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Computer programmers probe latest software trends at OOPSLA

More than 1,000 software technologists from around the world will gather at the 2008 OOPSLA conference October 19-23 to address the newest trends in improving programming languages, refining the practice of software development, and exploring new programming paradigms.

Janos Sztipanovits, director of the Institute for Software Integrated Systems (ISIS) in the School of Engineering at Vanderbilt University, and a leading expert on model-based design for distributed and embedded software, is a keynote speaker.

In addition to OOPSLA events, Vanderbilt will host a visit and lecture Oct. 22 by Dr. Joseph Sifakis of the University of Grenoble, France. Sifakis is a co-winner of ACM’s A.M. Turing Award, which Sztipanovits describes as  “roughly the Nobel Prize of Computer Science.”

Along with its traditional focus on object orientation, OOPSLA, the international conference on Object-Oriented Programming, Systems, Languages, and Applications, will reflect on how the software programming field is embedded in other disciplines, and the benefits for both perspectives.

OOPSLA 2008 is sponsored by ACM, the Association for Computing Machinery, and ACM SIGPLAN, its Special Interest Group on Programming Languages.

The OOPSLA 2008 ( program includes international speakers, interactive panel discussions, innovative research papers, and inventive demonstrations. Among the topics to be presented are agile software development and other development techniques to programming languages, embedded development and web services. Unorthodox subjects like archeology, anthropology, astronomy are on the conference program as well.

A unique strength of the OOPSLA conference is keynote speakers from outside software development whose work offers useful insights for software developers. Examples include:

– World-renowned Egyptologist Mark Lehner on the infrastructure that supported construction of the great pyramids at Giza, including the social and architectural modularity of provisioning large workforces.

– Professor Lucy Suchman of Lancaster University, UK on methods for making sense of how people work together, and using those observations to better support their work.

– Professor Sonali Shah of the University of Washington on the social structures that support innovation and entrepreneurship today.

Oher keynote speakers include leading figures from the software development community:

– Rebecca Wirfs-Brock, founder of the consulting firm Wirfs-Brock Associates, and inventor of the Responsibility-Driven Design approach to software development.

– Mark Dominus, best-known for writing “Higher-Order Perl”, in which he adapted higher-order programming techniques widely used in Lisp, Haskell, and SML for use in Perl, the Open Source software used for mission critical projects in the public and private sectors.

OOPSLA 2008 is again hosting an ACM Student Research Competition (SRC), enabling students to interact with researchers and learn about current research in the field. The first round of SRC evaluation will be held jointly with the OOPSLA Poster Session, where authors may present late-breaking results or innovative work in an informal and interactive setting. The SRC shares the Posters session’s goal of facilitating interaction among researchers and attendees. The SRC also affords students real-time experience with both formal presentations and evaluations.

The conference attracts recognized academics, undergraduate students, industrial developers, researchers and managers as well as creators and users of technology from across the globe.