The call for submissions for Off the Beaten Track 2015 is open, and I’m very excited and proud to be serving on the program committee this year!

Since it began in 2012, OBT has been co-located with POPL, which is a major annual event in the PL research world, and it’s become one of the things I most look forward to when I go to POPL. Here’s what OBT is about, according to the workshop web page:

Programming language researchers have the principles, tools, algorithms and abstractions to solve all kinds of problems, in all areas of computer science. However, identifying and evaluating new problems, particularly those that lie outside the typical core PL problems we all know and love, can be a significant challenge. This workshop’s goal is to identify and discuss problems that do not often show up in our top conferences, but where programming language research can make a substantial impact. We hope fora like this will increase the diversity of problems that are studied by PL researchers and thus increase our community’s impact on the world.

While many workshops associated with POPL have become more like mini-conferences themselves, this is an anti-goal for OBT. The workshop will be informal and structured to encourage discussion. We are at least as interested in problems as in solutions.

If that sounds cool to you, and you’re wondering whether you should submit a talk, then, first of all, yes, you should! Second, to get an idea of the sorts of things that can appear at OBT, you might read Neel Krishnaswami’s blog post on the talks that Chris Martens and Bret Victor gave at the 2014 workshop. I also recommend perusing the successful talk proposals from past OBTs; you can find them all on the workshop websites from the last three years.

Since you only have to submit a talk proposal of two pages at most, OBT doesn’t require anything like the investment of time that a typical workshop submission (where you have to submit a whole paper) might.1 So, why not give it a shot? Write a talk proposal about that idea that’s been nagging at you, the one that’s too weird or half-baked for a mainstream PL venue but too interesting to let go of.

The submission URL isn’t up on the web page yet, but, psst: here it is. I’m looking forward to reading your submissions!

  1. Once your submission gets in, of course, then by all means invest a great deal of time in making your talk amazing! 

Categories: ,