William Byrd on "The most beautiful program ever written" & PWLMini w/ A. Turley

Papers We Love
Papers We Love
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Two Sigma

101 Ave. of the Americas, 23rd Fl. J · New York

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Cross Streets: Watt and Grand. Note: Please make sure you’re signed-up for the meetup, including your first and last name. Without this info you won’t be allowed into the building by security.

Location image of event venue


We're delighted to host William E. Byrd (http://webyrd.net/), Research Assistant Professor at the University of Utah's School of Computing (http://www.cs.utah.edu/). William is co-author of The Reasoned Schemer (https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/reasoned-schemer) with Daniel P. Friedman and Oleg Kiselyov, co-designer of miniKanren (http://minikanren.org/) and Barliman (https://github.com/webyrd/Barliman), a prototype interactive editor for exploring program synthesis. He'll be discussing what he considers to be the most beautiful program every written and much of the research and work behind it.

In addition to William's talk, PWLNYC alumnus (http://paperswelove.org/2015/video/andrew-turley-on-the-train-algorithm/) Andrew Turley (https://twitter.com/casio_juarez), will be opening the event with a short lightning talk on The Relationship Between COBOL and Computer Science (https://www.cs.umd.edu/~ben/papers/Schneiderman1985Relationship.pdf) by Ben Schneiderman.


• William E. Byrd (http://webyrd.net) will "explore what I consider to be the most beautiful program ever written---a Lisp interpreter written in Lisp---and a few of the many amazing ideas related to this metacircular interpreter."


- The Little Schemer (https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/little-schemer) by Daniel P. Friedman and Matthias Felleisen
- Essentials of Programming Languages (http://www.eopl3.com)by Daniel P. Friedman and Mitchell Wand
- John McCarthy's Recursive functions of symbolic expressions and their computation by machine, Part I (http://www-formal.stanford.edu/jmc/recursive.pdf)
- LISP 1.5 Programmer's Manual (http://www.softwarepreservation.org/projects/LISP/book/LISP%201.5%20Programmers%20Manual.pdf/view) by John McCarthy, Paul W. Abrahams, Daniel J. Edwards, Timothy P. Hart and Michael I. Levin (see especially page 13!)
- John McCarthy's A micro-manual for LISP - not the whole truth (https://github.com/jaseemabid/micromanual)
- "Maxwell's equations of software (http://www.righto.com/2008/07/maxwells-equations-of-software-examined.html)" examined by Ken Shirriff
- Lisp as the Maxwell’s equations of software (http://www.michaelnielsen.org/ddi/lisp-as-the-maxwells-equations-of-software/) by Michael Nielsen
- miniKanren, live and untagged: quine generation via relational interpreters (programming pearl) (http://webyrd.net/quines/quines.pdf) by William E. Byrd, Eric Holk, and Daniel P. Friedman
- The Reflective Language Black (http://pllab.is.ocha.ac.jp/~asai/papers/thesis.ps.gz) by Asai, Kenichi
- Programming Should Eat Itself (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SrKj4hYic5A)by Nada Amin, Strange Loop, 2014

• Andrew Turley's lightning talk:

In 1960, two different computers compiled and ran the same COBOL program. Twenty-five years later COBOL was considered a grand success in industry and was barely mentioned, except critically, in academia. Shneiderman looks at COBOL's relationship to industry and academia, discusses COBOL's strengths and weaknesses, and describes the contributions that it made to the fields of computer science and computer engineering.

This paper draws heavily from Jean Sammet's "An Early History of COBOL (https://www.deepdyve.com/lp/association-for-computing-machinery/the-early-history-of-cobol-S4iP58UtHc?articleList=%2Fsearch%3Fquery%3DThe%2Bearly%2Bhistory%2Bof%2BCOBOL)" ( http://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=1198367 ). Reading Sammet's paper is not required to understand what Shneiderman is talking about, but it does provide a great deal of additional background information.


William E. Byrd (@webyrd (https://twitter.com/webyrd)) is a Research Assistant Professor in the School of Computing at the University of Utah. He is co-author of 'The Reasoned Schemer', and is co-designer of the miniKanren relational programming language. He loves StarCraft (BW & SC2). Ask him about the scanning tunneling microscope (STM) he is building.

Andrew Turley (@casio_juarez (https://twitter.com/casio_juarez)) is a software engineer with an interest in programming languages, especially the ones that people hate. He currently works for Sendence Engineering (http://engineering.sendence.com) where he uses Pony, a language that nobody hates yet.


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Doors open at 7 pm; the presentations will begin at around 7:20 pm; and, yes, there will be refreshments of all kinds and pizza.

A little different than previous PWLs, you'll have to check-in with security with your Name/ID. Definitely sign-up if you’re going to attend–unfortunately people whose names aren’t entered into the security system in advance won’t be allowed in.

After William's presentation, we will open up the floor to discussion and questions.

We hope that you'll read some of the papers and references before the meetup, but don't stress if you can't. If you have any questions, thoughts, or related information, please visit #pwlnyc (https://paperswelove.slack.com/messages/pwlnyc/) on slack (http://papersweloveslack.herokuapp.com/), our GitHub repository (https://github.com/papers-we-love/papers-we-love), 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 (https://github.com/papers-we-love/papers-we-love/pulls). Also, if you have any ideas/questions about this meetup or the Papers-We-Love org, just open up an issue.