Simon needs no introduction as an academic and hacker nonpareil, but I want to write a brief note about his generosity and qualities as a mentor.
In the spring of 1994, I was an undergraduate at Trinity College Dublin, in Ireland, obsessed with functional programming. Having never had any prior conversations with any FP researchers, I sent Simon an email out of the blue, asking him to hire me as a summer intern. To my astonishment and delight, he didn’t hesitate to offer me a job.
The summer that followed was one of the best of my life. I was immersed in the innards of GHC at a time when Glasgow was the centre of the functional programming universe, and I had the opportunity to work with many wonderful, bright people. I trace my interest in writing a book about Haskell, and in working to make sure we can publish it openly for the benefit of the community, directly to Simon and the model he set.
Simon’s influence on the Haskell community is as much personal as it is technical: through example, he encourages an open, friendly spirit of inquiry and collaboration. We owe him a lot.
Thanks, Simon! And here’s to the next fifty!