SAM SIG: How Implementation Language Influences Architecture



  • The Monthly Meeting of the SAM SIG


    Presentation Overview

    In the late 1920's linguists Edward Sapir and Benjamin Whorf hypothesized that the thoughts we can think are largely determined by the language we speak. In his essay "Beating the Averages" Paul Graham echoed this notion and invented a hypothetical language, Blub, to explain why it is so hard for programmers to appreciate programming language features that aren't present in their own favorite language.

    Does the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis hold for computer languages? Can you be a great software architect if you only speak Blub? Doesn't Turing equivalence imply that language choice is just another implementation detail? Yes, no, and no says Peter Seibel, language lawyer (admitted, at various times, to the Perl, Java, and Common Lisp bars) and author of the award-winning book _Practical Common Lisp_.

    In his talk, Peter will discuss how our choices of programming language influences and shapes our pattern languages and the architectures we can, or are likely to, invent. He will also discuss whether it's sufficient to merely broaden your horizons by learning different programming languages or whether you must actually use them.


    About the Presenter

    Peter Seibel

    Peter Seibel is either a writer turned programmer or programmer turned writer. After picking up an undergraduate degree in English and working briefly as a journalist, he was seduced by the web. In the early '90s he hacked Perl for Mother Jones Magazine and Organic Online. He participated in the Java revolution as an early employee at WebLogic where he helped implement various parts of what became Weblogic's J2EE offering, including JNDI, Servlets, and EJB, eventually managing the EJB team. He also taught Java programming at UC Berkeley Extension. At both Organic and Weblogic he was the resident language lawyer and has since been an avid comparative computer linguist.

    After WebLogic he worked at Kenamea as a Technical Director in charge of the architecture and implementation of an internet-based transactional messaging system . He was also responsible, as the first engineer hired, for developing Kenamea's software development process.

    In 2003 he left Kenamea with no more plan than to spend a year hacking Common Lisp and ended up writing a book about it, _Practical Common Lisp_, which was recently named a finalist in the technical book category of the 16th Annual Jolt Product Excellence & Productivity Awards.

    Peter is also one of the few second generation Lisp programmers on the planet and was a childhood shareholder in Symbolics, Inc. He lives in Oakland with his wife, Lily, and their dog, Mahlanie.


    Event Logistics


    Cubberley Community Center

    4000 Middlefield Road, Room H-1

    Palo Alto, CA



    6:30 - 7:00 p.m. Registration/Networking/Refreshments/Pizza

    7:00 - 9:00 p.m. Presentations



    $15 at the door for non-SDForum members

    No charge for SDForum members

    No registration required

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