Sunday, June 30, 2013

Tony Ballantyne's "Rondo code" (flash fiction, computer programming, free): A technique to write correct code

Illustration by Jacey accompanying the original publication in Nature magazine of short story Rondo code by Tony Ballantyne
The story itself is minor; I'm making a separate post for it only because I'm a programmer.

Story summary.

Ms Ada Byron is explaining to Mr Leibniz, a journalist, the origins of her invention - the "Rondo code", a technique to write computer programs whose correctness can be verified intuitively. She noticed the kids in her programming class had problems understanding looping & branching, so she wondered why programs could not be written as music. So she figured out a way to transform Western classical musical pieces to a precise form the machine can understand. So presumably her pupils can now intuitively recognize if a
program is correct by listening to it rather than painfully debugging the text in conventional code.


  1. I had a feeling inspiration for this story might have come from Doughlas Hofstadter's famous non-fiction book, "Godel, Eicher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid".

Fact sheet.

First published: Nature, 6 June 2013.
Download full text from publisher's site.
Rating: B.
Related: Stories of Tony Ballantyne.