Tuesday, May 25, 2010


It's a been a god few months for paper publishing (and I have been a little lax about reporting on it): "Encoding Ownership types in Java" (with James Noble) has been accepted to TOOLS, "Towards a Semantic Model for Java Wildcards" (with Alex Summers, Maraingiola Dezani-Ciancaglini, and Sophia Drossopoulou) has been accepted to FTfJP, and "Tribal Ownership" with James Noble and Tobias Wrigstad has been accepted to OOPSLA. Which all makes me very pleased indeed! I think they are all good work, and I very much enjoyed working on them, learning a lot from my collaborators in the process - thanks guys!

These papers should be appearing shortly on my research page.

Thursday, May 13, 2010


A blog posting day today. This one has been swirling in my mind for a while actually.

Robert O'callahan (Mozilla) gave a talk at Vic recently (blog link), in essence, on the impact of one's work in the world. I missed the talk, but read the slides and had a chat with Rob about this, and it got me thinking. A lot.

What impact does my work have? Well as a theoretical researcher, I'm used to the answer being none. And I've been pretty comfortable with that, I get satisfaction from the intellectual challenge, rather than the real-world impact. If one of my ideas trickles down into something useful one day, then that is a bonus.

But, thinking about this a bit more, impact is like risk - it's a two dimensional idea, in the case of impact, there is magnitude (how many people, how much you impact each person) and 'positivity' (I can't think of a better name, I mean how positive the effect is). I've always thought in terms of magnitude, implicitly assuming I would be making things better, not worse (no intention of doing research for the military, for example). But I think it is important to think in terms of both - one should strive to make one's impact better, as well as bigger.

Not sure what any of this means in practical terms, but it is a musing in the spirit of the blog's name.

UK elections - postscript

So, a dissapointing showing for the lib-dems after predictions of greatness. But a tory-lib-dem coaliation is probably the best result that could be hoped for. Insha'allah, the lib-dems will temper the uglier side of conservative social policy, but the tories will get to fix the economy (whatever that means). On the other hand, it could all fall apart in a few months, time will tell. At least Labour are out of power (if you told me ten years ago that I'd be saying that, I'd have laughed in your face). Hopefully, the kicking will be taken for a comment on the home (civil liberties, "broken Britain" stuff) and foreign (war) policies of the last few years. We should remember that, Labour did a lot of good things for the country too...

Fingers crossed for some good things from the new boys (talking of which, it really is boys, where are all the powerful female ministers?), and hopefully proper voting reform at some stage...