Do you even Curry On? Chess timers, the halting problem and tapas. A conference report.

Programming is a vast landscape, though you'd be forgiven to think otherwise. You just might've been sucked into the bubble of Ruby of Rails bonanza for the last 10 years. Or you've been busy solving the halting problem. Or maybe you've been building this language which has types for its type (types) and you have not written a line of it but it's all in your proofs. Or you are upgrading to Angular 5. But lately, you've been having this feeling at the back of your head: is this all there is? Surely not? 

But you are in luck, because your friend, the one with the New Relic t-shirt, shouting "BIG DATA BABY" from the corner of the office every Friday afternoon when he makes an Insights query told you about this conference which is all about tapas and programming, but mostly tapas. You check it out and the line-up looks amazing: so many words you don't know. Nothing about tapas, but profunctor optics sound equally tasty. You book and you go.

The Conference, The Tapas

You land, get a sunburn, bin your socks, engage flip-flops and grab your conference plan. But what's this? You open the plan and there is pages and pages and pages of stuff. PLDI, ECOOP, ISMM, DEBS, LCTES and Curry On 2017. Curry on indeed, because these are all programming conferences and they are all together here, at a flip-flop's reach. You have not had had any tapas yet, but this program definitely feels like it. The choice is fantastic and the humble programme hand-holds you through the two days gathering sweat, cookie crumbs, coffee stains until it can say it has been places and seen things. 

In the morning hours, fresh after the keynote you watch the PLDI madness, a chance to hear a bunch of 1 minute pitches about papers presented at PLDI. Then the chess-timer talks: speakers get 20 minutes speaking time and the audience gets 20 minutes of discussion time, two budgets used up at any time during the talk. This makes for a very nice mix indeed, though in large this depends on the topic and chattiness of the audience. The divergence from the formula is nice and you feel more conferences should do it. The first day ends with a fantastic party at the Moritz Brewery, and lo-and-behold - there is tapas. You have some and geek out about vector programming with your fellow attendees.

Favourite talks

You are flying home, not recollecting when did Ryanair successfully merge the teleshopping experience with commercial flying, put your headphones on and pull out notes about your favourite talks from the conference (in no particular order):

Keep Calm and Curry On

"Did you learn anything?", she asks while refactoring a chunky piece of code. You lean back and think how great it is that people think of all these amazing projects and go all over and share them. And how this messy industry is changing the world everyday and we are able to be right in the middle of this change, as long as we are open to reaching out for ideas coming not only from our own experience, but also from people pushing the edge of what can be done in programming today. "I've learned that I still got a lot of amazing things to learn".

Join us

Do you like conferences and tapas? Come work at Red Badger, we don't have tapas, but we have £2000 for a training budget that will let you attend awesome conferences like Curry On. And who knows, maybe they'll have tapas.

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