General

MOOC: Paradigms of Computer Programming

The Université catholique de Louvain has joined the edX consortium this year, and as part of edX Peter Van Roy is preparing a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) called Paradigms of Computer Programming starting next February.

As you'd expect the course uses the CTM book and is based on the course Peter has been teaching, it will thus present a multi-paradigm approach to programming and include non-traditional computational models such as the deterministic dataflow model for concurrent programming.

I wonder who will end up signing up for this course. I think the option of auditing might appeal to folks who found CTM interesting but are way beyond the category of beginning programmers for whom the course is officially designed.

John C. Reynolds Doctoral Dissertation Award (SIGPLAN)

Presented annually to the author of the outstanding doctoral dissertation in the area of Programming Languages. The award includes a prize of $1,000. The winner can choose to receive the award at ICFP, OOPSLA, POPL, or PLDI.

Nominations must be submitted to the secretary of SIGPLAN by January 5th 2014 to be considered for this year's award. The nominated dissertation must be available in an English language version to facilitate evaluation by the selection committee and have been awarded in the year 2013.

I know of some outstanding dissertations. I am sure you do to. So why not nominate them for this honor (for further details see here)?

On the history of the question of whether natural language is “illogical”

A nice essay from Barbara Partee on the origins of formal semantics of natural languages and Montague Grammar.

Not directly programming language material, the topic is likely to interest many here. I think several interesting previous discussions related to Montague can be found by searching the archives.

John C. Reynolds, 1935-2013

Randy Bryant, dean of the school of computer science at CMU, sent out an email saying that John C. Reynolds passed away yesterday.

Subject: In Memoriam. John Reynolds, June 1, 1935 - April 28, 2013
Date: Sun, 28 Apr 2013 21:45:12 -0400
From: Randy Bryant
To: scs-all@cs.cmu.edu

I'm sorry to announce that John Reynolds, a long-time member of our computer science faculty, passed away early this morning. Many of you know that John had been in declining health recently. We were able to celebrate his retirement him last summer. He had a heart attack last week and went downhill over a period of several days.

John got his PhD in 1961 in theoretical physics, but while working at Argonne National Laboratory came to realize that his passion was for computation. He became a very successful computer scientists, focusing on the logical foundations of programs and programming languages. He was at Syracuse University from 1970 to 1986 and then joined the CSD faculty.

John has made many important contributions over his career. Interestingly, his 2002 work on separation logic, done jointly with Peter O'Hearn and others, has been especially prominent. Separation logic provides a formal way to reason about what we might think of as "normal programs," i.e., ones that operate by changing the values stored in memory, but where memory is partitioned into independent blocks, and so we can reason about different program components independently. I can only hope that the work I do at age 67 would be counted among my best!

We will also remember John for this cheerful spirit, his high ethical standards, and his deep intellect. He will very much be missed.

Randy Bryant

It's probably impossible to overstate the impact that John had on the field of programming languages. But beyond being a great scholar, he was also a generous mentor and a fundamentally decent and kind human being. He will indeed very much be missed.

Socio-PLT: Principles for Programming Language Adoption

In their survey paper and their website, Leo Meyerovich and Ari Rabkin take Jared Diamond approach to explaining Programming Language adoption.

Why do some programming languages fail and others succeed? What does the answer tell us about programming language design, implementation, and principles? To help answer these and other questions, we argue for examining the sociological groundings of programming language theory: socio-PLT.
Researchers in the social sciences have studied adoption in many contexts. We show how their findings are applicable to programming language design.

There are also videos of talks available from Splash 2012 and Google Tech Talks.

See also previous discussions.

Ada 2012 Language Standard Approved by ISO

December 18, 2012 - The Ada Resource Association (ARA) and Ada-Europe today announced the approval and publication of the latest version of the Ada programming language by the Geneva-based International Organization for Standardization (ISO). The language revision, known as Ada 2012, was under the auspices of ISO/IEC JTC1/SC22/WG9 and was conducted by the Ada Rapporteur Group (ARG) subunit of WG9, with sponsorship in part from the ARA and Ada-Europe. The formal approval of the standard was issued on November 20 by ISO/IEC JTC 1, and the standard was published on December 15.

I am glad to say that the major area of improvement is the ability to specify contracts, something I was urging the Ada community to do back in 2002. The new features include the ability to specify preconditions and postconditions for subprograms, and invariants for private types. Another important area that received attention in this iteration is multi-core programming.

So if you are serious about mission critical software, head on to the web site and see what you have been missing.

ACM Sigplan Outstanding Dissertation Award

I got the following from Susan Eisenbach. I know several LtU regulars who should definitely be in the short list for this award! Please note the January 3rd deadline and make sure you (or your students) are nominated. As noted in the announcement, earning awards such as these can have significant and positive effects on ones career.

I would like to draw your attention to the Sigplan Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award. If you are either a recent PhD graduate or a supervisor of such a graduate can I suggest you consider applying? Obtaining such an award makes a person stand out when applying for academic positions.

Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award

Presented annually to the author of the outstanding doctoral dissertation in the area of Programming Languages. The award includes a prize of $1,000. The winner can choose to receive the award at ICFP, OOPSLA, POPL, or PLDI.

Selection Committee The chair of the selection committee is a member of the EC appointed by the SIGPLAN chair. Other committee members are selected by the chair of the selection committee with approval of the SIGPLAN chair. The SIGPLAN Chair is an ex officio member of the committee and shall adjudicate conflicts of interest, appointing substitutes to the committee as necessary.

Nominations Nominations must be submitted to the secretary of SIGPLAN by January 3rd to be considered for that year's award. The nominated dissertation must be available in an English language version to facilitate evaluation by the selection committee.
A nomination should consist of the following items:
• Name, address, phone number, and email address of the person making the nomination (the nominator).
• Name, address, phone number, and email address of the candidate for whom an award is recommended (the nominee).
• A short statement (200-500 words) explaining why the nominee deserves the award in question.
• Supporting statements from up to two people in addition to the nominator.

Rob Pike on Go at Google

Not a lot here on Go at Google really. Mostly a general overview of the language, whose major selling point seems to be that it was designed by famous people and is in use at Google.

Milner Symposium 2012

The Milner Symposium 2012 was held in Edinburgh this April in memory of the late Robin Milner.

The Milner Symposium is a celebration of the life and work of one of the world's greatest computer scientists, Robin Milner. The symposium will feature leading researchers whose work is inspired by Robin Milner.

The programme consisted of academic talks by colleagues and past students. The talks and slides are available online.

I particularly liked the interleaving of the personal and human narrative underlying the scientific journey. A particularly good example is Joachim Parrow's talk on the origins of the pi calculus. Of particular interest to LtU members is the panel on the future of functional programming languages, consisting of Phil Wadler, Xavier Leroy, David MacQueen, Martin Odersky, Simon Peyton-Jones, and Don Syme.

Strange Loop 2012 Video Schedule

The schedule is here.

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