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Kate Compton wrote the text expansion language Tracery as a class assignment in 2013. It got a 110%, and subsequently got picked up by a few thousand users who used it to build bots that suggest cocktails, create poetry, meditate on loneliness, or scream. This accidental language and its poetic programs opened a new interest in other very small languages, especially those that grow in unexpected places. Lets go on a walk through the strangest languages developed by mystics, poets, botanists, and choreographers, and discover the way that language design can be a meditative practice of seeing the world in new ways.
Kate Compton is an inventor, artist, zine-maker, accidental programming language maker, and now also a Professor of Instruction at Northwestern University's Computer Science department. Her mission is to bring AI to people that AI doesn't deserve by making accessible and open tools for unusual groups of users. Her biggest programming language contribution was creating Tracery, a text-generation language that has since become a favorite of Twitterbot-makers and novice programmers, as well as a great range of poets, musicians, kids, and weirdos looking to play with creative computing. She made the first version of Tracery in a week, and has spent the last seven years figuring out how to make a sequel.