F# in Academia: Present at upcoming events!
The F# language was born as a combination of the pragmatic and real-world .NET platform and functional programming, which had a long tradition in academia. Many useful ideas or libraries in F# (like asynchronous workflows and first-class events) are inspored by research in functional programming (namely, the work on monads, continuations and functional reactive programming).
Exchanging the ideas between the research community and the real-world is one of the areas where F# excels. Indeed, the first applicatiosn of F# inside Microsoft (in the Machine Learning group at Cambridge) were all about this - combining research in machine learning with a language that can be easily used in practice.
What, why, when, where and how!
What? Do you have some interesting experience to report? Do you have an interesting F# DSL or novel application? Can you compare your experience with F# and other languages? Or do you have some interesting extension for F#?
Why? Collaboration between researchers and practitioners is just important! Presenting your experience can influence researchers to improve languages in a useful way. You can get useful feedback from people who think about problems in a different, but interesting way!
When & Where? Both of the events are co-located with ICFP 2012 in September 2012 in Copenhagen. This is one of the largest functional conferences, so you can learn about some interesting ideas from the research world too!
How? Both of the events are quite informal, so you don't need to write an academic paper! For CUFP, you just need talk abstract and for ML Workshop, you need to write 2 page summary (see below for details).
Commercial Uses of Functional Programming
To quote the official CUFP announcement, "The annual CUFP workshop is a place where people can see how others are using functional programming to solve real world problems". The workshop is looking for presenters who have interesting experience with using functional programming in commercial sector. There are two kinds of talks, both should be about 25 minutes long:
Experience reports - explaining how you used functional programming in practice, what worked well and what were the difficulties; these talks can also discuss interesting non-technical aspects.
Technical talks - these talks should focus on some interesting technology or on some interesting application of functional programming. For example, how to solve certain difficult problems, how to build scalable solutions etc.
For some inspiration, you can take a look at videos from the last year. If you are interested in offering a talk, send an e-mail to sperber(at)deinprogramm(dot)de or avsm2(at)cl(dot)cam(dot)ac(dot)uk by 29 June 2012 with a roughly 1 page description of what you'd like to talk about. If you want to discuss an potential F# topic informally first, get in touch with me at email@example.com.
The other event that may be interesting to F# programmers is Workshop on ML (see official announcement). Traditionally, the workshop has been focused mainly on research around ML, OCaml and F#. However, this year, it also welcomes practical topics. To quote the announcement: "This workshop aims to provide a forum where users, developers and researchers of ML languages and related technology can interact and discuss ongoing research, open problems and innovative applications."
You can contribute one of the following three kinds of talks:
Research presentation - describe new research related to ML (or F#), including work in progress and outline of possible research directions.
Experience reports - present interesting story about an application of ML-style language; this may include innovative or unexpected use of some interesting aspects of the language.
Demos - demonstrations or short tutorials of new tools, libraries or applications developed for, or using ML-style langauges.
If you're interested in presenting your ideas at the ML workshop, you should write a brief description of the idea (up to 2 pages) and submit that to the submission web site before 4 June 2012. Again, if you'd like to get some informal feedback before the submission, feel free to get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org.