rpg's Favorites @ OOPSLA

These are the things at OOPSLA 2006 that I plan to go to, and why. This list doesn't include everything—just what I think will be worth going to.

Brenda Laurel's Keynote

I know Brenda fairly well. She is smart with a different point of view from the most of us. Her talks are often performances.

Guy Steele's Talk

Quux (my name for him) has been working on a new programming language called Fortress—and there's good news and bad news. The good news is that lots of it is based on the general philosophy he discussed in his 1998 talk. "Growing a Language." The bad news: the language is descended from Fortran.

Jim Waldo's Essay

I asked Jim to write an essay this year, and he delivered with a nice meditation on his old-school views on design. Brian Marick will be the discussant.

The Ultra-Large-Scale Systems Panel

I was part of a year-long study to look at how to build enormously large systems. We wrote a long report (which is available here, or you can use this direct link to get the pdf [6.43 mb]; a revised version of the report's executive summary is available here). This could be a radically mind-altering set of ideas (for some).

The Design Patterns Panel

Last year John Vlissides passed away. I think this panel will be a tribute to him. He was general chair of OOPSLA 2004 in Vancouver, and the conference was held shortly after he had brain surgery. This could be a very emotional panel.

Elisa Baniassad's Onward! Paper

I read an early draft of this paper and thought it had a v.interesting alternative way of looking at computing. The technical details—how she thought about implementing those ideas—didn't seem as interesting to me as the fundamental ideas, but definitely a must-see.

Phil Wadler's Keynote

Phil's a real nut—and a pretty interesting speaker. He will likely have oddball insights + a lot of technical things to say that could be (delightfully) confusing. After all, he brought us monads, and who the heck knows what they are and how they work.

Friederich Steimann's Essay

He submitted a paper to the research paper track called "The Paradoxical Success of Aspect-Oriented Programming." It was passed on to the Essays committee, and we decided to shepherd it (and I was the shepherd). He has an interesting take on how the ideas of Parnas and Dijkstra contradict the tenets of aspects—and he finds it all paradoxical because the aspects guys claim they are trying to enhance the separation of concerns while going against Parnas's conception of separation of concerns. Gary Leavens will be the discussant for the essay.

Aspects and/versus Modularity Panel

This panel goes with Steimann's essay. I put together the panel to try to get a thoughtful exploration going of the concept of modularity in the 21st century. Steimann is paired with Jim Waldo on the old-style side of the fence, and Gregor Kiczales and Kevin Sullivan are on the other. Guy Steele is moderating, so we can look forward to a nice exchange of ideas.

The ULS Workshop

I'm an organizer, so I have to go. I think it could be groundbreaking.

Gabriel's Onward! Paper

This is another thing I have to go to. I'm hoping Ron and I do a good job. We are trying to make it interesting.


PLoP is at OOPSLA this year, starting Saturday. Come see a very alternative way of doing conferences, and observe a unique subculture of computing at work.

Linda Northrop's Talk

I worked with her team on this for the last year or so, and it's basically about reinventing software engineering. How Feyabendian.