Connelly Barnes

Thursday 13 September 2007

Antonio claims that blog readers don’t care about archives: the last 10 posts are where all of the interest is. Generally, this is true, but when I find a new blog, and those latest posts seem really interesting, I’ll take a quick scan through the archives to get an idea of what else I can expect. Every once in a while, that scan through the archives turns into an hour-long exploration, similar to what happens to me in book stores when time permits: browsing turns to reading turns to learning.

Connelly Barnes has one of those blogs. He posts sporadically, but each post is a meaty nugget of Python in academia. For example, I wish I could understand the code behind the real-time hair animation, and I’d never heard of the Burrows-Wheeler transform before (it’s a miraculously reversible transform that rearranges data to move repeated bytes closer together to get better compressibility).


I'm surprised you've never heard of Burrows-Wheeler: it's the primary bit of preprocessing magic in bzip2.
I've never worked in compression technologies, and using these tools requires no knowledge of their internals. That's part of the fun: there's always more to learn!
Clearly, someone has forgotten search. Whoops! When searching for content, I frequently refer to blog archives.
Some of the code is actually non-academic: I can't live without pytime (which times callables), and autoimp (which lazily imports all modules on session startup) for my interactive Python sessions. I guess no one else uses these. But yeah, a lot of the code is about experimenting with academic concepts. Thanks for the compliment!

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