Hello World!

There is a convention in computer programming that the first thing you create is a “Hello World!” program. Not surprisingly, this is just a very simple program that does nothing but print out the text message “Hello World!”.

In some languages, such as Java, you have to do some work to write even this simplest of programs. Other languages, such as Javascript, make it much easier.

Right now we are setting up our virtual reality “Holodeck” at NYU. So our “Hello World!” program — our simplest possible implementation of a holodeck — is a program that lets someone walk around a single virtual cube that appears to float in the air.

If you can do just that much, then you can be fairly confident that you can build an entire virtual world for people to explore together.

So I guess in this case, “Hello World!” is literally “Hello World!”.

4 Responses to “Hello World!”

  1. Stephan Ahonen says:

    This made me think of all the other things that I have “hello world” type procedures for. The first thing I do with a new sound system is play a sine wave sweep through it, then progressively more complex signals (pink noise, then music) as I start wanting to evaluate its performance. The first thing I did with the Arduino I got was blink an LED (Hello World in morse code, obviously). I just bought an oscilloscope and a bench power supply and the first things I did were to look at a square wave and try arc welding (who says hello world can’t be exciting?)

    Seems like every technical craft has its own “hello world” equivalent, designed to ensure that there is enough understanding of the system to build further knowledge upon.

  2. sally says:

    need a post-doc? 😉

  3. admin says:

    Stephan: Excellent! I completely agree that there is a “Hello World!” for every discipline. Hence the sign in the guitar shop in “Wayne’s World”. 😉

  4. admin says:

    Sally: That’s an intriguing idea. It would require the right funding.

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