Category Archives: Announcements

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Feedback for this course: Advances in Programming Languages
All surveys on MyEd: Course Enhancement Questionnaires
Reports from previous years: Student Course Feedback

PL News

I’m going to count this as course-relevant news. Barack Obama has announced this year’s recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Two of those recognised are for their work on advancing computer science: Grace Hopper and Margaret Hamilton.

Bill and Melinda Gates are in there, too, but that’s for the philanthropic work of the Gates Foundation rather than anything specifically related to computing or programming languages.


Guest Lecture: Andrew Kennedy

The Hack Programming Language:
Types for PHP

Andrew Kennedy

3–4pm Friday 18 November
Gaddum Lecture Theatre G.8
1 George Square

Facebook’s main website, ads platform, and much of its internal tooling is implemented in PHP, a language not known for elegance or best practice in programming language design. (See, for example.) Over the last three years Facebook has embarked on an ambitious project to migrate its code base to Hack, which takes the syntax of PHP, removes the worst features, and adds static typing and modern constructs for asynchronous programming and typed UI components. In this talk I will focus on Hack’s type system, which combines ML-like type inference, object-oriented generics in the style of C# or Java, and flow-based typing of local variables.


Andrew Kennedy is a software engineer at Facebook London working on the Hack team. Before joining Facebook in January this year he spent 16 years at Microsoft Research, during which time he helped design and implement the generics feature for the .NET Common Language Runtime and polymorphic units-of-measure inference for the F# programming language, in addition to making many research contributions in type systems, semantics, formal verification and compilation.

CertiKOS / Advances in Java

These are the links I gave at the close of yesterday’s lecture: two APL-related things that came up last week and I think interesting to look at.

CertiKOS: Certified OS Kernels

Project: CertiKOS
Press Release: Yale News

This is a project out of the FLINT group at Yale, building large verified systems. CertiKOS is a toolkit for building operating system kernels, hypervisors, and embedded systems. It’s part of the DeepSpec initiative and linked to DARPA HACMS and SAFE.

Java Language and Platform Futures — A Sneak Peek

Talk: Video

This is a talk by Brian Goetz at the Devoxx 2016 conference in Antwerp last week. He’s “Java Language Architect” at Oracle, and has been involved in a lot of the advances in the Java language over the last ten years. In the presentation he talks about some ideas that are under development to be part of the language in a year or two.

Ada Lovelace Day 2016

Ada Lovelace Day graphicTuesday 11 October is Ada Lovelace Day, and the University of Edinburgh is hosting a series of events in the Main Library. There’s no APL lecture in the afternoon: come along and help improve Wikipedia.

  • AM: Guest talks, activities, building things
  • PM: Women in STEM Wikipedia edit-a-thon

Link: Event description and booking

Ada Lovelace Day is an international celebration day of the achievements of women in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). It aims to increase the profile of women in STEM and, in doing so, create new role models who will encourage more girls into STEM careers and support women already working in STEM.

Links: Ada Lovelace Day; Map of events worldwide

To find out more about Ada Lovelace and her impact on computing — including programming — then I recommend watching these.

Still from BBC programme Calculating Ada: The Countess of Computing
BBC documentary on the life and work of Ada Lovelace.
Link: Full video with EASE login
Title image for Gresham Lecture The Scientific Life of Ada Lovelace
Public lecture by Prof. Ursula Martin for the Lovelace bicentenary.
Links: Lecture; Youtube

“It may be desirable to explain, that by the word operation, we mean any process which alters the mutual relation of two or more things, be this relation of what kind it may. This is the most general definition, and would include all subjects in the universe.”

Ada Lovelace, 1842, identifying the
scope of application for a programmable computer

Programming Languages Interest Group

When 1pm Thursday 29 September
Where IF 2.33, Informatics Forum

PLInG is an informal meeting series for Informatics students and staff interested in programming languages. It’s organized by James Cheney and Michel Steuwer with meetings every fortnight or so.

All are welcome to attend, and the format is flexible: with presentations of work in progress, interesting recent papers, reports from conferences, or discussion with visitors. This first meeting is to make plans for the semester and hear trip reports from those just back from last week’s International Conference on Functional Programming (ICFP) in Japan.

Links: Meeting schedule; Mailing list