Tuesday, September 11, 2007

possible upcoming projects

I need a cool side project. I have a bunch of ideas that I think would be interesting: here they are. I've already started futzing around with a few of these... comments or suggestions are definitely welcome.

New Things To Build
Sketch out and build an online community where kids can make stuff in code and share it with each other, like MOOSE Crossing only awesome and on the web and easy to use and linkable. Does this want to be made of Scratch, or similar to it? Can we include proper inheritance? Make it work for the OLPC.

- TEB. Make TEB awesome. Does TEB want to use/be part of/merge with gnoetry? Related: That horoscope remixer thing that never worked right.

- Some automated way to calculate Erdos numbers, probably with the help of DBLP.

- A Scrabble bot. I've been thinking about this a lot, actually, looking at different algorithms for permuting strings -- but I think I can do Scrabble without looking at permutations... maybe all you really care about is whether certain groups of letters constitute the same bag. If it turns out we don't have to permute things (in n!), then we can probably plan several turns ahead. This might be similar to playing Backgammon,, but maybe we can't do something like that kind of policy learning; your set of possible actions changes so much every turn, and you'd have to use probability estimates to look into future turns...

Interesting Exercises, way already done by other people
Build a language and virtual machine. Educational for me, not very useful for other people. Recommended by Strick. Building a VM at a pretty high level of abstraction might not be that hard, just think about stack frames and returning things. At what level do things like the Python VM work? The JVM? Surely there are different approaches used for this; what are they? Would it be hard to build something with multithreading in mind from the bottom up? What about a purely functional lambda-calculus implementation?

- Write a checkers bot. Tree search, AB pruning, etc. are pretty well understood, even by me -- the hard thing would be an evaluation function.

- Build a MUD, or at least a MUD framework. But in Scheme. ynniv and I somehow never got around to that...

- Another Sudoku solver. But in Haskell.