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To appear at HOPL IV (History of Programming Languages, “an infrequent ACM SIGPLAN conference”).


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    I had a job programming in Standard ML once long ago and I thought it was really a delightful language to work in. It was the first environment I was exposed to the idea of the Curry-Howard correspondence, and really colored my opinion of static typing affordances.

    Having multiple high-quality implementations of ML comes with a few trade-offs. For example, we primarily used mlton for its excellent compiler, but it lacked a repl, so we kept sml/nj around as an alternative but that meant we had to account for slight compatibility differences.

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      I found it fascinating in itself that HOPL is so infrequent:

      Past conferences were held in 1978, 1993, and 2007. The fourth conference was originally intended to take place in June 2020, but has been postponed. [1]

      It’s a twice-in-a-career opportunity.

      [1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Programming_Languages

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        It doesn’t sound so bad yet. According to the SIGPLAN website:

        We are working with SIGPLAN to identify a new time and place for the physical HOPL meeting, probably in the first half of 2021.

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        Great footnote:

        It is interesting to note that most of the central personalities first met through an unofficial reading group formed by an enthusiastic amateur named Mervin Pragnell, who recruited people he found reading about topics like logic at bookstores or libraries. The group included Strachey, Landin, Rod Burstall, and Milner, and they would read about topics like combinatory logic, category theory, and Markov algorithms at a borrowed seminar room at Birkbeck College, London. All were self-taught amateurs, although Burstall would later get a PhD in operations research at Birmingham University.

        Also worth mentioning that Donald Michie, who worked with Turing at Bletchley Park, was responsible for bringing several of these people together in Edinburgh.

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          Oh, hey, I had that shepherd in undergrad, though it was before he moved to Pomona. Better at teaching some advanced topics (particularly programming languages) than the 101 stuff, but decent fellow.

          Thank you for reading my largely irrelevant comment.