Past Meetup

Sarah Groff Palermo on Exception Handling: Issues and a Proposed Notation

This Meetup is past

164 people went

Two Sigma

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

How to find us

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 are excited to host Sarah Groff Hennigh-Palermo speaking on Exception Handling: Issues and a Proposed Notation from John B. Goodenough ([masked]/reading/goodenough-exceptions.pdf)


Errors and debugging are the bane of a programmer’s life — and the source of many jokes, Twitter rants, and midnight breakdowns. As programming matures as a practice, we continue to add different ways to avoid and address errors, but how did we get here to begin with?

Exception Handling: Issues and a Proposed Notation from John B. Goodenough (1975) details the needs and goals of an exception handling system and then gets specific with suggestions of syntax, including remedies to known issues in the system.

In this talk, we will take a look at the development of one approach to errors, — throwing and handling exceptions — as it developed in PL/I. Some of these features have not made it all the way to common modern languages, so this is a chance to take a look at what we've lost to time.

Sarah Groff Hennigh-Palermo ( / @superSGP on Twitter) is an artist, programmer, and erstwhile data designer. Her work centers around methods to make computers and data more humane — more accessible, more flexible, more contextual. She has created data-obscured art sites, new computer languages, and hybrid nostalgia machines.

Her current focuses are livecode, digital abstraction, and discovering new ways to break things.

Sarah is an alumna of the School for Poetic Computation, Recurse Center, Brown University, and NYU Tandon School of Engineering.



**Doors open at 6:30 pm**; the presentations will begin right around 7:00 pm; and, yes, there will be refreshments of all kinds and pizza.

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

**Talks are always recorded on video and released ~2 weeks after the meetup.**

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 ( on slack (, our GitHub repository (, or add to the discussion on this event's thread.