The Hyperpessimist

The grandest failure.

Strangeloop 2016 Recommendations

If you have followed me on Twitter and opened your timeline recently you probably couldn’t miss the fact that I was on the Strangeloop conference. I will admit that this was the best conference I have visited: the talks were inspiring, the location was fantastic and the food was excellent as well. I’ve even grown to like St. Louis for it’s beginning of the centaury highrise buildings downtown.

So in this blog post I want to present you the talks I liked most, along with links to the videos in case I managed to convince you to secrifice time of your life to head my recommendations.

Why you can trust me

I have been to a number of conferences and even given some average talks, so I know what I am talking about. Also I have a blog, so I must know what I’m thinking about.

The selection

The order is undefined, because I wouldn’t say that one talk is better than another. I liked them all but often for very different reasons.

  • Humanities x Technology” was one of the keynotes and it was incredibly inspiring. Exploring into why empathy is important, even for programmers.
  • An Introduction to Combinator Compilers and Graph Reduction Machines” is an introduction to how functional programming languages used to be compiled. It focusses on the SKI combinators which were interesting to me since I heard about them before but didn’t understand what they were used for.
  • GraphQL: Designing a Data Language” introduces GraphQL. Skip if you already know about GraphQL, but I learned some new things from it and would want to give it a try sometime in the near future.
  • African Polyphony & Polyrhythm” on how african music is structured. I have no idea about music, but I still enjoyed the talk and learned something.
  • Fold, paper, scissors - an exploration of origami’s fold and cut problem” is a very cool talk taking an obscure topic and applying CS methods to it. I have become quite jaded with CS, solving always the same things ad nauseam, but this talk has reminded me of the magic of problem solving that I felt when I first saw Bresenham’s algorithm.
  • Languages for 3D Industrial Knitting” is on how knitting works and how knitting machines can be programmed. The talk was both informative and very funny. I’m glad that people still do cool, weird (strange?) stuff.

I’m sure there were other good talks, this is just the subset I attended and would recommend to watch at home if you haven’t.

A cool thing to note is the fact that these videos are already online, it took the organizers about a day to upload and publish the talks. Very impressive.