Recurse Center

Localhost: Ron Minsky

Types, and why you should care

Abstract: There’s an endless debate online between advocates of typed and untyped programming languages (or statically and dynamically typed languages). These conversations often shed more heat than light, so in this talk, Ron will try to give a flame-free introduction to the practical role that type systems play in software development.

This talk is informed by the work done at Jane Street in OCaml, but he'll discuss the question in broader terms, discussing the history of typed and untyped languages, what it means for a language to have a type system, and what tradeoffs there are between typed and untyped languages. He'll also discuss how the role of types changes as your systems and dev teams grow, and how this depends on the nature and level of sophistication of the type system itself.

About Ron: Ron got his PhD in CS from Cornell, where he studied distributed systems. He joined Jane Street in 2003, where he started out doing quantitative research on trading strategies, and then founded the firm's quantitative research group. He introduced OCaml to the company and eventually managed the transition to using OCaml for all of its core infrastructure, turning Jane Street into the world's largest industrial user of OCaml.