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The Beauty and the Beast — from Fortress to Julia

10 Nov
Friday, 11/10/2017 12:00pm to 1:30pm
Computer Science Building, Room 142
Systems Lunch
Speaker: Jan Vitek

Take two languages, Julia and Fortress, designed to solve the same problem with the same mechanisms and compare the approaches that lead one to being adopted by a growing number of domain scientists and the other discontinued. Can the two designs be reconciled? Can we somehow turn the beast that is into the beauty that could have been?

This talk is a snapshot of our investigations into Julia with more open questions than definitive answers. Together, we will review the language's design, a pragmatic effort driven by use-cases. In contrast, Fortress followed a more principled, formally grounded, approach that aimed for type soundness rather than adoption. We will marvel at the efficacy of Julia's compiler -- a one-trick pony that happens to work in practice. In comparison, Fortress was limited to a JVM-based interpreter with no clear path to high-performance. The last portion of the talk will be devoted to our study of the multi-dispatch feature of Julia and in particular of the subtype relation that is at its heart.

This talk will feature code and reduction rules. Audience interaction appreciated.

Jan Vitek loves to engineer software, sometimes teaches software engineering, often hacks single-file LaTeX documents, always complains about Git, and never used Coq. He is partly to blame for the artifact evaluation process in SIGPLAN conferences. He has an office at Northeastern University.



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