As conferences get older, they tend to require a greater burden of proof. Program committees reject papers as "too early", and want more demonstrations that the ideas are sound. This is why conferences tend to lose the excitement of the early days.

Onward! is a conference that focuses on innovative ideas about software. The program committee is looking for ideas that, if they succeed, will make a big impact. Though the committee has to be convinced that the idea is reasonable, it is less concerned with proof than other program committees. Essays and full papers are due April 20, and short papers are due June 26. Onward! is also looking for workshop proposals and films. See http://www.onward-conference.org/

Essays are an unusual and noteworthy part of Onward! An Onward! essay is a thoughtful reflection about some aspect of sofftware technology. Its goal is to help the reader to share a new insight, engage with an argument, or wrestle with a dilemma.

Some of the essays that have appeared at Onward! are

Although Onward! was originally a part of OOPSLA, and is being colocated with it this year, you can see from these papers that it is not restricted to object-oriented programming, or even programming languages. However, it gives a welcome reception to new ideas in programming languages, so if you have something new that you'd like to promote, I urge you to consider submitting it to Onward!

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I am glad to see Ralph

I am glad to see Ralph posted this announcement, as I was thinking I should post about Onward myself.

Last time around I started writing, but eventually felt my essay wasn't good enough to send in. This year I am way too busy, but I encourage some of our more polemic contributors to make use of this opportunity.

Onward! is definitely fun,

Onward! is definitely fun, one of the more interesting tracks in OOPSLA. However, I'm sorry to see its status has changed from OOPSLA track to collocation. I think OOPSLA was never really just about objects, but rather also about bringing PL technologies closer to mainstream programmers. ONWARD is more about crazy ideas that don't really fit in with the more formal and conservative approaches of the other PL communities.

So how about it?

What we be the title of your (PL related) entry, if you actually sat down to write one?

The Physics of Programming.

The Physics of Programming. Too bad I've got a demo to finish by May.

Finding once-a-year

Finding once-a-year concurrency bugs is provably easy and how to do it.

Sounds like a winner to me...

Sounds like a winner to me...

You'd probably want to cut

You'd probably want to cut down the title a bit :)

You mean so as not to

You mean so as not to promise more than you can deliver? ;-)

You need to keep people

You need to keep people engaged :) I want to do a better case study and better develop and ground the statistical models, but basically there's some interesting phenomena that occurs when you try to parallelize large code bases (e.g., if you talk to any of the guys at http://www.azulsystems.com/ scaling enterprise Java stuff) that impacts what you want in a production system (e.g., why cheap record, good replay or backslicing, and system-level harnesses are becoming more important), how you build your bug-finding tools (which is my focus on it), and even languages (e.g., strong determinism might be excessive in terms of ROI relative to other techniques).

I'm a slow writer, so while I might have one talk at OOPSLA, don't expect this one :)