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Simon Thompson
928 followers -
Functional programmer and writer in Erlang and Haskell
Functional programmer and writer in Erlang and Haskell

928 followers
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Is Haskell the right language for teaching functional programming principles?
The “park bench” panel at the Haskell eXchange yesterday talked about a lot of things, but some of them can be summarised by the question “ Is Haskell the right language for teaching functional programming principles? ”. The point about this is that no one ...
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Review of Graham Hutton's Programming in Haskell, 2e
Graham Hutton's Programming in Haskell  is a leading textbook on the functional programming language Haskell that first came out in 2007, and it is instructive to see how its second edition reflects what has changed over the last decade. A particular streng...
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Interested in applying formal reasoning (either mechanised or pencil-and-paper-style) to concurrent algorithms? Come to Kent
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Monitoring Distributed Systems – Lessons from the RELEASE project
The observer effect tells us that we cannot observe a system without disturbing it; on the other hand, without observation we are unable to correct, evolve or optimise systems. In this paper we first discuss the general question of observing distributed sys...
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Reminder … if you want to vote in the EU referendum, you need to be registered by 7 June … you can't just turn up and vote!
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Trustworthy Refactoring project
Research Associate Positions in Refactoring Functional Programs and Formal Verification (for CakeML)  The Trustworthy Refactoring project at the University of Kent is seeking to recruit postdoc research associates for two 3.5 year positions, to start in Sep...
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Some of you saw my recent posting on +Bootstrap's connection to Obama's announcement about computing education. I wanted to reflect a little on my own personal journey here, because I think it contains useful lessons, especially for young researchers.

Though Bootstrap is “only” about eight years old, its genesis is in much older programs created, from what I can tell, on this very day 21 years ago.

There are numerous things we did and have done, many of which seem antithetical to most of today's researchers:

• Take on something deeply unfashionable—almost career-killing—at the time, confident in our judgment that someday the rest of the world would come around to noticing.

• Stick with something for 21 years, rather than flit from fashionable area to fashionable area.

• Even within an area, ignore the fashions of the day. They will go just as surely as they came. Know what you believe in and stick with it.

• Don't sacrifice principles for market-share. Principles are enduring and help you make consistent judgments over a long term. Hunting for market-share leaves you flailing. (Even today, we remain isolated voices in mainstream computing education who do not think programming is merely a matter of teaching variables and loops.)

• Form teams of complementary strengths, rather than hogging the limelight.

• Evolve those strengths as time progresses. As our personnel have come and gone, I've moved from software to curriculum to textbooks to software to management and strategy.

I often speak to students at mentoring events, and I routinely run into students who really wish they could do things of similar scope and ambition. But, they tell me, everything is conspiring against them: the publication process, the job market, their advisor. I think they're wrong, and I think this is — for most of them — a convenient justification, nothing more. But for the handful who really mean what they say they want to do, I'm glad we have good counter-examples to the “quit early and often” strategy (I know Bootstrap is hardly an isolated example).

So, with thanks to:

+Matthias Felleisen, for kicking this off and leading by example
+Matthew Flatt and +Robby Findler, the dream-team
+Kathi Fisler, full-time co-conspirator
+Emmanuel Schanzer, charismatic and inspirational
+Emma Youndtsmith and +Rosanna Sobota, the ground-crew to our flight-crew
and all the other team members we've had along the way
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ThinkNation … Great upcoming event at the Canterbury campus of @UniKent @TheGulbenkian @ThinkNat 
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"Every step of the way, Erlang was rock solid and performant.” WhatsApp’s Co-Founder on How the App Became a Phenomenon
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