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Turing100 Lecture: Robin Milner and Polymorphic Type Inference in Programming Langauges – Oct 6

Robin Milner received the Turing award in 1991 for three major contributions to computer science:

  • In the area of automated theorem proving – He developed LCF, the first theoretically sound yet practical tool for machine assisted proof construction
  • In the area of programming language design – He developed ML, the first language to use polymorphic type inference along with a type-safe execution handling mechanism, something that underlies some of the most interesting new programming languages that are being developed today, and
  • In the area of concurrency – He developed CCS, a general theory of concurrency.

On 6th October, Navin Kabra (yes, that’s me), will give a talk about Robin Milner’s work. This talk is a part of the Turing Awards lecture series that happens at Persistent’s Dewang Mehta Auditorium at 2pm on the first Saturday of every month this year.

This will be followed by a panel discussion on “Should every programmer learn functional programming”. The panelists include Dhananjay Nene, Chief Architect at Vayana Software, Prof. Raju Pandey, of University of California-Davis, Rustom Modi, who has been teaching functional programming at the University of Pune for over 15 years, and who is a founder if i-Magus which delivers training in functional programming and other related technologies, and Kedar Swadi, CTO at AlgoAnalytics, and others. For more details of the panel discussion see this article

The event is free for everyone to attend. Register here

Abstract of the Talk

In this talk, I will give a brief overview of Robin Milner’s career, following by a technical dive into his work. I will briefly cover his work on automated theorem proving and LCF, which served as the motivation for the development of ML, the programming language intended to be used for automated theorem proving. ML ended up having a huge impact on the design of modern programming languages and its influence can be seen in important modern languages like Microsoft’s F#, Haskell, and the JVM based Scala. The bulk of my talk will cover the design of ML, with a specific focus on the polymorphic type inference system used in ML. Type inference is an important aspect of a lot of modern programming languages, and can be found, for example, in Google’s Go Language, Perl6, Visual Basic 9.0 onwards, C# version 3.0 onwards.

About the Turing Awards

The Turing awards, named after Alan Turing, given every year, are the highest achievement that a computer scientist can earn. And the contributions of each Turing award winner are then, arguably, the most important topics in computer science.

About Turing 100 @ Persistent Lecture Series

This year, the Turing 100 @ Persistent lecture series will celebrate the 100th anniversary of Alan Turing’s birth by having a monthly lecture series. Each lecture will be presented by an eminent personality from the computer science / technology community in India, and will cover the work done by one Turing award winner.

The lecture series will feature talks on Ted Codd (Relational Databases), Vint Cerf and Robert Kahn (Internet), Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie (Unix), Jim Gray, Barbara Liskov, and others. Full schedule is here

This is a lecture series that any one in the field of computer science must attend. These lectures will cover the fundamentals of computer science, and all of them are very relevant today.

Fees and Registration

This is a free event. Anyone can attend.

The event will be at Dewang Mehta Auditorium, Persistent Systems, SB Road, from 2pm to 5pm on Saturday 6th October. This event is free and open for anybody to attend. Register here

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