Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid

Still reading “Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid”, couple nuggets. In Chapter V, Recursive Structures and Processes, Hofstader talks about modularization, loops, and procedures. Naturally, you’d think he was writing about computer programming, and to some extent he does. There’s a discussion about the difference between bounded loops (loops which have a known maximum number of steps) and free loops (loops whose boundary is not known) and nested loops (loops within loops). He diverts to the non-programming trail for a short time to talk about how loops (in the theoretical sense) exist in knitting and crocheting (“… very small loops are repeated several times in larger loops, which in turn are carried out repeatedly…”) and how loops reside in music (“… when a scale is played several times in a row, perhaps displaced in pitch each new time.”).

This book is fascinating in that I’m finding so computer science fundamentals explained in rich detail and yet I’m not reading a book on computer science. And maybe that’s one of the points of the book; at its’ core computer science is no different than music. Both are sets of symbols that we’ve assigned meaning too.

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