Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Ecoop '09

Ah, ECOOP is here again. This year, the world's sweatiest conference on object-oriented programming is being held in Genova, Italy. It's a lovely city full of very old and expensive-looking buildings, mostly old palaces - I am amazed that there could be so many palaces in one city! The conference is being held in one such palace and it is an awe-inspiring place for a conference - the conference room would suit the Queen better than a bunch of shabby academics. The food is also much better than normal - even the coffee is drinkable. On the downside, there is no aircon, so it is very hot and sweaty, there are not enough power points, the wifi has issues, and there are three toilets to be shared amongst 200 or so delegates - not good. It is also expensive, but hey.

I arrived on friday and headed to the aquarium, which was amazing. Dolphins, sharks, turtles, penguins, seals, and many, many fish - it was great to hang out with underwater stuff again. Also hummingbirds which were so cool, buzzing around and hovering and twisting around in the air, one of the nicest things I've seen really.

I then met up with Dave Clarke and the Swedes (although Dave is really swedish, it just doesn't say that in his passport), it was great to catch up with everyone, just a shame Nik and Maria weren't sticking around for the conference.

So, in the next few posts I'll go over some of the talks that I enjoyed. But first some general impressions: much less language design stuff - there are barely any formal systems in the proceedings and those are not really proposing new features. SToP (Scripts To Programs) was the most popular workshop, and gradual/hybrid typing seems to be very much in fashion right now. Ownership seems to be losing peoples' interest - which makes me sad, but I guess there has been a lot of work in the area. In fact I would say people are looking beyond static type systems in general a lot more (although there is still lots of interest in verification). Effects seems to be everywhere though, or at least effect-like things, which made me think of effects. A lot of empirical studies of one kind or another are around. Dynamic languages (not just dynamic typing) seem to be popular, and reflection in particular is getting talked about (although I haven't seen any papers). Much fewer industry poeple, although I guess that is to be expected with the economy, and ECOOP hasn't had a strong industry presence for a while. More people have multiple papers.

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