At OSCON last week, Simon Peyton Jones delivered some superlative sessions. Two of these are now available for your video enjoyment.
- His keynote talk, “Transactional memory for concurrent programming”, is about 15 minutes long, and was very well received.
- The tutorial, “A taste of Haskell”, is about three hours long, and the video is split into part one and part two.
- Simon’s third talk, “Nested data parallelism”, was essentially an overview for a more general audience of a talk he gave a few months ago to the London Haskell User’s Group. Unfortunately, this one wasn’t recorded, but here’s a link to the footage of Simon’s London talk.
I highly recommend watching the keynote video at the very least. Simon is an excellent and enthusiastic speaker.
There was a lot of buzz in the “hallway track” and blogosphere (Technorati currently counts almost 60 blog postings) after Simon’s sessions. John Goerzen and I went for coffee with Simon on Wednesday morning, and he was accosted by several enthusiastic attendees as we tried to make good our escape. Quite amusing.
We puzzled with Simon over the mystery of this recent buzz around functional programming languages. The best stab I could make at a guess was that languages like Python and Ruby have introduced a generation of programmers to the idea that their code can be expressive and concise. News is percolating out that Haskell offers comparable or better facilities for abstraction and brevity, but with the additional benefits of safety, native code performance, and multicore scalability.
Later that day, we had the opportunity to meet with several old and new friends who work for a notable Portland-area Haskell company (yes, such companies exist!), Galois Connections, and with another Portland hacker, William Lee Irwin.