Many languages have an underlying virtual machine (VM) to provide a more portable and convenient substrate for compilation or interpretation. For language research it’s useful to be able to generate custom VMs and other language tools for different languages. Which raises the question: what’s the appropriate language for writing experimental languages?
I’ve spent this week at the Pervasive 2010 conference on pervasive computing, along with the Programming Methods for Mobile and Pervasive Systems workshop I co-arranged with Dominic Duggan. Both events have been fascinating.
I was talking to one of my students earlier, and lent him a book to read over summer. It was only after he’d left that I realised that — for me at any rate — the book I’d given him is probably the most seminal work in the whole of computer science, and certainly the book that’s most influenced my career and research interests.
Recently there’s been an exchange in the Irish media about the decline of intellectuals in universities and calling into question whether universities are still fit for purpose given their funding and management structures. The fundamental question seems to me to be far deeper, and impacts on the UK and elsewhere as much as Ireland: what is — or should be — the relationship between academics and their funding sources? To what extent does the person paying the academic piper call the research tune?