Wednesday June 20th

GSoC and RustReach Day 38th

I’m heading to sleep soon

  • I have to get up at 6:45 am or so, which is not bad, considering I usually get up around 4:50 am. However, I should get some rest.

A couple things

  • So, what we decided is since I’m pretty much almost done with the first half of the project, is to clean up the UI describePicture rounding Precision. So we’re making a function for that called ShowShortFloat based on another function contained in Number.hs in the Codeworld-base folder.
  • After that, I’ll be embarking on fixing the Simulation and Animation controls and doing a rewind-debugging tool, sort of like what Elm has. That should be interesting and super fun, since it involves Mouse-clicks and stuff like that. So sort of like making a game.
  • We were going to do the constrained types feature, but that would be a lot more involved, and Chris said I could do a PhD thesis on that. lol. Ok :D

Speaking of Thesis

  • Ranjit gave an amazing talk on Refinement types today. He spoke about a generalized tool that would use this, sort of like gdb that was language agnostic and could be widely used. He made a good point that proof-checkers like Coq aren’t really widely used by the typical programmer, so there was need for something like that for the programmer, in the way in the past people have used Garbage Collection, etc for debugging (ie it’s part of the pipeline for the developer). I do agree that there is a split between the developer community and the academic community. For example, today we had a bunch of stickers out, and people flocked to the Coq and LLVM stickers, and people kept looking in bewilderment at the Kotlin stickers. “What’s this?” they’d ask, over and over. Even though, having been at IO, the general dev community describes Kotlin as “the new hotness” lol.

I learned a lot

  • And am really fascinated by tools like the DaCapo benchmarking suite. Programmers talk about “benchmarking”, but it’s often a sort of hand-wavy explanation when I’ve listened in on conversations. This was the first time I had heard specific, standardized tools used specifically for benchmarking from a community. So it’s really interesting.
  • I’ve also managed to unwittingly catch the attention of almost every person at the Semmle booth. Aditya said “I saw you speaking with my coworker”, and soon he was roped in, and took my name down, and I said if I get into a PhD, I’d love to work with them over summer. I just really like their culture and I liked every single person I’ve met from that company. Their reasoning makes a lot of sense to me, even though I need to get better technically and just write a lot more code (which I’m working on every day). They also have an SF office, and I asked Aditya if they’d possibly have a Haskell meetup or something there, because he’d meet some great people in the Bay who do Haskell. He’s moving there soon. I’d go, also. I really enjoyed speaking with everyone at that company, and I like their values.

In real life

  • I met both Joaquim Breitner (who I’ve only ever seen via posts on github issues or pull requests or on mailing lists for Haskell Cafe) in person and Richard Eisenberg. Richard is someone I sort of looked at from afar, in awe (kind of like Gabe about a year and a half ago..although he’s still Haskell Yoda..always :D). So I happened to be in his vicinity today at the Poster Research Competition, and he read my badge and immediately said “I know you!”. Wow. I would have never imagined in this universe that he would uhh know me. It was surreal. As it turns out, a while ago, in a moment of self-pity and confusion about my life’s path, I wrote him an email asking him for advice about pursuing a PhD. He gushed about how I could talk to him and he was so sorry he didn’t get back to me but he read my email and wanted to help me, and was really hoping I’d be at PLDI. Wow. Amazing.
  • The worst part is that we started talking and my friend, Charles, stood behind us and waved, because our group was waiting to go get sushi lol. So I had to cut my conversation short. Argh LOL. However, I hope to speak with him tomorrow; he just got into the conference today. Erik (Meijer) is giving the keynote, too, but I’m at registration so I don’t know if I can attend. This is uhh..the second time I’ll miss Erik’s talk. Whoops lol.
  • So I promised myself I’d spend time talking with Richard. People are so kind in the PL community. I had no idea he was a computer science professor of high school, so applying for a PhD was a risk for him. There are so many stories like that. I remember at lunch time, the guy next to me studied library science and the guy next to me on the other side had also studied something completely different before he came to PL. I really like these people.

So our group

  • Ended up going to another restaurant, when the sushi place didn’t pan out. It was really fun. Sahil, one of the guys in our group who is currently at MIT but originally from IIT (through an exchange programme) accidentally thought a photo in the restaurant was our waitress, when it was actually a photo of Janis Joplin. She really liked that, and we had a lot of fun hanging out. Sahil was telling us that 1.5 million or so people apply to attend an IIT, which only accepts 5000. And it’s based on scores. That’s the population of where I am, but our entry into high school was pretty rigorous and based on one 3-hour long exam that evaluated Mathematics and English scores at the age of 10/11. I think in my year you had to get at least a 97 % to get into my high school. Ugh.

I rushed back for my meeting

  • With my GSoC mentors. Gabe got a haircut lol. Chris is flying to New York on Friday, and I’m flying back, so no meeting Friday, but I’ll be pushing a lot of code between now and then, in any case.

I’m going to sleep…

Written on June 20, 2018