Tech Mesh London 2012

Presentation: "Keynote: 183 Years of Programming"

Time: Wednesday 09:00 - 10:00 / Location: To be announced

The three of us (Joe, Robert and Mike) have more than years combined experience of programming. We have noticed the vast majority of software development projects use programming languages based on concepts which were developed close on a half a century ago. Tools and development environments have changed, but with few exceptions the basic paradigms remain the same.

We will reflect on our experience, what is good, what is bad and what is ugly. How did the past and our experience influence us when we developed Erlang. 

Joe Armstrong, Co-inventor of Erlang

Joe Armstrong

Biography: Joe Armstrong

Joe Armstrong is one of the inventors of Erlang. When at the Ericsson computer science lab in 1986, he was part of the team who designed and implemented the first version of Erlang. He has written several Erlang books including Programming Erlang Software for a Concurrent World. Joe held the first ever Erlang course and has taught Erlang to hundreds of programmers and held many lectures and keynotes describing the technology.

Joe has a PhD in computer science from the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden and is an expert in the construction of fault tolerant systems. Joe was the chief software architect of the project which produced the Erlang OTP system. He has worked as an entrepreneur in one of the first Erlang startups (Bluetail) and has worked for 30 years in industry and research. 

Mike Williams, Co-inventor of Erlang

Mike Williams

Biography: Mike Williams

Mike is originally from South Wales, but has in fact lived in Sweden longer than he has anywhere else.
Way back in the 1960's after working as a Atheistic Missionary in Malawi, Mike went to Cambridge where he learnt a lot about drinking beer and rather less about "Mechanical Sciences". He then moved to Sweden in 1970 (guess why :-) and joined Ericsson as a hardware designer. The price of beer in Sweden being horrendously expensive enabled Mike to concentrate more on other things. He joined with Bjarne Däcker to found the Ericsson Computer Science Laboratory 1980. One of the things they did in the Computer Science lab was to "invent" Erlang. Mike's role was to develop the first  Erlang virtual machine  (Joe developed the compiler and machine  architecture). He worked out the primitives for fault handling and  dynamic code replacement
In 1990 Mike glided into management by a complete accident and found he rather liked it. Since then he has been in charge of both large and small units within Ericsson which develop software. In 2012 Mike joined Erlang Solutions' Board of Directors.

Robert Virding, Co-inventor of Erlang

Robert Virding

Biography: Robert Virding

Robert Virding works for Erlang Solutions Ltd as a Principal Language Expert. While at Ericsson AB, Robert was one of the co-inventors of the Erlang programming language. As one of the original members of the Ericsson Computer Science Lab, he took part in the original system design and contributed much of the original libraries, as well as to the current compiler. While at the lab he also did a lot of work on the implementation of logic and functional languages and on garbage collection. He has also worked as an entrepreneur and was one of the co-founders of one of the first Erlang start-ups (Bluetail). Robert also worked a number of years at the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV) Modelling and Simulations Group. He co-authored the first book (Prentice-Hall) on Erlang, and is regularly invited to teach and present at conferences and universities worldwide.