Smoking and eating the flowers of the Thames 2014

bnr#73 => Smoking and eating the flowers of the Thames 2014

Regular Expressions

Object: 50 <
Date of origin: 1950s, 1960s
Author/inventor/context: Stephen implemented it within the QE editor. Cole Kleene. Ken Thompson.
Regular Expressions (regex) are programming language tools for parsing text through a user-determined pattern. They developed from automata-based methods of classifying formal languages and are present in all programming languages and many text editors & IDEs. From the perspective of a regex any corpus of characters in unicode or ASCII can be searched as 'text'. The definition of 'text' is legitimately expanded to encompass material from literature, to genomes, to compiler code. Knowledge of such a corpus's entirety is rendered unnecessary given the brute-force manner with which a regex determines matches and relations.

Stephen Fortune