Monday, 20 July 2009

Typed coercions

I've just uploaded to my web page my latest paper, with Mike Hicks and Nik Swamy entitled "A theory of typed coercions and applications", which is accepted to appear at ICFP in Edinburgh next month. If you're there, make sure you check out Nik's presentation!

The abstract is as follows:

A number of important program rewriting scenarios can be recast as type-directed coercion insertion. These range from more theoretical applications such as coercive subtyping and supporting overloading in type theories, to more practical applications such as integrating static and dynamically typed code using gradual typing, and inlining code to enforce security policies such as access control and provenance tracking. In this paper we give a general theory of type-directed coercion insertion. We specifically explore the inherent tradeoff between expressiveness and ambiguity—the more powerful the strategy for generating coercions, the greater the possibility of several, semantically distinct rewritings for a given program. We consider increasingly powerful coercion generation strategies, work out example applications supported by the increased power (including those mentioned above), and identify the inherent ambiguity problems of each setting, along with various techniques to tame the ambiguities.

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Race for Life

I'm very proud of Hana, who this morning ran the Race for Life 5k run with Mateja. She ran the course without stopping in the totally brilliant time of 30:19! Well done, Hana and Mateja who raised £142.00 for Cancer Research!! [This page is still open for donations!]

A Dolls House

[Unfortunately, I have been busy so there are a few posts queued up...]

Last Saturday, we managed to catch the Donmar production of A Doll's House. We really enjoyed it. It seems that this version has divided some of the critics, but as someone who didn't know the play at all, the setting of 1900's British politics seemed to fit the play rather well. (It was perhaps unfortunate that some of the dubious political motives had such obvious current parallels.)

Particularly impressive were the performances - everyone was very strong; there was not a weak spot anywhere. For me though, the star was Christopher Ecclestone. He has real presence. He oozed anger and jealousy. He and Tara Fitzgerald turned the notoriously tricky third scene into an intense and entirely believable show of emotion. Fantastic.

Leah Davies, making her West End debut as Emmy, is a star in the making.

Friday, 10 July 2009

F# for C# programmers

Here's an interesting article to help C# programmers get used to F#.


The tanks are on the lawn. (here)

Novelty note: Whilst we're on the topic of a browser as a multi-principal OS, let me mention my colleagues' work on Gazelle.

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Spending 1p

One of the "features" at Glastonbury are the female urinals. If you're scratching your head at the idea, here's a picture to help you:

Wednesday, 8 July 2009


Respect to my buddy, Matt, as he was clever enough to book a couple of tickets ages ago to see Kasabian, who were playing at the Cambridge Corn Exchange last night. Wow! It was a really great gig. We caught a few tracks from them at Glastonbury, but it was fantastic to see them in a smaller (and much sweatier!) venue. They really are very tight live - reminded me of seeing Oasis at Earls Court with my brother in 1995. Tom is, I think, a modern-day Mick Jagger. Sergio plays a very nice Rickenbacker 481.

You should check out their new album (spotify link).

Thursday, 2 July 2009


About two weeks ago I got a phone call from The Guardian. In a moment of vanity, I wondered what they wanted a comment on! In fact they were calling to tell me that I had won a pair of tickets to Glastonbury!! Hurrah!! It took Mateja and me a little while to do some research to decide to go, but after a reassuring tutorial from Matt "Mr Glastonbury", we decided to go for it.

Thanks to the generosity of Jo and Luke, and Andrew and Lisa, we were able to cobble together enough equipment for the family to go last weekend.

We had a fantastic time! We set off late morning on Friday (luckily Hana's school was closed for a teacher training day) and arrived an hour later than expected at Glastonbury. Unfortunately everyone else had already arrived, so we didn't get into the car park we had a pass for, nor the next, or the next and so on. In the end we were about a mile and a half away from pedestrian entrance D :-( Moreover, it was a mile and a half through fields. In fact, a mile and a half through very muddy fields. After a long and painful hauling of the gear we got in, and managed - against all predictions - to get a great pitch in the family camping area by the entrance.

Although we were a little apprehensive to start with - we all had a wonderful time. We spent most of our weekend in The Kidz Field - which is a huge area full of children's activities. The girls had a ball. This was pretty much their dream location - rides, slides, music, craft activities, all-day entertainment on the stage (including Andy from CBeebies!). Mateja and I could relax and let the girls enjoy themselves.

We did get to see some music (although if you really want to hear lots, then you can't really go with children): Lady GaGa; The Ting Tings; Kasabian; Bruce Springsteen; White Lies; Status Quo. Unfortunately we did miss some acts that we were VERY keen to hear: Blur; Lily Allen; Little Boots (the girls' current favourite - we listened to "Meddle" around 10 times on the way down). But all in all, we returned home on Sunday night, tired, dirty but happy.

Here are some snaps:

Time to put the wellies on!

Did we forget anything? :-)

Let's go find the festival!

Waiting for Lady GaGa in the mud!

A tiny fraction of the tents (we had no idea what 140,000 people in tents looks like).

Andy from CBeebies with enthralled children at his feet:

The wonderful Kidz Field:

Making drums:

Making music with the drums:

The pyramid stage (Kasabian):

The coolest girls watching White Lies:

Muffins for breakfast!

There's a lot of rubbish left by the morning!


A perfect day - tutus and balloons:

We made it back to the car!