Pictures created from food

Spotted by Robby Findler. They are the creations of Carl Warner, who calls them Foodscapes (click through the orange square). Thanks to plragde for the link to the originals.



QML: Explicit first-class polymorphism for ML

Claudio Russo and Dimitris Vytiniotis, QML: Explicit first-class polymorphism for ML, ML Workshop, Edinburgh, August 2009.

This simple solution is along different lines than ML^F, FPH, and HML. I like the idea of allowing both explicit and implicit quantification, which was explored years ago by O'Toole and Gifford. I'm surprised that to make it work they needed to avoid permitting bound variables to be in scope, so their explicit constructs look (alas) quite different than the type abstraction and application of System F. I'd always thought that having 'rigid' type variables in explicit types was a good idea, but this paper makes an intriguing case otherwise.


The SIGSOFT Impact Project

As incoming Chair of SIGPLAN, one of my objectives is to explain to governments and the public why programming languages are important. Shiram Krishnamurthi points out to me that SIGSOFT has an Impact project with similar goals, and has produced several journal papers, including The impact of software engineering research on modern progamming languages.




A visual programming language based on decision tables. This video describes unifying conditionals, switch statements, and polymorphism. Although the author, Jonathan Edwards, never mentions it, the language appears to be functional (although he compiles into Java).



George Monbiot: Captive Knowledge

Monbiot's Heat is my favorite book on climate change. Here is a column of his, pointing out to the general public the unwelcome, and potentially disastrous, government shift toward emphasizing 'economic impact' in research funding. Many academics make the same case, but it is good to someone outside the academic community backing this position.
Picture Charles Darwin trying to fill out his application form before embarking on the Beagle. "Explain how the research has the potential to impact on the nation's health, wealth or culture. For example: fostering global economic performance, and specifically the economic competitiveness of the United Kingdom ... What are the realistic timescales for the benefits to be realised?" If Darwin had been dependent on a grant from a British research council, he would never have set sail.
Spotted by Maurice Naftalin. Thanks, Maurice!

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