POPL in San Francisco

POPL in San Francisco was brilliant. My thanks to everyone who made it happen, particularly the authors and speakers. This year we tried an experiment, with three talks in an hour session (rather than three talks in an hour and a half, or four talks in two hours). I was delighted that all of the speakers worked hard to give a proper twenty minute talk, rather than cramming a thirty minute talk into twenty by speaking fast. Conor McBride deserves special mention for a superb performance of his pearl, 'Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right'. The comments I received on twenty minute talks and on pearls were positive, and I hope both will become POPL traditions.

One of the joys of the trip was sitting in the sun at Union Square, working on the blame calculus with Jacob Matthews, Amal Ahmed, and Robby Findler. Another was going on a Segway tour of Fisherman's Wharf with Robby. The photos show us on our Segways and in front of the Palace of Fine Arts.

I thought the 20-minute talk length was a very good thing (even if, unfortunately, a few speakers didn't seem prepared to keep themselves contained within that length...) Something I liked less about the conference was that it seemed that all the budget went towards the venue, at the cost of having any conference-related social events. I really noticed the lack of reception or conference dinner, and the lack of food during breaks forced missing talks to go get snacks elsewhere (at least for some). If the conference had been held at a hotel in, say, downtown Oakland, the overhead would have been lower and the view of downtown San Francisco would have been better (plus, it's 15 minutes away from downtown SF on BART.) Perhaps if a future POPL/ICFP/etc. is held in the Bay Area, the organizers will consider Oakland as a venue.
Given the new pairing of Wadler and
Findler, let me propose that the
next run of PLT shirts feature
a modified logo: the PLT lambda
decorated "a la Church", say,
x:\tau. :-)

-- Paul
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