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

A Blog by Simon ArchipoffFri 15 Sep 2017


I am Simon Archipoff, I am a PhD student at Université de Bordeaux, in computer science.

I wanted to attend to ICFP and several co-located workshop because I have a old and deep interest in functional programming.

I’ll try now to express a feeling that explain my interest.

Human activities can be separated in two part that I wouldn’t be able to characterise properly. In the first part, we have poetry, art, fundamental mathematics, dance, theoretical physics, music, social studies… In the second part, we have engineering, pottery, applied physics, activism,…

I love what happens when those two part meets, that is when those pure human mind product, which wasn’t motivated by any need, command, request, or anything like that, turns out to be deeply relevant for the world. Some things are loved because they are beautiful, and eventually we understand that they were not only beautiful, but they also are very relevant, in the “who-cares-about-beauty” world. It’s like enlightening the world with beauty.

Like a person could change his perception of the world after he read a poem that touched him, the mathematics with their beauty touched those computing machine.

Computer are not some silly switching bits machines, they are maths machines. It is magic, we did those machines because we needed them, and the maths then told us « Hey, those machines are beautiful just like us ! ».

This is what I love about functional programming, it handles computers by their beautiful side. We do not write programs to solve some stupid real world problem without at first making it beautiful, by squeezing the maths out of it.