Portrait photo of Alaina Kafkes

Alaina Kafkes

When Chomsky Met JavaScript: Exploring the Linguistics Behind Regular Expressions

Regular expressions are one of the most mind-boggling programming techniques, but much of their mystery can be elucidated by tracking down how they made it into JavaScript in the first place. In this talk, I’ll tell the story of the regular expression, from its humble linguistic origins to its awe-inspiring power in modern programming languages like JavaScript. Once I reveal to the audience the linguistic theory behind regular expressions, they’ll feel empowered to start writing some of their own.