Bottom-up Design: Growing a personal ecosystem of tools for creative coding

SYCL Talks Day (Sun) • 10:30 • Duration: 45m

“When was the last time you thought hard about something for an hour, a day, over the course of a month, an entire year?” – Rich Hickey (author of Clojure)

This talk is an experience report and learnings, illustrated via dozens of example projects, of my journey spanning 30+ years working with many platforms & languages to build my own personal ecosystem of libraries and tools, which are used daily (also by others) to deal with a wide range of topics related to creating design, art & music using computational, generative & evolutionary techniques. This includes interactive audio-visual installations, major branding projects, architecture, product design, digital fabrication, on-demand printing & rendering, data visualizations, sequencers, synthesizers etc.

Below the often glossy surfaces, these projects a standing on shoulders of various other homegrown purely technical projects dealing with UI/UX, interop (GPU, WASM), DSLs, VMs, data structures, (graph) data bases, query engines, code & parser generators, transpilers, plus towers of graphics & geometry processing, DSP, different programming paradigms (functional, concatenative, declarative, imperative, OOP) etc. - Learning about & working with all these disparate subjects has been one of the most fulfilling aspects of my professional life, as has been the privilege (as Rich Hickey pointed at), as well as the isolation of continuously working for years on a truly personal software technology stack to escape (for a large part) some of the craziness of the contemporary software world. The longest part of that journey is also closely linked to open source culture and the changing dynamics (good & bad) under way…