Behind The Code

Erik Meijer: Rebel with a Cause

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Over thousands of years, language has evolved in order to provide mankind a mechanism for making it easier to communicate with one another. Today, the world is filled with a wide variety of languages, some of which are radically different from one another, while others bear striking similarities. In addition to improving interpersonal communications, however, languages have evolved to facilitate the transfer of information, instructions, and intent between people and machines.

Understanding, designing, and evangelizing many of these languages, and democratizing the programming methodologies within them, is Erik Meijer. Erik is a legendary figure in the programming language design community and one of Niner Nation's favorite personalities. Today, tune in and meet the man behind the code; some of Erik's fascinating personal and professional histories may well surprise you. The great Robert Hess moderates this latest edition of Behind the Code.


PS: Erik will be speaking at MIX10!



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    The Discussion

    • Thoughtware N.Z

      Very fond of Eric ... but 750 mb to download ! ? What world do you live in ?
      Well worthwhile nonetheless !



    • Charles

      Download a lower res video... Click on the Media Downloads link next to the player.


    • keithfl

      Listening to Eric Meijer is always deeply informative and fun! This is no exception!


      Thanks Eric!

    • Charles

      Agreed. I really enjoyed the detail Erik (note the spelling of his first name Smiley) went into with respect to his personal history. This was a very insightful interview. Thanks Erik and Robert!


    • kiwimonk

      The high file size is due to Erik's awesome shirt!  All those colors literally melt man's best algorithms.  Wink

    • tomkirbygre​en

      Erik is a inspiration and one of those people I would dearly love to meet some day. Great to see him interviewed in this manner.

    • vesuvius

      When will you you guys get Dave Cutler?


      We demand him!

    • keithfl

      The 'domain equation of the untyped lambda calculus' .... owwww ... my brain hurts!


      //delegate - domain equation of the untyped lambda calculus D D( D d);

    • Richard.Hein

      D  D( D d);


      Yes, I want to hear more about this ... sounds like another show.

    • exoteric


    • ivan_

      You are right, it is more difficult to compress when there are more moving colors ! Smiley


      Erik you should consider less color shirts for C9 interviews Smiley The video compression works better that way- LOL Smiley .


      This would be a really geek approach to clothing.

      I can imagine Erik picking an outfit for the day based on the compression algorithms Smiley

    • exoteric

      Fractal compression may help Wink


      ...I hope Erik isn't doing designing languages at Microsoft. Even though Rx et al is very cool, someone needs to push the limits for all programmers: the programming language designers.


      Would also like to hear more about Spec# and Sing# on Channel 9 and whether there are plans to incorporate more features from these into C# or maybe "productize" Sing# in VS.

    • Parmenio

      Very interesting. Good to see more of Erik behind the scenes. I must say he's an inspirational character.


      My career has gone in the opposite direction... historically I was only interested in theory with applications, and theory that was therefore just good enough for the problem space, i.e. a typical engineer. These days I'm finding I missed out on so much theory that way and went too quick to the solution. I've always drummed into developers to step back from the problem, and take time to think: take things up a level or two before coming back down. Ask how I would like to solve this problem, before deciding how to solve the problem. All this time I was not applying that myself to the higher level concepts in programming. Still I'd never like to be purely academic: I like the feedback of seeing things actually doing something.


      With all the new posts going up on channel 9 these days I find many of them bland.... I confess to filtering by Charles' posts and then looking at those for ones worth watching!


      On the delegate D D( D d);


      There was one of the Functional Programming episodes where Erik mentioned that all programs (should that be expressions?) could be compiled into the SKI combinators. However he then said that really you need only one, but frustratingly never elaborated. Is this function of the untyped Lambda calculus the ONE?

    • ShinNoNoir


      // domain equation untyped lambda calculus delegate D D(D d);


      With the help from the people in #haskell, here's an example:

      data D = D {unD :: D -> D} omega = (\x -> unD x x) (D $ \x -> unD x x)



    • bdesmet

      Since there seems to be quite some interest in the untyped lambda calculus and the way Erik wrote the domain equation in C# syntax, people may be interested in this post of mine on the subject, seen from an angle of .NET 4 technologies. It's titled (Mis)using C# 4.0 Dynamic – Type-Free Lambda Calculus, Church Numerals, and more and goes into quite some detail on untyped lambda calculus, Church Numerals, etc.



      Have fun!


    • Charles

      Yet another awesome blog post, Bart. Thanks for sharing!


    • Richard.Hein

      A warning to others, don't skim ahead when reading Bart's blog posts, you must read one line at a time, or your mind will explode.  He has reduced me to tears.  "Start at the beginning, keep going until you get to the end, then stop."  Perplexed

    • bdesmet

      I'm not sure "reduced me to tears" is a compliment or not Smiley. Either way, I forgot to add a link to yet another post on the topic, that achieves very similar effects by without using C# 4.0 dynamic. Here it is: Type-Free Lambda Calculus in C#, Pre-4.0 – Defining the Lambda Language Runtime (LLR). Don't hesitate to contact me if something is unclear.

    • Martin S

      What an excellent discussion.


      Thank you Charles, Robert and Erik!


      Do you think it would be possible to provide the "uncut" version? Between the segments I imagine there was a lot more covered!

    • KeyboardG

      Awesome post. Erik is the man.. in palm trees. Can we get a link to the books he references?


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