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ICFP 2017
Sun 3 - Sat 9 September 2017 Oxford, United Kingdom

Giving a talk at HOPEWed 6 Sep 2017

I am Youyou Cong, a second-year PhD student at Ochanomizu University in Tokyo, Japan.

I gave a talk at the HOPE workshop, which was held before the main conference. The talk was about my recent collaborative work on natural language semantics. Natural language semantics is concerned with how to represent the meaning of sentences and how to map sentences to their semantic representations. Interestingly, many programming language techniques have proven useful in building semantic representations of sentences. In particular, control operators and dependent types allow us to obtain semantic representations in a “natural” way. However, no framework of natural language uses both due to the lack of control operators that work in dependently typed languages. Handling continuations in the presence of dependent types is difficult. Several studies have looked at how to safely use control operators in dependent calculi. A good news is that even the restricted use of control operators allows us to encode interesting sentences. In my HOPE talk, I presented an extension of a dependently typed language with control operators, and showed how to encode sentences in the extended language.

I worked on this with William J. Bowman, whom I met when I visited Northeastern University last year. It was the first time for me to collaborate with other people. One thing I learned from William is how to make good slides. For instance, I tend to put a lot of things (text, definitions, examples, …) in one slide, but it turns out that breaking them into different slides helps the audience focus on what should be focused on. I also found that it is easier to organize my speech with good slides.

I am not sure how well I did, but I received some positive comments after my talk. I am glad that people found my natural language application interesting. I HOPE to make progress on this project and give another talk at the next ICFP!