[TUHS] Space Travel, was New: The Earliest UNIX Code

Doug McIlroy doug at cs.dartmouth.edu
Fri Oct 18 21:52:09 AEST 2019

> 10-36-55.pdf    user-mode programs: pool game

This game, written by ken, used the Graphic 2. One of its
earliest tests--random starting positions and velocities on
a frictionless table with no collision detection--produced
a mesmerizing result. This was saved in a program called
"weird1", which was carried across to the PDP11.

Weird1 was a spectacular accidental demonstration of structure
in pseudo-random numbers. After several minutes the dots
representing pool balls would evanescently form short local
alignments.  Thereafter from time to time ever-larger alignments
would materialize. Finally in a grand climax all the balls
converged to a single point.

It was stunning to watch perfect order emerge from apparent
chaos.  One of my fondest hopes is to see weird1 revived.


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