ilc07 report

Well, ilc07 was pretty fabulous. The setting and the weather was unfeasibly beautiful. (I found/find it interesting that a not insignificant number of people were compelled to invoke Harry Potter in response.) The organisation was great, and the papers and presentations of a pretty consistently high standard. My notes follow. They will make most sense to those who were there, I guess.

Day 1

MPS: Disappointingly too much reminiscing about dead projects. I didn’t mind the business anecdotes (although the frogs were unnecessary). The MPS system itself seems very interesting, but I felt we got only the merest glimpse.

Debugging: OK. Interesting that there seems little difference between a commercial lisp and something like SBCL. ll (low-level language, as opposed to LAP) seems an ideal target to which to compile C…

Day 2

Lisp: Themes and History: A presentation in two parts. The first a fascinating piece of lisp archeology. (LISP looked real ugly pre-parens.) The second a quick overview of semantically-preserving rewrite rules to compile lisp to a machine independent LAP. But why?

Constraint Propagation: Probably very good, but I didn’t understand why I should care. As Christophe Rhodes has already mentioned, a number of the talks lacked the slide on the motivation for the research/approach/product/technique.

Binary DSL in Dylan: Engaging presenters. Two takeaways: there is life in Dylan yet, and procedural macros rule.

FREEDIUS: Looked cool, but what is it for? (I wonder if it can track a ball in real time?)

ESA: I enjoyed it (: Very useful for when you need that instant gui gratification.

Ltk: Like ECLM’06 but with Tetris!

Gene Expressions: Very dynamic, but didn’t understand a word. Cyrus gets the prize for blatantly ignoring the timekeeper.

Teaching CS: Great presentation. I’ll never read LiSP the same way again.

R6RS: Nicely presented, but it really did make Scheme seem the amateur little brother of Common Lisp. Square brackets? Case sensitivity?

Next 700 Libraries: I found this fascinating, but it seems some people have missed the point: it is a message of great optimism to demonstrate that automated assistance in the conversion of existing, substantial, documented and test-enhanced Java libraries is feasible.

Day 3

CL-HTTP: A report from a piece of the lisp world which seems to have been becalmed for the last 10 to 15 years… Very odd.

SC: S-expression-based C. Excellent slides. Who knew the future of C was sexps?

Crosscuts: A nice presentation, not least for introducing me to “the tyranny of the dominant decomposition”.

Inter-domain Network Management: Key point: rewriting everything in Lisp was the only way of reducing the errors introduced by the C and Perl modules.

CL-SNA: Next year’s ECLM in Istanbul should be a blast.

DAUTI in Scheme: Using such standard Scheme facilities as structs and macros, it took the author three evenings to get this going. Why so long?

Classification: Bayes meets Shannon. Probability meets belief. Umm, OK.

LispWorks Demo: And here’s one I made earlier. Frankly, it didn’t make me jump out of my seat (or some other appropriate Simon Cowellism…)

Dynamic Memory Management: A highly accomplished presentation from someone who really understands both the subject and the state of the art. Impressive.

ALU meeting: I will pass over this except to say (i) Europe and the ALU seem to be going their separate ways, and (ii) Rusty, I voted for you!

Day 4

HOP: Highly professional presentation backed up by 2-300k lines of scheme code. Something to explore one day.

Racer OWL: Description Logics are different from Object Orientation. Or Ontological Orientation. Or something.

List Comprehensions: LOOP!

CLforJava: Might have been better to take his own advice and not explain CLOS and MOP to the group. (Geoff — what’s wrong with “close”?)

Google SoC Lunch: Everyone hates Kenny…

DADTs: I missed the beginning of this, so it rather passed me by.

XMLisp: AgentCubes is very pretty. Which can’t be a bad thing…

Extensible Sequences: Five implementations and counting. Christophe dealt nicely with some heckling from the pensioners’ seats.

Liskell: Sexps are good for what ails you; Haskell means not having to write tests; and some very cute examples.

Scalable Lisp Applications: Some of this was interesting, but I came away with an impression much like Luke Gorrie’s, I’m afraid. (Now there’s a smart guy.)

Of course, the really cool stuff happened outside the conference room. But that’s another story.

One Response to “ilc07 report”

  1. I read your comments with interest. (I have also read every one of the feedback forms from ILC ’07). I will definitely address all of these issues!

    — Dan Weinreb, General Chair, ILC ’09

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