Everybody can use Excel, but creating a web-based data-driven story requires professional developers, if not a team. I'm working on making data-driven storytelling easier, more open and reproducible.
The Gamma is a research project to build tools that easily integrate with modern data sources (open government data, public online sources) and let users easily create visualizations that are directly linked to the data, making the visualizations more transparent, reproducible, but also easy to adapt to explore other aspects of the data.
- Visualizing Olympic medalists is a demo that shows how such open data-driven articles could look like. It lets explores the history of Olympic medals.
- Computation + Journalism 2015 paper about an earlier prototype describes ideas and motivations of the project in more details. Watch a 15 minute demo or a 45 minute talk from StrangeLoop.
- The Gamma is on GitHub and everything is available under the MIT license. You can learn about the latest news on Twitter at @thegamma_net.
I'm a frequent conference speaker, founding member of the F# Software Foundation author of C# and F# books and author of many definitive F# libraries. I have been Microsoft MVP since 2004 and used F# since early Microsoft Research versions.
Have you seen the F# testimonials and are you thinking how can your company also benefit from the safety, correctness, efficiency and faster time-to-market provided by F#?
- fsharpWorks trainings — At fsharpWorks, we love sharing our knowledge with your team and we offer a wide range of workshops. We created an online course about F# in Finance and Type Providers and we regularly run an in-person course Fast Track to F# in London. We offer all of these and more as on-site trainings too — just drop us an email!
- F# books and articles — I wrote Real World Functional Programming, which explains functional concepts using C# and F#, edited a collection of F# case studies: F# Deep Dives and also wrote a free O'Reilly report: Analyzing and Visualizing Data with F#.
Coeffects and research
I recently submitted my PhD thesis at University of Cambridge and I closely collaborate with the F# team in Microsoft Research Cambridge.
My recent publications cover a range of topics from theory of context-aware programming, F# and type providers to language extensions for concurrent, reactive and asynchronous programming.
- Coeffects playgrouund is an interactive essay that lets you explore my PhD research in an accessible and fun way. You can read more in our ICFP 2014 paper.
- Academic web page has links to other published papers, work-in-progress drafts, research talks and also information about student projects and courses that I supervised.
Philosophy of science
During my (computer science) PhD, I became interested in how programming language research is done and how it should be done. We tend to think that science has infallible methods for discovering the truth, but is that the case? Or is science more 'sloppy' and 'irrational' than its methodological image as Paul Feyerabend says?
- History and philosophy of types is my most recent work in this area. It uses types as an example of a concept that appears simple, but is (and needs to be) more complex. Watch my LambdaDays talk or read the full-length Onward! essay.
- Philosophy posts on my blog — start with philosophy and history books every computer scientist should read and come to some of the events organized by the HaPoC Comission.
Monday, 12 November 2018, 12:58 PM
I've been teaching F# for over seven years now, both in the public F# FastTrack course that we run at SkillsMatter in London and in various custom trainings for private companies. Every time I teach the F# FastTrack course, I modify the material in one way or another. I wrote about some of this interesting history last year in an fsharpWorks article. The course now has a stable half-day introduction to the language and a stable focus on the ideas behind functional-first programming, but there are always new examples and applications that illustrate this style of programming.
For the upcoming December course in London, I added a number of demos and hands-on tasks built using Fable, partly because running F# in a browser is an easy way to illustrate many concepts and partly because Fable has some amazing functional-first libraries.
If you are interested in learning F# and attending our course, the next F# FastTrack takes place on 6-7 December in London at SkillsMatter. We also offer custom on-site trainings. Get in touch at @tomaspetricek or email email@example.com for a 10% discount for the course.
One of the new samples I want to show, which I also live coded at NDC 2018, is building a simple web-based Excel-like spreadsheet application. The spreadsheet demonstrates all the great F# features such as domain modeling with types, the power of compositionality and also how functional-first approach can be amazingly powerful for building user interfaces.
Here you'll find what I'm working on — my blog posts tend to be either updates about projects I'm working on, trainings and talks I'm doing, or longer posts that are early versions of my ideas — some of them become papers, some of them have been cited in other papers, some will be soon forgotten.
Monday, 8 October 2018, 12:22 PM
In programming research, we say a lot about programs and languages, but very little about the actual process of programming. One simple trick that will make programming language research significantly more interesting is to think about programs not as expressions, but as a result of a sequence of interactions that create it. This includes usual things such as writing code and refactoring, but if we also include, say, running a part of the program, we become capable of saying many more interesting things and building new powerful programming tools.
Tuesday, 22 May 2018, 10:27 AM
The question whether aliens would understand lambda calculus is intriguing because it vividly formulates a fundamental question about our formal mathematical knowledge. Are mathematical theories and results about them invented, i.e. constructed by humans, or discovered, i.e. are they eternal truths that exist regardless of whether there are humans to know them?
Tuesday, 12 September 2017, 5:42 PM
The word design is often used when talking about programming languages. In fact, it even made it into the name of one of the most prestigious academic programming conferences. Yet, it is almost impossible to come across a paper about programming languages that uses design methods to study its subject. In this article, I want to convince you that this is a missed opportunity.
Wednesday, 14 June 2017, 1:27 PM
Create open visualizations in four steps. The Gamma aims to make it easier to create transparent data visualizations that let the reader explore data further. Until today, getting started with The Gamma was tricky, because you had to provide data via a REST service. The new Gallery makes it easy to upload your own CSV file or paste data from Excel and it also guides you through the process and lets you easily embed the results into your blog. If you were curious about The Gamma, now you can start using it!
Wednesday, 12 April 2017, 2:05 PM
It is very easy to see academic papers as containing eternal and unquestionable truths, rather than as something that the reader should actively interact with. I recently remarked about this saying that just reading papers is too passive. In this blog post, I try to uncover some of the caveats when reading papers - how we misread history and ignore historical context in which paper was written. I discuss different ways of reading papers and suggest a more active way of reading.
I published papers about programming languages including type providers, theory of coeffects, concurrent and reactive programming, but also philosophy and history of programming. My academic page has a complete list, including teaching and other activities.
Tomas Petricek, James Geddes, Charles Sutton. In Proceedings of TaPP 2018
Notebook systems such as Jupyter are a popular environment for data science, but they use an architecture that leads to a limited model of interaction and makes versioning and reproducibility difficult. Wrattler revisits the architecture and allows richer forms of interactivity, efficient evaluation and guaranteed reproducibility.
Tomas Petricek. The Art, Science, and Engineering of Programming, 2018
Computer science provides an in-depth understanding of technical aspects of programming concepts, but if we want to understand how programming concepts evolve, how programmers think about them and how they are used in practice, we need to consider a broader perspective. This paper explains how computer scientists and programmers talk about monads and why they do so.
Tomas Petricek. Unpublished draft.
Data science can be done by directly manipulating data using spreadsheets, or by writing data manipulation scripts using a programming language. The former is error-prone and does not scale, while the latter requires expert skills. Live coding has the potential to bridge this gap and make writing of transparent, reproducible scripts more accessible.