Tom Santero on Leslie Lamport's Buridan’s Principle

This is a past event

153 people went

Tumblr, Inc

35 East 21st St, FL 1 (Ground Floor), 10010 · New York, NY

How to find us

Tumblr's office is located between 5th Avenue and Park Avenue South on 21st Street. We're on the Ground Floor.

Location image of event venue


We're delighted to have our old friend, Tom Santero, software engineer at Helium and current FOCO resident, presenting on Buridan's Principle (, a paper by Turing Award-winner, Leslie Lamport (


In 1984 Leslie Lamport began to observe the glitch problem [0] occurs in everyday life. Realizing this phenomenon had not been discussed by psychologists of the day, he set out to describe his observations using the classical formalization of Buridan's ass. Lamport initially failed to have this paper published in various scientific journals, being rejected on grounds of superficiality. It wasn't until 2011, when a reader suggested he resubmit to Foundations of Physics, that the paper was eventually published.

Those familiar with the works of Lamport know him as a logician, his life's work has pushed forward the state of the art in areas of mutual exclusion and distributed systems probably more than any other, and so reading Buridan's Principle might strike us as a bit odd, or even obscure. We're in unfamiliar territory with Lamport. Nonetheless, in this paper, Lamport's casual observations lead him to bridge the gap between the humanities and the sciences, providing us readers with what appears to be a universal law of nature: Buridan's Principle.



Tom Santero (@tsantero ( is a Software Engineer at Helium Systems (, writing Haskell and Erlang to connect things to the internet. Previously, Tom worked at the New York Times on Search infrastructure, and before that he ran evangelism at Basho Technologies. A native New Yorker, Tom recently defected to Fort Collins, CO, where he lives with his two cats nearby an obnoxiously loud freight train.


TwoSigma ( - Platinum Sponsor of the New York chapter



Doors open at 7 pm; the presentation will begin at 7:30 pm; and, yes, there will be refreshments of all kinds and pizza.

After Tom presents the paper, we will open up the floor to discussion and questions.

We hope that you'll read the paper before the meetup, but don't stress if you can't. If you have any questions, thoughts, or related information, please visit #pwlnyc ( on slack (, our GitHub repository (, where you can also find the paper (, or add to the discussion on this event's thread.

Additionally, if you have any papers you want to add to the repository above (papers that you love!), please send us a pull request ( Also, if you have any ideas/questions about this meetup or the Papers-We-Love org, just open up an issue.

November's meetup is sponsored by