November 28th 2007
I just watched Faith, Evolution, and Programming Languages, a Google EngEDU video. It was by Philip Wadler, a chap who I had never heard of but who has done loads of cool things. He designed Haskell’s Type Classes and Java’s Generics, and is currently working on a bridge between strongly typed and dynamically typed languages. The talk starts off with a brief, fascinating explanation of links (more properly isomorphisms) between logics and programming languages and makes the point that aliens may not create Java but certainly will create (discover?, I suppose it depends if you are a Platonist) the lambda calculus (calculi ?).
For about 20 mins towards the end I lost the plot and could not really follow his argument, but I will revisit it when I know a bit more. I am glad I hung on as the 10 minutes of discussion at the end were quite interesting and Links (the recent work he did not have time to show the slides for, a web framework with every tier written in the same language) seemed very interesting.
For more on the language/logic link, see here