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Dagstuhl Seminar 06181

Latently-Typed Languages

( May 01 – May 06, 2006 )

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Even as research into typed programming languages continues apace, languages with no prescribed type system, which we shall refer to as latently-typed languages—such as Erlang, Lua, Python, Ruby, Smalltalk, Scheme, Self—continue to be a fertile terrain for innovative research. This research spans a broad range of subject areas such as language design, programming environments, programming methodology, education, cross-language integration, and application frameworks. It is not entirely coincidental that many of these innovations have emerged in languages without a single, fixed type system.

Innovative work on latently-typed languages, however, has been done in diverse communities that have tended to not publish in the same conferences or attend the same venues, thereby losing valuable cross-pollination. These barriers have been erected partly because of an unfortunate segregation into historical language paradigms (primarily “object-oriented” versus “functional,”, and because of differences in emphasis (“development” versus “semantics,” “industrial” versus “research,” and so on).

The goal of the seminar was to unite these disparate communities to exchange ideas and identify key areas for future research, and to lay the groundwork for future cooperation. Thus, the purpose of the workshop was acquainting the participants with work that has been happening in other communities, rather than being a forum for presenting novel research ideas.

Workshop organization

Prior to the workshop, a mailing list with all participants was established. Its purpose was to solicit input on organization and content. The mailing list established areas of interest for the discussion, and collected many other suggestions that helped the organizers shape and prepare the workshop itself. The organizers consolidated the areas of interest, and used the mailing list to form groups of speakers to prepare survey talks on these subjects. Each of these groups then collaborated on their talks, which formed the backbone of the workshop schedule.

The presentation of novel research was left to a “soap-box session” of ten-minute talks, as communication of novel research was not a primary aim of the workshop. Moreover, a distributed demo session allowed implementors to show their systems.

As the workshop progressed, the lively after-talk discussions and evening conversations soon made it clear that a large number of subjects could not be accommodated in the survey talks, but was nevertheless interesting to many people. A “wish list” of additional talk subjects, paired with offers from the participants to give talks, led to yet another open session with longer talks. An open discussion session focussed on controversial statements, collected in a “Controversy Corner” during the workshop.

More discussion after the workshop produced a list of major “must-read” publications related to latently-typed languages. (The list is being maintained at http://www.

  • Joe Armstrong (ERICSSON - Stockholm, SE)
  • Alexandre Bergel (Hasso-Plattner-Institut - Potsdam, DE) [dblp]
  • Andrew P. Black (Portland State University, US) [dblp]
  • Rastislav Bodik (University of California - Berkeley, US) [dblp]
  • Gilad Bracha (Sun Microsystems, US)
  • John Brant (The Refactory Inc. - Urbana, US) [dblp]
  • Gregory Cooper (Brown University - Providence, US)
  • Pascal Costanza (Free University of Brussels, BE) [dblp]
  • Wolfgang de Meuter (Free University of Brussels, BE)
  • Marcus Denker (Universität Bern, CH)
  • Stéphane Ducasse (University of Savoie, FR) [dblp]
  • Christopher Dutchyn (University of British Columbia - Vancouver, CA)
  • Sebastian Egner (Philips Research Europe - Eindhoven, NL)
  • Erik Ernst (Aarhus University, DK) [dblp]
  • Marc Feeley (Université de Montréal, CA)
  • Matthias Felleisen (Northeastern University - Boston, US) [dblp]
  • Robert Bruce Findler (University of Chicago, US) [dblp]
  • Matthew Flatt (University of Utah - Salt Lake City, US) [dblp]
  • Dan Friedman (Indiana University - Bloomington, US)
  • Martin Gasbichler (Universität Tübingen, DE)
  • Fritz Henglein (University of Copenhagen, DK) [dblp]
  • Roberto Ierusalimschy (PUC - Rio de Janeiro, BR) [dblp]
  • Ralph Johnson (University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign, US)
  • Eric Knauel (Universität Tübingen, DE)
  • Donovan Kolbly (Xynthesis - Austin, US)
  • Shriram Krishnamurthi (Brown University - Providence, US) [dblp]
  • Thomas Kühne (Victoria University of Wellington, NZ) [dblp]
  • Michele Lanza (University of Lugano, CH) [dblp]
  • Julia Lawall (University of Copenhagen, DK) [dblp]
  • David Mandelin (University of California - Berkeley, US)
  • Guillame Marceau (Brown University - Providence, US)
  • Jay McCarthy (Brown University - Providence, US)
  • Kim Mens (University of Louvain, BE) [dblp]
  • Philippe Mougin (Zenexity, FR)
  • Oscar M. Nierstrasz (Universität Bern, CH) [dblp]
  • Matthias Radestock (LShift-London, GB)
  • Trygve M . H. Reenskaug (University of Oslo, NO)
  • Manuel Serrano (INRIA Sophia Antipolis - Méditerranée, FR) [dblp]
  • Michael Sperber (Tübingen, DE)
  • Laurence Tratt (King's College London, GB) [dblp]
  • Kero van Gelder (Philips Research Europe - Eindhoven, NL)
  • David Van Horn (Brandeis University - Waltham, US) [dblp]
  • Ellen van Paesschen (Free University of Brussels, BE)
  • Noel Welsh (University of Birmingham, GB)
  • Roel Wuyts (Free University of Brussels, BE)

  • programming languages / compiler

  • latent typing
  • object-oriented programming
  • functional programming
  • introductory teaching
  • domain-specific languages
  • programming environments
  • refactoring