The Proceedings of EVCS – the Eelco Visser Commemorative Symposium – have now been published online, open access:

We're delighted to announce that the first ACM SIGPLAN Workshop on "Functional Software Architecture - FP in the Large" will be held in Seattle, USA in September 2023, co-located with the ICFP conference.

Please share, and submit your best papers, experience reports, and architectural pearls on large-scale functional programming!

The Call for Papers is open - deadline is June 1!

1/ If, like me, you didn't grow up in the West, you probably have a limited understanding of the Irish Troubles: Catholic vs Protestant, Bloody Sunday, Bobby Sands, enough to know why Brexit caused panic… but not much more.

Keefe sets out to tell this story in the style of a crime novel through two case studies: Jean McConville and Dolours Price. One looks forward and the other back in time. You know they must intersect, but how? ↵


Think about this when you hear Suella Braverman saying to Lineker that the difference between her comments and those of the Nazis was that hers are lawful.

I have a theory that, while LLMs (Large language models, like ChatGPT) don't really reflect how most people think, reason, and write

However, they do reflect how VCs tend to think, reason and write: they don't actually understand what they are saying or what they are doing, and their abilities are largely an illusion based on a mix of having a staggering number of resources at their disposal, and also on vacuuming up other people's work and claiming it as their own

I've been a professional musician since the end days of selling CDs, and I would like to say that having experienced the decline of CD sales because of piracy transition into the paid streaming era it's unambiguous that musicians were better off when mostly everyone was pirating and then some people bought CDs or other merch out of a desire to support vs today when everyone pays a nominal fee to a corporation that pays us nothing and also satisfies their desire to support despite not actually offering support.

I would much rather you pirate anything I have made or worked on vs listening on streaming services, which are an objective nightmare for musicians. Even if you never intend to spend a penny, normalizing piracy is better for us than normalizing the current capitalist-realism nightmare where you get whatever you want and also get to relax into the fiction that you aren't exploiting musicians because you pay the price of one album per month to a giant corporation so you can feel ok about it.

Help your child be more secure online by naming their first pet "iu7*t2o.P!4c".

@JacquesC2 I agree here. I feel like we need an explicitly new type of submission which is for these styles of papers. Perhaps bring back the ‘letters’ style as written about

#MastodonNews Mar 4, 2023

So, this is fun. We are their worst nightmare. Turn's out Mastodon "falls short for businesses" because it lacks "advertising support," says an ad industry publication.

CMSWire: Facebook Is Better for Business Than Mastodon. Here's Why >>>

"Social media has become one of the most powerful tools businesses can leverage for advertising... Mastodon, on the other hand, does not offer an advertising platform to businesses."



Rant about how "The problem isn’t that kids are using AI to write homework assignments. The problem is we’re assigning kids problems AI can do" completely misses the point of educational exercises 

I keep seeing a lot of stuff floating around saying things like "The problem isn’t that kids are using AI to write homework assignments. The problem is we’re assigning kids problems AI can do" (seen this morning) and I'm sorry but I find this take incredibly naive. I'm no fan of boring assignments where students do some activity just because and nobody seriously evaluates them or gives them feedback. That's a real problem, but not one this catchy suggestion addresses.

We still teach students addition, subtraction, etc., despite having calculators for decades. Why? Because if you only ever punch numbers into a calculator you don't actually understand numbers! We still teach students how to implement linked lists not because we need more linked list implementations, but because it's a stepping stone to understanding data structures in general. We don't ask students to write essays because we care about having more text sequences that take the form of an essay. We ask them to write essays so they can practice organizing their thoughts and stating their thoughts, opinions, and arguments clearly in a form that other humans can understand (to practice clear communication!).

Replace "AI" in the quote above with "online outlets that do your homework for a price." Or replace it with "parents." We ask for these things not because the outputs themselves are generally important, but because we care about the learning outcomes that arise from a student doing them; learning how to produce these outputs is how we teach students to think critically, or understand numbers or data structures. Yes this can (and often is) done poorly, and that needs fixing, 100%. But asking students to do things others already know how to do is a critical pedagogical tool for building understanding.

Nevermind that these lines of argument give the "AI" too much credit. ChatGPT can't actually do math, for example, it just memorized millions of examples of doing thousands of math problems. It's why it screws up if you ask it to work with really large numbers: it hasn't seen those in its training data so you get the output of smoothing an uneven probability distribution.

EDIT: I want to clarify something important: I'm specifically arguing against the idea that just because ChatGPT-like systems can "do" an assignment we should not use it for teaching anymore, which is some nonsense I've been hearing a lot lately. Because I wasn't clear, some people have read this post as implicitly defending business as usual. That's not what I mean. The examples I gave of assignments are things that *can* be used for excellent learning, but any style of assignment can be given or graded thoughtlessly in a way that leads to no learning at all, and I don't care to preserve those uses. So please do reevaluate assignments and toss ones that don't work; just please toss the ones that actually don't lead to learning (plenty of valid reasons to do this even before ChatGPT), and keep the ones that do even if a few students might use automated systems for them. We already have enough trouble with instructors more concerned with cheating detection than with learning outcomes.

EVCS: the programme for the Eelco Visser Commemorative Symposium is available at

Reminder: The registration deadline is next week! Friday 10th March (AoE).

I started dumping stuff about categorical systems theory in a public repo
It's still a mess and probably always will, it's mostly to have a place were to put stuff without a home, but also hopefully evolving into a useful reference of theory and examples

Do you know how many minutes there are in February?
Believe or not, the answer is 8!

slices of a monoid 

A monoid is a category with one object. Think of natural numbers as hopping on one spot. All the fun is in the arrows. So it's a fun move to take the (decidedly singular) slice category. The objects are arrows in the monoid. The arrows are arrows in the monoid which make triangles commute. E.g., 2 -|+3> 5.

Pullbacks, in this setting, are like computing minimum, comparison and subtraction together. If we have 2 -|+3> 5 and 4 -|+1> 5, then the pullback is the minimum, 2, but completing the pullback square by 2 -|+0> 2 and 2 -|+2> 4 also tells us which is smaller and by how much.

It turns out (or rather, turned out a couple of thousand years ago) that you can compute pullbacks for the multiplicative monoid by iteratively computing pullbacks for the additive monoid.

2023 marks 60 years of researching Computer Science & AI at my university --- the University of Edinburgh. Join us in a series of events, learn more about the history of AI & CS, and take a look to the future at (watch the space pointed to for updates!)

driving me insane that in all these conversations about students turning in essays written by chatgpt, no one's making the very obvious argument that this is only happening because our education system places zero emphasis on qualitative understanding of a subject, instead favoring the infantile fantasy that knowledge you can measure numerically is the highest-quality and most important type of knowledge to the exclusion of all else

“The reason most public transportation is seen as ‘losing’ money is precisely because it charges for trips. If you don't charge fares, suddenly it can't ‘lose’ money. It just costs money, the same as the roads.”

This random comment has given me my new favourite argument for removing fares from public transit.

What nonsense! I find the students sleep perfectly well during my early-morning lectures.

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A Mastodon instance for programming language theorists and mathematicians. Or just anyone who wants to hang out.