No Code: Null Programs

Sunday 15 December 2013, 4:15 pm   //////  

Just posted: TROPE-13-03 – No Code: Null Programs by Nick Montfort, in the Trope Report series (technical reports from my lab the Trope Tank at MIT).

To continue the productive discussion of uninscribed artworks in Craig Dworkin’s No Medium, this report discusses, in detail, those computer programs that have no code, and are thus empty or null. Several specific examples that have been offered in different contexts (the demoscene, obfuscated coding, a programming challenge, etc.) are analyzed. The concept of a null program is discussed with reference to null strings and files. This limit case of computing shows that both technical and cultural means of analysis are important to a complete understanding of programs – even in the unusual case that they lack code.

Please share and enjoy. And do feel free to leave a comment here if anything to add on this topic, or if you have a question about this report. I’d be glad to continue the discussion of these unusual programs.

3 Comments »

  1. Do you know this site? https://github.com/mathiasbynens/small

    Comment by Dannii — 2013-12-15 @ 6:12 pm
  2. No, very nice … and apropos.

    Comment by Nick Montfort — 2013-12-15 @ 8:47 pm
  3. Erwin Schrödinger: “…Zero is the only number with a charter, a sort of royal privilege…” Thanks for the article.

    Comment by Eric S — 2014-01-10 @ 5:03 pm

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