It was a great conference.
Here’s a list (in no particular order) of some of the most interesting talks:
“Haxl: A Big Hammer for Concurrency” by Simon Marlow: There is a beautiful passage of cluster management code from which this presentation is based. Seeing that code itself is already worth clicking!
“Dependent Types in Haskell” by Stephanie Weirich: Stephanie Weirich gives a very practical example that many programmers are familiar with. She explains how dependent types can make that code better. Near the end, there’s even an inductive proof snuck into the type system to ensure certain properties of the program.
“Just-So Stories for AI: Explaining Black-Box Predictions” by Sam Ritchie: Sam Ritchie is an excellent presenter, and I think he does a great job setting up motivation before diving into technical details. One of the best explanations of what a random forest is yet!
“Leveraging DSLs (Almost) for Free” by Alvin Cheung: Alvin Cheung talks about refactoring and translating programming languages automatically. His example automatically rewrites naive Java code to run on an Apache Spark cluster, resulting in impressive performance gains rivaling “hand-rolled” Spark-specific code.
“Strength in Numbers: Unums and the Quest for Reliable Arithmetic” by Ferris Ellis: Ferris Ellis suggests we all stop lying to ourselves that floating point numbers are precise. Instead, uncertainty should be baked into the data structure for some more honest arithmetic.
“A (Not So Gentle) Introduction To Systems Programming In ATS” by Aditya Siram: Aditya Siram makes C safer without forcing us to arrest our pointers.
“Rebuilding the Cathedral” by Nadia Eghbal: Nadia Eghbal talks about the group dynamics of open source communities and our growing dependency on open source projects over the years. She details what’s good, what’s broken, and cultural improvements to consider.
“The Holy Grail of Systems Analysis: from What to Where to Why” by Daniel Spoonhower: Daniel Spoonhower gives a really good overview of distributed tracing and what you can use it for. It was one of the best interactive demos ever.
I’m almost certain there were other amazing talks not on my personal list, but my schedule simply did not permit. You can find a playlist of all the uploaded talks here.