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Monads Without Metaphors by Brian Hurt

  • Apr 14, 2015 · 7:00 PM

Title: Monads without Metaphors.

It has been said that monad tutorials are a cottage industry among Haskellers.  Brian attempts to improve the state of the art of monad tutorials by replacing the traditional bad metaphors and category theory with motivating examples all programmers have encountered, and actual code.

Slides for the talk are available on my github repo here:

I reference two blog posts in the talk- they are:

“Abstract Intuition and Monad Tutorial Fallacy”

“You could have invented monads! (And maybe you already have)”

NB: The address is different than last time:

Address: GOOGLE, 76 Ninth Avenue,  4th Floor, Baker Field conference room 


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  • Gregory H.

    Brian is very cogent, and knowledgeable about Haskell, Lisp, Clojure, OCaml , Scala and I think even F#! He makes great presentations that appeal to all levels and is constantly working on making sure that the community understands the most complex idiosyncrasies in the field. Working on making Monads videos not suck!

    April 15, 2015

  • François-René R.

    I admit I was quite disappointed by the presentation:

    * Too little meta-information meant I never knew where we were starting from or where we were going. * The presentation was no polished enough. Also, this was a Lisp meeting, but the presentation was given in a Haskell setting, spent a lot of time on the Haskell concepts without offering a translation to Lisp, and explained the concepts after the fact, making it especially hard to follow the slides.

    * Too much time was spent on the Reader monad, which means not enough on other monads, and thus on what would have been the big plus: figuring out the commonalities and non-commonalities between many kinds of monads.

    April 15, 2015

  • Manish K.

    Hi, sorry I wasn't able to attend. Was the presentation recorded by any chance?

    April 15, 2015

  • Richard H.

    That sounds excellent. I feel about monads the way I feel about cricket -- people have explained the rules to me a thousand times, but I never understand them, because I've never watched a cricket game.

    2 · April 2, 2015

  • Pierre de L.

    Brian gave an excellent talk building up a monad from scratch, including the bind and return constructs and providing the underlying motivation for these. It was an awesome presentation

    2 · April 15, 2015

    • Bennett T.

      After digesting Brian's presentation, I can follow the attempt to define Monad in Wikipedia, which wasn't the case before.

      April 15, 2015

  • Bennett T.

    The punch line really tied it together. For the first time I think I've got a coherent understanding of Monads.

    April 14, 2015

  • Martin B.

    I read this a while ago, a very simple tutorial using Clojure instead of Haskell:
    (Unfortunately the original website has gone so I'm linking from the WaYbAcK mAcHiNe).

    2 · April 14, 2015

  • A former member
    A former member

    Same question as Gina below; forgot to RSVP.

    April 14, 2015

  • A former member
    A former member

    Hi, the RSVPs are closed... can I still show up?

    April 14, 2015

  • Mihoko S.

    Hello ! It is very interesting !

    April 14, 2015

  • François-René R.

    BEWARE! Last minute change in room for tomorrow's meeting (Tuesday April 14: "Monads Without Metaphors" by Brian Hurt).

    We will still be meeting at Google, but in the Baker Field conference room, on the 4th Floor of 76 Ninth Avenue.

    THE ENTRANCE WILL BE ON THE 9TH AVE SIDE OF THE BUILDING. This is the opposite side as compared to the last few times.

    April 13, 2015

  • Brian H.

    Just a couple of links I wanted to post before the meetup, in case people are interested. The slides are now available here:

    They are in open office presenter format.

    I reference two blog posts in my talk, they are:
    “Abstract Intuition and Monad Tutorial Fallacy”


    “You could have invented monads! (And maybe you already have)”

    1 · April 12, 2015

  • prasad r.

    "Hegelian tacos" are real!

    April 7, 2015

  • Raymond P.

    Maybe they could serve Hegelian tacos instead of pizza for this talk ;)

    2 · April 6, 2015

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