I found the event interesting and enjoyable. In particular, the two invited talks were excellent. Cedric Fournet presented some joint work with Andrew D. Gordon and Sergio Maffeis reported in the paper A Type Discipline for Authorization in Distributed Systems. In his talk, Cedric addressed the following two key questions.
- How can we express good authorization policies?
- How can we enforce good authorization policies?
Greg Morissett delivered an inspiring talk on the Cyclone project. Cyclone is a safe dialect of C. It is designed so that pure Cyclone programs are not vulnerable to a wide class of bugs that plague C programs such as buffer overflows. (Greg said early on in his talk that the legacy of C is, if you allow me to phrase one of his slides as a regular expression, (Buffer overrun)* and that he hates C!) Greg's talk was a great ad for some of the topics I am about to cover in my course on semantics for programming languages, and highlighted how good time-honoured theory in new clothes can help improve on the safety of a beast like C.
I think that his talk gave each member of the audience something to take home, and that's one of the main secrets of a successful invited address. I just wish that more of my colleagues had been there to listen.