You should participate in CUFP this year

Marius Eriksen (
02 Jun 2013

The Workshop for Commercial Users of Functional Programming 2013 (CUFP) has been meeting annually for nearly 10 years. These same years have seen a staggering growth in the commercial application of functional programming languages and techniques — their influence is felt in even the most established languages, libraries, and communities. Attendance has grown nearly ten-fold.

The deadline for submitting a proposal to present is June 29. See the call for presentations to details.

Many of the largest internet properties are using a functional language for their primary service development — Twitter, Tumblr, and Foursquare among them. Functional language have always had a toe-hold in the financial industry, and its influence there is continuing to grow — in 2011 Lennart Augustsson from Standard Charter gave the CUFP keynote address about Mu, a dialect of Haskell used there for trading and analysis; Yaron Minsky highlighted Jane Street’s use of OCaml with a talk in 2012.

The CUFP workshop, which I am chairing together with Michael Sperber this year, comprises a day of talks and two days of tutorials. The talks focus on the use of functional languages in a practical setting: lessons learned, novel applications and techniques, organizational adaptation and, as well, what didn’t didn’t work?

I recommend perusing past workshop schedules and videos on the CUFP website. Some of my recorded favorites are Bryan O’Sullivan’s 2009 keynote, “Real World Haskell” — where Bryan talks about the value of community — and from 2011, Gregory Wright’s “Fourteen Days of Haskell” describes a heroic effort to implement antenna control software for low power devices in a mere 2 weeks — a problem domain that turned out to be a great fit for Haskell.

The CUFP tutorials are high quality affairs — often taught by the people that literally wrote the book — and aim to instill much knowledge in a small amount of time. This year, we have a Haskell tutorial taught by luminaries Andres Löh and Simon Marlow; Yaron Minsky and Anil Madhavapeddy are taking a break from writing Real World Ocaml to give a tutorial about the very same subject; Oleg Kiselyov, a long-time pillar of the FP community is giving a tutorial on MetaOCaml. Erlang gets double treatment: Simon Thompson opens with an Erlang tutorial focusing on concurrency and multi-core programming; Steve Vinoski, of Basho, finishes by teaching us Erlang web programming. Clojure is also represented beginning with a half-day language tutorial from Luke Vander Hart, followed by Leonardo Borges teaching one on Clojure macros and DSLs. Finally, Dean Wampler is giving a double feature on Scala, beginning with a language tutorial focusing on functional programming and concurrency; Dean will then hold court on Scalding, a powerful Scala-based tool for doing analytics over large datasets.

No workshop would be complete without a keynote: “SmallTalk” Dave Thomas is giving our keynote this year on a as-yet-unrevealed topic relating to functional programming.

As well as the main ICFP conference, there are other affiliated events that are well worth attending. The Haskell Symposium is held the day after the CUFP talks, and the OCaml workshop the day after that.

Submissions for the main workshop (see the CFP) are due by 29th of June, 2013. Please consider making a submission if you have experience you want to share, technologies or techniques you want to talk about, or just about anything else you think would be compelling to the audience. To get a feel for the nature of the talks, I recommend reading the scribe report from 2011.

Follow @cufpconference on Twitter for more updates on the workshop, and please do not hestitate to contact Mike or I if you have any questions:


See you in Boston!