Given that most of us aren’t professional web developers or computer scientists, it can be easy to think of coding as an abstract thing that goes on behind the walls of Silicon Valley startups. The truth is coding touches our lives every day. There are the obvious examples - your phone, this website, your seamless Amazon Prime shopping experience, etc. Then there are the less-obvious examples, this blog is dedicated to pointing out a few of the more iconic but lesser known examples of coding in the real world.
One Times Square, NY, NY Considered one of the most valuable advertising locations in the world, the billboards at One Times Square are responsible for generating 11% of NYC’s annual economic output. These giant LED billboards are effectively just massive computer monitors projecting Adobe files. Each of the individual modules has its own processor that coordinates with the rest of the modules to create one huge seamless image. The whole thing is internet-connected, too, so it can be controlled remotely. So if you were ever wondering how these massive advertisements work, the answer is code.
Cloud Gate, Chicago, Illinois Weighing in at 110 tons, this iconic Chicago landmark wouldn’t have been possible without the help of computer modeling. Since the sculpture was expected to be outdoors, the designers were concerned that it might retain and conduct heat in a way that would make it too hot to touch during the summer and so cold that one's tongue might stick to it during the winter. The extreme temperature variation between seasons was also feared to weaken the structure. Computer scientists developed complex models to determine what materials were safe to use to avoid these issues.
Supertree Grove, Singapore Part of Gardens by the Bay in South Singapore, an initiative that merges natural flora and fauna with inspiring architecture in the city’s premier public outdoor urban recreation space, the Supertree Grove is a beautiful marriage of technology and nature. Between 82 ft and 160 ft tall, the Supertrees function as vertical gardens and at night they provide beautifully intricate light shows. These light shows are created by programs written in code - the same code you can learn by playing with the Hack computer.