Archive for November, 2012

Recent conferences

Sunday, November 25th, 2012

Over the last few months I have been to conferences to talk about what I’ve been doing the last year and a half (which is working on Grace; more below).

A large cactus

Most recently I was at SPLASH in Tucson, Arizona last month, presenting “Patterns as Objects in Grace“, and also an author on “Grace: The Absence of (Inessential) Difficulty“. Major takeaways from the location were that Arizona is orange and that I really didn’t appreciate the scale of cactus (pictured). I think the presentation went well and there was some interesting discussion sparked from it.

Before that I was a last-minute fill-in at Strange Loop in St Louis in September, talking about Grace in general at the Emerging Languages Camp. There will be a video of my talk available, apparently on February 25. I don’t have any pictures from St Louis because basically the whole time I was there was occupied by the conference itself, but I did go past the Gateway Arch on the way from the airport — it is bigger than I expected. Strange Loop was a great conference full of interesting sessions, and really well organised. I highly recommend it to anyone who gets the opportunity. It’s a shame it’s so far away and I probably won’t get to go there again.

Beijing Olympic Stadium

Even further back in June I was at ECOOP/PLDI in Beijing, presenting at STOP but mostly just attending. There were some interesting sessions there as well. I didn’t get to do much tourism while I was there, but I did get to the nearby Olympic stadium. It was an interesting location for the European Conference on Object-Oriented Programming, and one I probably wouldn’t have been to otherwise

Although there was value in all of these conferences I am glad to be back home for the foreseeable future. What I’ve been talking about at them is my work with Grace, a new object-oriented language aimed at education, and especially my work on implementing the language in my Minigrace compiler. The compiler is available both in tarball form and on Github, and should work on any POSIX-compatible system (including Cygwin and Mac OS X). It includes all the pattern-matching work I talked about as well as most of the rest of the language. It’s all at the experimental stage still, but it is complete enough to compile itself and a variety of other programs, though it doesn’t always do quite what you want. There’s also an online client-side frontend compiling to JavaScript, which actually runs the same source code as the native compiler. I’m still working on developing, extending, and writing about the compiler as part of my PhD research at Victoria University of Wellington.