Classes, Styles, Conflicts: the Biological Realm of LaTeX

From LRDE

Abstract

The LaTeX world is composed of thousands of software components, most notably classes and styles. Classes and styles are born, evolve or die, interact with each othercompete or cooperate, very much as living organisms do at the cellular level. This paper attempts to draw an extended analogy between the LaTeX biotope and cellular biology. By considering LaTeX documents as living organisms and styles as viruses that infect them, we are able to exhibit a set of behavioral patterns common to both worlds. We analyze infection methods, types and cures, and we show how LaTeX or cellular organisms are able to survive in a world of perpetual war.

Documents

Bibtex (lrde.bib)

@InProceedings{	  verna.10.tug,
  author	= {Didier Verna},
  title		= {Classes, Styles, Conflicts: the Biological Realm of
		  {\LaTeX}},
  booktitle	= {TUGboat},
  issn		= 0896320,
  pages		= {162--172},
  year		= 2010,
  editor	= {Barbara Beeton and Karl Berry},
  volume	= 31,
  number	= 2,
  abstract	= {The \LaTeX{} world is composed of thousands of software
		  components, most notably classes and styles. Classes and
		  styles are born, evolve or die, interact with each other,
		  compete or cooperate, very much as living organisms do at
		  the cellular level. This paper attempts to draw an extended
		  analogy between the \LaTeX{} biotope and cellular biology.
		  By considering \LaTeX{} documents as living organisms and
		  styles as viruses that infect them, we are able to exhibit
		  a set of behavioral patterns common to both worlds. We
		  analyze infection methods, types and cures, and we show how
		  \LaTeX{} or cellular organisms are able to survive in a
		  world of perpetual war.}
}