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This past Thursday and Friday (Oct. 10th and 11th), I organized a mini-symposium on Programming Languages here at U. Iowa.  I invited doctoral students from Indiana, U. Penn., Portland State, and Northwestern to come down and give talks on their research in PL.  Robby Findler from Northwestern also brought his fall PL seminar down — so we had a big group of Racketeers here!  Sam Tobin-Hochstadt gave the keynote, which was simultaneously our departmental colloquium.  Why did I call this a mini-symposium?  Isn’t a “symposium” in the ACM taxonomy just a meeting that is between the size of a workshop and a conference?  I was thinking of Plato’s symposium here, where the emphasis is on lively discourse in pursuit of truth (about love, in Plato’s case, and involving quite a bit of drinking — while our focus was more technical, we did go for local beer).  So we had 45 minutes blocked out for each talk, and lots of breaks and long lunches.  I was really happy with the results, as we did ask a lot of questions, ranging from basic-knowledge questions from folks newer to a particular topic, to quite advanced reflections.  The talks were all really great, too, with the possible exception of my own, which was too jammed with rules and derivations.  Anyhow, it was a very fun event, and I plan to ask for participant travel funds from NSF — which paid for this edition — in my future grant proposals.  You can find the program, with titles and abstracts, and even a group picture, here.

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