Saturday, April 24, 2010

workshop day GIDS 2010 - 3 - Functional Programming

Well, for the third session of the day, my choice was clear, cloud computing discussion with Simone, from AWS. I had already had the taste of google cloud solution (app engine), and now I wanted to see the Amazon flavour. Quite horribly unfortunately, the internet link gave way and Simone's presentation plans went awry.

The guy was quite angry and it was so visible, so very visible. He tried to talk people through, plain talk talk talk it never settled in. I see people literally dozing off, and I guess he realized that too, since on more than one occasion, he instructed to keep the hall lights switched on. A bit of bad thing on part of Saltmarch/Airtel...

As a result, midway during the session, I left off, and thought of joining in the Flex-php workshop from adobe guys. However, somehow, I ended up entering the hall where Venkat was talking about functional programming.

And did I regret that decision, no chance. I guess, I have never enjoyed a programming language discussion so much, probably because I didnt get a chance to speak to such a learned speaker, and so many of keen and interested students (yeah, blame my college, I know, I do that myself.. all the time :)

It was a packed house, and fantastic atmosphere. For one thing, Venkat knew what he was talking about, and for other, I found that discussion took me back about 15 years to my college days. I had a strong feeling, why didnt I had an educational experience as nice as this. The teacher, the students, the atmosphere, whole place was like a wonderful experience. Though I had no clue what scala is before I entered the place, it never felt like a problem.

The way he talked about issues, the benefits, the arguments he presented, and I think more importantly, the way he engaged the audience in discussions, it was just wonderful. You might think that I am over reacting, but i dont care, I just loved this guy, this session.

He talked about programming paradigms, the way procedural languages were king one day, and the way they are looked at as if ancient history is being talked about today. And similarly, for today's generation OOPS is becoming more of a thing of the past, and new paradigms are coming over.

The way he propounded functional programming, the very idea of not allowing immutability, the way of thinking in terms of having to think of a solution without that.. amazing...

At more than one point in time, the people in the audience tried to contest the idea/need of another language, when we already have so many, and the need of learning another one. There were thoughts on the toughness of a programming language vs the other, and the way he answered.. fantastic... His point in this case was, its as good as a Karnataka person going to Punjab and saying, "These people are crazy, their language is so touch, I cant even read that". And it was a good laugh..

At more than one point in time, he compared different programming languages, their features and pros and cons of each of them. The kind of knowledge that he had, to be able to compare them, was amazing...

I have to say, without any doubt, that this session was my best experience at GIDS 2010. I loved this, probably due to my personal interest in the theory of computer science as such, but also because there probably wasnt any other speaker with that kind of personality and flair for talking.

Hats off to Saltmarch for inviting people like him too...

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