October 29, 2017

Some thoughts on the 2017 edition of LambdaWorld. My phone is broken so I don’t have any pics, but I’ll just embed some tweets. I need to remind in this post what’s in the footer of my website: All opinions are my own, never of my current employer.

Intro

I attended LambdaWorld, a really special kind of conference that takes place in Cádiz, in southern Spain. It should be mentioned that 47Degrees is doing a great job in the region and promoting the Spanish community at large.

It was an awesome experience which mixed meeting up with old friends, work colleagues, talking day in and night out about functional programming, and also partying, beer, and hanging out at the beach.

There was also, as always, some annoyances and “what the actual fuck” moments which I’ll discuss below.

The good

Common Lisp workshop - Andrew Lawson

I’m perhaps a bit biased on this one, because Andrew is currently my manager at RavenPack. However, Andrew covered everything I like to hear about a language during his workshop, including the bad parts and the potential drawbacks.

I write Common Lisp on a daily basis these days, so I don’t need to be further convinced about the good or bad parts about it, but to me what made this workshop incredible was to see just how passionate, enthusiastic, and down to earth Andrew is about Common Lisp. I think he transmitted this enthusiasm to the folks around him, who were in turn also really into it.

Whoever’s phone kept ringing, by the way, shame on you. Turn that shit off and respect folks around you.

Everything you didn’t want to know about monad transformer state - Michael Snoyman

Link to the slides.

Michael gave an absolutely refreshing talk not just about StateT, but also about the industrial usage of Haskell at large.

Again, really down to earth. I got to discuss with him about a few subjects and some of the things he mentioned. It’s always good to listen to people such as himself who don’t have Haskell as an idealised utopic language, but as a real tool to Get Shit Done, and done well.

Going Higher - Alejandro Serrano

Damn, why there isn’t a single tweet related to this talk is beyond me.

Alejandro, talked about Impredicative Types, which basically boiled down to the use forall in Haskell.

Another, great, enthusiastic, down to earth, and (somewhat) approachable talk.

Because I can’t find a tweet or the slides, I’ll just share his love for the food we had a the RavenPack booth:

The bad

(Keynote) Profunctor Optics - Bartosz Milewski

Though I think that Bartosz is an incredibly smart person, whose written and video material is amazing, this keynote was seriously inaccessible.

Keynotes are meant for the all of the attendees to join, and Bartosz’s talk went incredibly over the head of almost everyone there, including myself.

This wasn’t the only keynote that I felt was very much inaccessible, and, let’s be honest, boring. And I don’t know why the organizers decided on them, but I fear there’s some tendency to promote the “look at how smart we all are” attitude, and to me it’s just straight up frontin. Furthermore it promotes the whole “ivory tower” bullshit. Thumbs down.

The ugly

If your talk’s title starts with “Don’t fear the <Insert Category Theory Concept Here>”, I won’t attend your talk, no matter the content or how eloquent you are. I won’t actually mention who does this, because you all know who you are.

Nobody fears Monads, Monoids, Applicatives, Functors, or anything, and the whole “have no fear” bit is not only already old, but it’s also condescending and makes you look like a hack.

I’m so tired of people time and time again coming up with a different analogy to what a Monad is. You know what would be nice? To have something like the following slide at any moment:

I don’t care if you come up with the closest analogy of a Monad, it’ll never be as accurate as the actual definition. Again, more “ivory tower” garbage which just makes so many concepts unwelcoming from the “outside.”

The awesome

Getting invited to an amazing free dinner and an awesome presentation that mixed culture, maths, and technology:

I live in Andalucía and over the years I’ve grown a taste for Flamenco, and I learned so very much thanks to this. An unforgettable cultural and immersive experience.

So long, Andalucía

The Flamenco event was great not just from the point of view of the great cultural history of the region, but also for me it was quite a great way for me to, yet again, reliaze that I live in a truly special part of the world.

I’m moving to Australia at the end of next month, for a number of reasons, where the biggest one of them is that it’s something that I’ve been meaning to do for a long time.

I’ll write more about that (and - hopefully - share some surf pics) throughout next year.

Conclusion

LambdaWorld was great, and despite the fact that I’m passionate about my criticisms, I will definitely come back to it as long as they keep doing it.

The organizers, as mentioned, are doing really important work for the region. It’s 70€ for the early bird ticket, and for that you get treated to great talks, infinite amount of coffee, two lunches, one dinner, a party with free beer and a live concert at a really great location… I really doubt they’re making any real profit off the conference, which makes me believe that their intention is to bring FP to Andalucía1, and promote the local community.

Thanks for everything!

Listening to

That first take of There Is A Light… is just so great.

Amendments

As always, any and all changes to this post are here.

Footnotes


  1. Indeed, as almost always, Andalucía is late to “the game” but hey, better late than never.