of nontermination prevented me from seeing that.

I’ve been fooling around with the semantics of system IG, and have gotten nowhere interesting. Whatever beautiful connection between application and typing there is, I haven’t seen it yet.

Since typechecking arbitrary terms in system IG is undecidable, I’ve been trying to write an “interactive typechecker”: essentially a library for typechecking. Various inference algorithms can be built on top, but their correctness follows from the underlying library. I am stuck on the representation of conversion proofs between lambda terms.

All of these are rather minor problems that can be worked through with a little thought. I’ve been distracted, however, because of a woman named Anna, with whom I’ve been having at least two hour conversations almost every night. I had forgotten what it meant to have good conversations about nontechnical things (it’s really nice). We seem to like each other, despite my friend’s warnings about her being insane or something :-). I’m interested to see where it goes.

Oh and I’m starting school again in the summer, to finish by Bachelors in mathematics. The intention being to go do a PhD program with Paul Hudak, if that can be arranged, or something similar.

More meat soon.