A few weeks ago, I gave my first talk at an industry conference, Curry On, that was co-located with ECOOP, a programming languages conference in Europe. The conference was not your typical industry conference. Their goal was to bridge academia and industry. Here were my expectations going into the conference. Having gone to other industry and academic conferences, I thought that Curry On was very well-run and had a very diverse crowd. Although the conference mainly attracted computer scientists interested in programming languages because of ECOOP, computer scientists in other fields, such as security and systems, also showed up, which was awesome.
My favorite event was the Curry-On party on the first night at the balcony of Trajan’s market. It was a beautiful venue and had a great view of Rome. Many of the speakers and attendees showed up, and since I gave a talk earlier that day, I had many interesting discussions about my work during this party. I talked with people from the whole spectrum, programming languages to systems, about my research interests. In particular, I am interested in applying cryptographic techniques to big data settings on the web. I received a lot of good feedback on my work, and it is always great to receive feedback about your work from people outside of your field and in industry. As a result, I generated many good ideas for future research. I had two unexpected outcomes. First, during the party, I discussed and learned about many of the cool trends happening in the programming languages community, which are very different from the trends in the systems and security community. Second, my knowledge of programming languages easily doubled. It was good that I was exposed to a different field. It’s very easy as a PhD student to be stuck in a very narrow mindset, but it’s important to broaden your knowledge. Maybe, one day, I will consider doing programming languages research! Curry On was a very well-run conference, and the mixture of industry professionals and academics created an awesome environment to discuss interesting problems in computer science. I am definitely considering going next year!
Originally published at https://medium.com/@ffwang2/my-trip-to-curry-on-and-ecoop-fb64320e75bc#.k2u1rfjlt