Haskell 2016: impressions of a first timer

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I had an exhausting yet exciting trip to Nara where for the first time I interacted with the functional programming community. What started out as a hobby is taking its toll on me; I am getting sucked in deeper and deeper into functional programming and it seems I am not minding that.

The broad area of functional programming and type theory is seeing a revolution of some sort. For a functional programmer it seems nothing is “esoteric” as long as it helps in solving the nut and bolt problems encountered in designing reliable software. It would not surprise me if the next big idea after sliced bread and monads rise from the murky depths of hott and become suddenly mainstream. A large contingent of participants were from the Industry, not the usual suspects like Microsoft Research, but from startups, banks, trading companies (Wolves of wallstreet?). That is extremely satisfying to a researcher in this area.

For me, this conference is also special in the sense that for the first time, I collaborated with some one (Brent Yorgey) whom I have never met face to face before. I am amazed at the intensity with which we worked with git as the medium of communication. This was more like the collaboration in the free software world than the typical academics collaboration that I am more used to. I wish academics moves more to this kind of a model.

This is also my second visit to Japan and I should say I am just as impressed now as I was in 2003. For a fan of fast trains like me, Japan is the ultimate destination of course. But Japan is not just tech. Its culture, food and the subtle aesthetics are all impressive. No wonder this land produced geniuses like Akira Kurosawa or Hayao Miyazaki.