Category Archives: Uncategorized

Gold Open Access publication: Is now the time?

While scientific papers were once available only to those willing to pay expensive fees to journal publishers, papers are now increasingly made available for free, as they enjoy some form of open access (OA)Not all forms of open access are the same, however. While the ACM SIGPLAN Executive Committee (of which I am the Chair) is generally happy with the OA rights SIGPLAN[ref]ACM SIGPLAN is the Association of Computing Machinery‘s Special Interest Group on Programming Languages.[/ref] authors currently enjoy, it may be time to push for even stronger rights. Reasonable people may disagree about the costs and benefits of such rights. As such, we would like your feedback (even if you are not a SIGPLAN member).

Please consider filling out this open access survey. It should take 5-10 minutes.

The remainder of this blog post discusses the issues in more depth. We invite your feedback!

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Filed under Policy, Process, Science, Uncategorized

The PL Enthusiast Turns One!

Our first post to this blog appeared on June 2, 2014, so that makes today our one year anniversary!

Birthday candles

It’s the PL Enthusiast’s 1-year birthday

In celebration of the occasion, this post takes a look back over the last year as well as a brief look to what’s ahead.

We’d love your feedback about what you’ve seen so far, and what you’d like to see (or contribute!) next.

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Formal Reasoning in PL and Crypto

In my last post, I summarized some of the topics and problems considered at a recent Dagstuhl seminar I co-organized on the Synergy between Programming Languages and Cryptography. The post surveyed how programming languages often interface with cryptography in the construction of secure systems, and in particular how they can make it easier to implement cryptography, use it, or verify its correctness.

Beyond using PLs as a tool for easier/safer use of Crypto, there is an opportunity for certain kinds of thinking, or reasoning, to cross over fruitfully between the PL an Crypto communities. In particular, both communities are interested in formalizing systems and proving properties about them but they often use different methods, either due to cultural differences, or because the properties and systems of interest are simply different. During the workshop we identified both analogous, similar styles of reasoning in two communities and connection points between the different styles of reasoning. In this post I briefly highlight a few examples of each, and point to future research opportunities.

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Filed under Formal verification, Program Analysis, Secure computation, Semantics, Software Security, Uncategorized

IEEE posts its top list of languages

In a funny coincidence following my last post on language adoption, the IEEE Spectrum in my mailbox today contained a pointer to IEEE’s version of the top N languages.

They use a variety of data sources, some of which overlap with the SocioPLT’s, e.g., counting projects on GitHub. Some sources are different, e.g., using Google and Twitter to count occurrences of “X programming” for a language X. The site allows you to create your own rankings to weigh the various data sources differently, e.g., to focus only on GitHub projects or to increase the weight of Google Trends.

Comparing the IEEE top twenty with the SocioPLT top twenty shows some interesting differences.

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ADS, generically, part II

This post is the second part of a post on using ideas from programming languages to assist the design of authenticated data structures (ADSs). I will describe a small programming language extension for building ADSs that I co-developed with Andrew Miller, Jonathan Katz, and Elaine Shi, called LambdaAuth. A paper on this language was presented at POPL’14 and the implementation is freely available.

As a word of warning, this post goes into some technical detail. The goal of doing so is to make, in detail, a general point: programming language researchers’ focus on ways of programming (often embodied as language features, patterns, transformations, or analyses), rather than particular programs, yields broadly applicable results, extending outside of the motivating examples or domain. In this case, LambdaAuth embodies a simple mechanism for programming any authenticated data structure, not just one particular kind.

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Filed under Secure computation, Software Security, Uncategorized

Welcome to the PL Enthusiast!

Welcome to our blog about research and developments in programming languages (PL) and their applications and connections to areas across science and technology!

We are Michael Hicks and Swarat Chaudhuri, professors in computer science at the University of Maryland and Rice University, respectively, and we both have a great passion for programming languages.

More about our background and the goals and origins of this blog are explained on the About page.

We are now working on a series of posts across several threads:

  • The role of PL in computer security
  • Comparing PL theory and theory developed in the Algorithms community
  • How PL can help us think about machine learning
  • Highlights and tutorials on emerging programming languages

Stay tuned to this space; we look forward to your comments and contributions!



Filed under Uncategorized