Category Archives: Interviews

Interview with Matt Might, Part 2

Matt Might at the White House, Jan 2015

Matt at the White House, Jan 2015

This post is the second part of my March 10th interview of Matt Might, a PL researcher and Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Utah.

In Part I, we talked about Matt’s academic background, his PL research (including his favorite among the papers he’s written), and his work on understanding and treating rare disease, which began with the quest to diagnose his son Bertrand, and has led to a role in the President’s Initiative on Precision Medicine.

In this post, our conversation continues, covering the topics of blogging, privacy, managing a crazy schedule, and looking ahead to promising PL research directions. Continue reading

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Filed under Bioinformatics, Interviews, Language adoption, Probabilistic programming, Program Analysis, Scientists, Software Security, Types

Interview with Matt Might

This post presents an interview I did on March 10th, 2015, with Matt Might, a PL researcher who is an Associate Professor in the School of Computing at the University of Utah.

Matt Might headshot

Matt Might

Matt has made strong scientific contributions to the field of programming languages, and he has done much more. He maintains an incredibly popular blog on wide-ranging topics (13 million pageviews since 2009 on topics from abstract interpretation to how to lose weight to how to be more productive). He has also become deeply committed to supporting people with rare diseases, including his own son, Bertrand, who was the first person diagnosed with NGLY1 deficiency. His work on rare disease propelled him to the White House: He met the President on January 31st, 2015, and he took a position in the Executive Office of the President to accelerate the implementation of the Precision Medicine Initiative on March 21st.

We had an engaging conversation covering all of these topics. It is too long for one post, so this post is the first of two. Continue reading

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Filed under Abstract interpretation, Bioinformatics, Dynamic languages, Interviews, Program Analysis, Science, Scientists

Interview with Facebook’s Peter O’Hearn

pete-1In this post, I interview Peter O’Hearn, programming languages professor, researcher, and evangelist. Peter now works at Facebook on the Infer static analyzer, which was publicly released back in June 2015. In this interview we take a brief tour of Peter’s background (including his favorite papers) and the path that led him and Infer to Facebook. We discuss how Infer is impacting mobile application development at Facebook, and what Peter hopes it can achieve next. Peter also shares some lessons he’s learned at Facebook regarding PL research and the sometimes surprising impact PL researchers can and are having on industrial software development.

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Filed under Interviews, PL in practice, Program Analysis, Scientists

Interview with Mozilla’s Aaron Turon

On the heels of Rust’s 1.0 release, we are pleased to be able to interview Mozilla’s Aaron Turon, a member of Rust’s core team (which is the leadership for the project that sets the overall direction). This is our third interview with a PL PhD working in industry.

Aaron Turon photo

Aaron Turon

What is your academic background?

I received my undergraduate degree at the University of Chicago, at a time where a lot of PL was happening (a lot of the folks who built or studied Standard ML were there); I did some research under John Reppy. After that, I went on to do a PhD at Northeastern University, which continues to have a thriving PL group; I was supervised by Mitchell Wand. Finally, I was a post-doc under Derek Dreyer at the Max Planck Institute for Software Systems (MPI-SWS).

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Interview with Go’s Russ Cox and Sameer Ajmani

In this post I interview Russ Cox and Sameer Ajmani, who work at Google on the Go programming language. They share with me their path to working on the language, what they find unique and valuable about it, and plans for it going ahead.

This continues our series on PhDs in industry working on programming languages (Avik Chaudhuri was the first). Thanks to Russ and Sameer for taking the time to share their experiences!

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Filed under Interviews, PL in practice

Teaching and Researching Programming Languages at a Liberal Arts College

During my tenure as a student and professor, I have been to many talks offering career advice to graduate students. Most of these talks focus on careers in research universities and industrial research labs, and leave out discussion of institutions, such as liberal arts colleges, that are primarily concerned with undergraduate education. This is unfortunate because many liberal arts colleges are highly selective institutions that offer exciting careers that mix research and teaching, albeit in a different way than careers in research universities.

One way to reduce the information deficit about liberal arts colleges is to report on the experiences of those who work at one. This is what we do in the present post. Specifically, I interview Steve Freund, who is a professor of computer science at Williams College, ranked by US News as the top liberal arts college in America. Steve is a highly successful PL researcher, known for his significant contributions to the analysis of concurrent programs. As a result, he is in a great position to give PL Enthusiast readers a view into what it’s like to be a teacher and researcher at a liberal arts institution. Continue reading

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Interview with Avik Chaudhuri

This is the first in a series of interviews we plan to do with programming languages researchers working in industry.

avik

In this post, I interview Facebook’s Avik Chaudhuri, who has worked on language implementations at Facebook and Adobe (and is an alumnus of our group here at PLUM). Thanks, Avik, for taking the time to do this!

The interview is broken into three parts: Background; Facebook’s new language, Flow; and reflections on the value of a PhD and the challenges of research in industry. Continue reading

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Filed under Interviews, PL in practice, Scientists, Types

Spotlight: Bill Harris

This post continues our series on up-and-coming PL researchers who are about to embark on independent research careers. This week, we feature Bill Harris, who will start as an assistant professor at Georgia Tech in Fall 2014. Continue reading

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Spotlight: Cindy Rubio Gonzalez

In this post, we continue our ongoing series on PL researchers who are about to start independent research positions. This week, we feature Cindy Rubio Gonzalez, who is starting as an assistant professor at the University of California, Davis in the Fall.

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Spotlight: Ravi Chugh

This post continues our ongoing series on young PL researchers who are about to start independent research positions in academia and research labs. This week, we  feature Ravi Chugh, who is starting as an assistant professor at the University of Chicago in the Fall. Continue reading

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Filed under Dynamic languages, Interviews, New scientists, Types