Friday, 4 April 2008

ACCU 2008 (day 2)

Day two of the ACCU 2008 conference... another barrage of technical information and geeky entertainment.

The Keynote: Simon Peyton Jones

Thursday's timetable had a refreshing functional programming track, which was headlined by Simon Peyton Jone's keynote: Caging the Effects Monster. Great stuff. I can only admire the man for being a fellow bare foot presenter! Simon took us on an entertaining journey into functional programming and how it can be used to minise the risks of "effects" (or rather, dangerous side-effects) in our software. He also made amusing reference to my "object tickling" metaphor from the presentation I gave yesterday.

We saw how the "useful but dangerous" languages are gaining more "pure" functional capabilities and the "useless but safe" pure functional languages are gaining "side-effect"s to get actually stuff done.

Joe Armstrong unpacks Erlang

The functional programming track continued with Joe Armstrong (self-confessed quirky Englishman) explaining the motivation for Erlang, and finishing with an 11 minute introduction to the language syntax delivered in minutes.

Favourite Armstrong quotes:
  • the operating system is for the stuff they forgot to put in the programming language
  • designing code for fault tolerance is the same things as designing code to scale
  • No one's ever done an MRI scan of the brain whilst you're writing a concurrent program
  • I'll do the 11 minute introduction to Erlang in about 5 minutes, and then do a 1 minute encore
  • Defensive programming is evil - you don't do any defensive programming in Erlang
Later the day included John Lakos on a heroic romp through 564 slides in 90 minutes whilist providing a classification model for objects, in order to aid testing, and to validate the new C++ scoped allocator model.

The conference sessions closed with a geeky version of Just a Minute. Great fun, and I'm obliged to mention it mostly because not only was I on the panel, I won :-)

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