Wednesday, 9 July 2008

ECOOP'08 day 1

The first day is over and what a day it was. I really enjoyed it.

We started off with Rachid Guerraoui talking about transactions. He gave a really nice talk - enough detail to make you think that maybe you should change research areas, and yet not too much to make you fall asleep (or check out the pool). The question he posed is whether we can just "inherit" all the stuff that Jim Gray et al. did in the 70s on transaction systems and just import them into our languages/systems and be done with it? Interestingly it doesn't seem so.

I had the honour of chairing the first session. Because of the welcomes and presentations before Rachid's talk we were already running 30mins late! To incentivize the speakers I offered an AITO Cypriot pear to the speakers who finished inside their 25mins slot:-) Fortunately the three speakers all rose to the challenge and got one of their five daily fruit+veg portions.

Nick Cameron kicked off with his wonderful work with Sophia and Erik on Wildcards aka existential types in Java. His presentation was very clear and it does seem that we finally have some understanding as to what these damn things are! As far as I know we still don't know if the system is decidable - maybe Andrew and Benli's work on variance could now be applied?

Jaroslav Sevnik followed up with a great talk on the Java Memory Model. It seems he really does have all the right tools in his hands to study this beast and he has managed to verify a number of useful transformations, and indentify erroneous ones too. Someone asked if he thought that Sun might rewrite the JMM. He thought they would but unfortunately there's nothing out there as a viable alternative. Sounds like a great PhD for someone with a huge brain! [My head hurts when I listen to the fine details of the JMM - like when Jaroslav gave a theory seminar in Cambridge :-( ]

Kathryn Gray rounded up session 1.0 with a very impressive talk about handling interop and inheritance between typed and untyped oo languages - she considered Java and Scheme as the languages in question. She did a really nice job about showing how the problem is perhaps more subtle than one might think, and her solution does seem pretty canonical.

All in all, I think people left session 1.0 ready for their coffee but glad that they stayed the course! [For some reason the timetable has 2.5 hours of talks before the first coffee break - Yikes!]

The rest of the day was of similarly high quality, but let me just flag Shan Shan Huang's talk on LiquidMetal, which was a very nice talk about the Lime compiler that takes a reasonably modest extension of Java and compiles either direct to the JVM or spits bits out for compilation on an FPGA and/or Cell processor. Really nice stuff - I need to talk with her about the fiddling that Satnam and I have done using LINQ.

A great first day. Now the nerves kick in for my presentation tomorrow morning...


James said...

You will ROCK!

It will be GREAT.


Sophia Drossopoulou said...

I am so glad you liked Nick's talk. BTW, the work is also with Erik Ernst.

As to decidability, there is a more recent study -- but no answer about wildcards yet -- from Stefan Wehr and Peter Thieman, presented at FTfJP 2008.


Gavin Bierman said...

Oh, yes, sorry. I forgot abouot Erik. I'll edit the post.

I went to Stefan's talk, which was nice. I need to read this stuff more carefully.