8th April 2016

I had a phone interview for a Python job the other day. It started out really well, he was very impressed with my CV and called me a ‘rocket scientist’. But then we got down to the technical questions and my brain decided to go out to lunch, and (yet again) I managed to snatch defeat […]

24th August 2015

Sorting is probably the most common type of algorithm in programming. A sorting algorithm puts elements of a list in a certain order. The most-used orders are numerical, and alphabetical. It’s extremely useful in many applications, because sorted data can be searched or merged very quickly (e.g. by binary search). A sorted data set is one where every item […]

17th June 2015

Lindenmayer systems, or L-systems, provide a very powerful way to construct fractals. Lindenmayer used L-systems to describe the behaviour of plant cells and to model the growth processes of plant development. An L-system is a rewriting system and a type of formal grammar. It consists of an alphabet of symbols that can be used to make […]

18th May 2015

Often seen in science museums, the harmonograph is a device that combines wave motions (e.g. from some pendulums) to move a pen resting on a sheet of paper. These movements result in attractive patterns. This device can be simulated easily in a computer program such as the following one. The principle is that the wavy […]