Almost a month ago I’ve attended an awesome FP conference – LambdaDays – that took place in Cracow, Poland. Suffice to say, event organized by Erlang Solutions was brilliant!
Some of the talks I’ve seen were fresh new, some I’ve seen previously – regardless most of them had high quality content, being both entertaining and keeping instructive form. Below I’m listing few that I found most interesting. All sessions were recorded and you can view them on the official youtube channel.
A bit of Functional Programming history
What history of Functional Programming can teach us? Apparently a lot. Both keynote “Why Functional Programming Matters” by John Hughes & Mary Sheeran as well as “Some History of Functional Programming Languages” by David Turner were superb! I’ve seen the former before, thus the later seemd more appealing. David’s talk was based on a paper, which I downloaded right after the presentation. It’s a marvelous read and you should give it a try. You will quickly learn that David Turner has amazing writing skills and you will read it more like a fiction book rather then academic paper.
“Finding Functional Pearls: Detecting Recursion Schemes in Haskell Functions via Anti-Unification”
Talk by Adam D. Barwell was interesting one since it touched concepts that I’m interested at the moment – recursion schemes. The team running under Prof. Kevin Hammond and Dr. Christopher Brown are researching parallel computations and how they can be improved by enhancing internal structures of the algorithms. With programs being written using recursion schemes (in the presentation they’ve used fold aka. catamorphism), changing the internal structure was the matter of providing different fold implementation. They’ve used an interesting technique – called anti-unification – to derive a recursion scheme for their recursive data structure. It’s a technique designed to derive least general generalization of two terms. It was a short, 20 min length talk – but very informative.
“The Origins of Free”
Presentation by Adam Warski was one of the talks I was anxious to see the moment it was published on the conference website. Adam made amazing job defining algebras and showing their relation to the theories behind programming languages. This was just the right amount of theory to bring my practical skills to the next level.
Practical Lambda Calculus
I’ve seen Jonas Winje & Einar Høst interactive session on Lambda Calculus two years ago. But I had to see it one more time. If you even slightly interested in Functional Programming, then you’ve probably seen at least one talk about Lambda Calculus before. Take my word on the fact that you haven’t seen anything yet. It is just a superb performance. They start of slow, it almost look like they are both unprepared for the session. But soon you realized it is just an act, part of the performance. Jonas created an Emacs mode that turned his text editor into Lambda Calculus IDE 🙂 Seeing those expressions being evaluated live is simply an eye opener – Lambda Calculus immediately seems natural and demystified.
Talks were amazing, but what I really valued were people I’ve met. Some old friends, some new friends, some people I only knew from Twitter before the conference. The “networking” is crucial factor when I evaluate the conference (I learn most in the lobby I guess) and LambdaDays rose to the occasion. Hope to see you all back soon!