Mathias Jean Johansen

Curry On: A Retrospective

This year’s Curry On conference in Rome ended last night, and it was certainly worth the trip. While I saw a fair amount of presentations throughout the conference, I’d like to briefly touch upon a few of my favorite ones in this blog post.

The Racket Manifesto by Matthias Felleisen was a good reminder that I need to spend more time with Racket. It is a deeply flexible language, and it is clear that countless hours have been spent refining it. Both Peter O’Hearn’s talk Move Fast to Fix More Things, and Dave Herman’s talk thoroughly examined their transitions from academia to industry, and how Facebook, and Mozilla have benefited from research with Infer, and Rust, respectively. It is projects like these that demonstrate how cooperation between the industry, and academia can truly lead to advancements in our field.

I also found Crista Lopes’s presentation on Exercises in Programming Style extremely entertaining. In the presentation, she essentially went through a large range of different programming styles from imperative to continuation-passing style, and it seemed somewhat reminiscent of The Evolution of a Haskell Programmer by Fritz Ruehr from Willamette University which was also a joy to read.

Rascal: the Swiss Army Knife of Meta Programming by Tijs van der Storm was an interesting presentation too. Although, I found the syntax to be a bit peculiar, it was obvious that Rascal truly enables non-trivial metaprogramming tasks to be solved almost effortlessly. The source-to-source Java transformation in the presentation impressed me, and certainly made me interested in the language. Finally, Cristina Cifuentes’s presentation Are We Ready for Secure Languages? greatly illustrated how we should start thinking security into our languages rather than adding security measures as an afterthought.

In addition to the numerous marvelous talks, I also found the conference to be extremely sympathetic. It was quite clear that the organizers had put an effort into encouraging diversity which I greatly appreciated, and I think the conference succeeded tremendously in enabling a conversation between academia, and the industry. Finally, it did not hurt that this was the venue:

Pontifical Gregorian University

Next year, Curry On will be held in Barcelona, and I hope I’ll be able to attend again.