noit o' mnain worb

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noit o' mnain worb, devised by Chris Pressey in 2000 and sometimes called "worb" for shorthand, is a two-dimensional probabilistic particle automaton based on Brownian motion.

Etymology

The language was given a name intended to sound like mock Gaelic, while containing a "hidden message". reversed, it reads "Brownian motion". There is no known correct pronunciation of this name.

Syntax and Semantics

The worb universe consists of several elements:

  (blank) Empty space
#         Wall
.         Bobule
><^v      Diodes
+         Source
-         Sink
!         Load

The "active ingredient" is the bobule; all other elements are passive and static. Bobules are created at sources and destroyed at sinks; they are otherwise conserved. Each tick, each bobule attempts to randomly either move into one of the 8 adjacent spaces, or to stand still. If it cannot move into the space that is randomly chosen because that space is not passable (i.e. that space is already occupied by a wall, bobule, diode, or source,) it stays still. As suggested by their name, diodes only allow bobules to pass through in one direction.

noit o' mnain worb is arguably an esoteric programming language which employs pressure as its main computational mechanism. There are, however, severe limitations involved which make constructing an actual program difficult. It is theoretically possible to design "transistors" or other switches, but in practice they tend to be extremely inefficient, with high leakage.

External resources