February 27th, 2011

Achievement unlocked: invited talk!

This past week, I went to Boston to give a talk at the Northeastern Programming Research Lab's weekly seminar. I had a great time hanging out at NU and talking shop with Aaron, Sam, Paul paul_stansifer, Stevie sstrickl, Carl, Jesse, Christos, and Mitch. As if that wasn't enough, my old Grinnell classmate Arjun happened to be in town for another reason and decided to swing by and see my talk while he was at it.1

I was pleased about how the talk went. I'd spoken about the project previously, but after reading Matt Might's advice for academic talks, I had decided to throw out my slides and start over from scratch. For those interested, here are the slides I ended up presenting (warning: 3.2 MB PDF). It was easily 40 hours of work to overhaul the talk, but I think it was worth it. And I got a nice laugh at my opening joke about the Zakim Bridge towers looking like lambdas.2

Aside from visiting Northeastern, it was great to hang around Boston for a few days. My uncle Joel took me on a walking tour of the set of The Social Network his neighborhood3, and we visited the Farm Aid office where he's been working for the last several years. He runs the Farmer Resource Network, helps organize the annual Farm Aid concert, and, depending on when you call 1-800-FARM-AID, is sometimes the person who answers. After reading the abstract I sent him, he graciously declined to come to my talk, although he insisted, "I love talks about polymorphism!"

Anyway: achievement unlocked, and all that! *whistles; busily adds new section to CV*

  1. I'm envious of people who live in a part of the world, e.g., New England, where cities and universities are so thick on the ground that such occurrences are possible. To come to a talk in Indiana, you pretty much have to intend to, you know?
  2. The audience also laughed at the irony of putting the words "low, low prices!" next to a picture of said bridge.
  3. In the used-books basement of the Harvard Book Store, I was unable to prevent myself from re-shelving The Devil Wears Prada next to something called God Wears Lipstick.