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YOW! Connected 2016 Kris Howard - Knit One, Compute One #YOWConnected

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Published on Feb 12, 2017

Can a programming language describe art? Is knitting Turing complete? And just how many bytes of data does the average knitted scarf hold, anyway?

These are the questions that motivate Kris as both a knitter and a technologist. As an art form, knitting is inherently binary - just knit and purl. That means you can use sticks and string to encode data in a lot of different ways - like recording the day’s weather, noting enemy troop movements, or even knitting a computer virus. But that’s just the start! Through the act of knitting, the crafter becomes a kind of human CPU, utilising objects and data structures (needles) and free memory (ball of wool) to implement instructions (the pattern). Knitting patterns themselves are very similar to computer languages, with new syntax proposals emerging with innovative constructs and even compilers.

If you thought knitting was just an old-fashioned hobby for grandmas, this talk will open your eyes to the many ways this traditional craft is still relevant in the digital age. (And no, you don’t need to know how to knit!)

Kris Howard has been building websites in one form or another for over twenty years. She’s been a developer, a business analyst, and a manager at technology startups in the UK and Australia, most recently at Canva in Sydney. She now heads up Developer Relations for YOW Conferences, meeting and working with developers around Australia. In her spare time she knits and sews, hacks on her personal sites, and helps organise events for the local Girl Geeks chapter. Her Instagram account is pretty much all selfies and food.

For more on YOW! Connected, visit http://connected.yowconference.com.au

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