I am Steven Cheung, a PhD student at the University of Birmingham, researching on the semantics of data-flow languages using Geometry of Interaction style machines. This post is about my own experience in the ICFP as a student volunteer.
This is my first time to attend an academic conference and I am very thankful to be part of it. I have to admit I was pretty nervous at the conference (in the first day) especially when it comes to the breaks. To see so many researchers actively chatting with each other was exciting and a bit scary to me as a novice attendee and partly because of the language barrier. A question as simple as “what do you do?” can also be frightening. But when I finally got used to it, it was really enjoyable. I remember a fellow research student explained to me the power of quantum computing. We had a fruitful discussion on the basic concept of qubits and superposition and how to extract the final result of the execution from a probability distribution.
The conference and its workshops covered a wide range of talks and tutorials from theory to practice. I attended a CUFP tutorial on incremental computing which is closely related to my own research. In the tutorial we build incremental programs using the ocaml library developed by JaneStreet. It was fascinating because the resulting program could run 30 times faster than its non-incremental counterpart.
All in all, this conference was a great experience and I enjoyed it very much!