Poke And Hope Programming

Poke And Hope Programming
UnReal
A Painless Programming Method, Requiring Only 3 IQ Points
2U22
1993/05/10
Computer Programming, Poke And Hope
Binary
Compression Sort Transform

Author:
Jason Williams

Date:
1993/05/10


Poke and Hope programming is a mainstay of the computer programming industry. It has been used since the early days of punched card program storage, evolving from the more primitive technique of that decade known as "Punch and Hope."

The principle tenet of Poke and Hope is rather simple -- if your program does not work, you must poke a random number into the binary or change a few constants by random amounts, and then re-execute the program to see if this has a helpful effect.

This may sound a bit haphazard at first, but a master of this technique can achieve astounding results by applying more of the Poke and less of the Hope. An inspired Poke is rumoured to have been responsible for the unrepeatable creation of an artificial intelligence at a research establishment on the moon of Swaybar IV (though informed sources now suggest that is a load of bollocks, and that it was actually a secret military base, not a research establishment).

A related advance in computer programming techniques is a program-writing program currently being executed and trialed by the Instituziontechnikal Das Intellectutinkerplonker Oberhausfrau Turberspitsenbergen. This program generates a sequence of random instructions and then transfers control to each instruction in turn to see if they do anything useful.

The real trick apparently lies in teaching the program to recognize something useful when it sees it. Initial results, although a little slow to arrive, show promise, including an astoundingly user friendly (and soon to be commercially released) product codenamed "EDLIN.EXE."


See also

Subtitle: 
A Painless Programming Method, Requiring Only 3 IQ Points
Factuality: 
UnReal
PGG Author: 
Jason Williams
PGG Number: 
2U22
PGG Index: 
Computer Programming, Poke And Hope
PGG Date: 
1993/05/10
PGG Xref: 
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