Take me home

My all-time favorite talks

Written by August Lilleaas, published December 09, 2019

This post is part of a series: Advent Calendar 2019

It's sharing time!

Rich Hickey: That talk

Simple Made Easy is the most mind bending talk I've ever seen. I think most Clojure programmers will tell you that. I'm not really a Clojure programmer, I like lots of things, but I do have an extra special relationship with Clojure, Datomic and the thoughts that lies underneath the surface.

This talk is about Clojure, without really mentioning Clojure.


Kathryn McKinley: How Google makes search fast

Google clocks down CPUs to save power, but if a search is taking too long they'll clock up a core and re-run the search there. The talk goes in detail about how they figured out where to set the thresholds here, and what they do to achieve their goal of having 98% of searches complete in under 200 milliseconds. (Or was it 99% and 300 milliseconds? Don't remember the exact details there.)


Byrd & Friedman: Writing programs that write themselves as output - and more shenaningans

For example, if you fast forward to 0:45:00, you'll see how they generate all possible programs that return the number 6.

Pretty mind blowing that this stuff is even possible


Guy Steele: the worst program ever written

It's pretty cool to see how horrible software used to be in the 70s. He talks about cool auto-parallelism stuff in his own language, Fortress, with the context of all the things we used to have to think about when writing software in the (not so good) old days.


Strange Loop

A bit of meta at the end. 3 of the 4 talks above are from Strange Loop. And the last one could have been from Strange Loop - they've had a few talks there as well, it's just that when I saw them, it was at flatMap.

You should totally go to Strange Loop.

Questions or comments?

Feel free to contact me on Twitter, @augustl, or e-mail me at august@augustl.com.