(λblog. blog blog) (λblog. blog blog)

diverging since 2008

FP at Helsinki University

2009-01-15 11:35

The CS Dept. at Helsinki University mostly does machine learning, data analysis and bioinformatics nowadays with some oldschool algorithmics for the fogies. There has been a demand for hard theory (complexity theory, type theory, adv theory of computation) among the students and we've finally gotten the wheels rolling.

This fall a bunch of us got together and held a course (site in Finnish, includes lecture material and excercises) on lambda calculus here at Helsinki University. Over 120 people participated and about 80 held with us to the end. The course focused on practical aspects of λ-calculus instead of grinding through parametricity and other mathematical properties.

This spring the same group is lecturing Introduction to Functional Programming, a course whose teacher left our university a few years ago. Again we have over 120 participants. Lectures are held in the second largest auditorium here in Exactum and we're enjoying full support of the administration. The course is about the basics of functional programming as a software design paradigm with Haskell as main language.

What's fabulous is that both of these courses were in the top three in participant numbers for respectively the fall and spring semesters. Also, the department (of CS) has arranged a possibility for undergraduates to hold free-form workshops for extra credit. We have a bunch of people interested in going through post-TaPL type theory and another group that wants to do cool practical Haskell.

I've heard that the department is overjoyed by the activity students are exhibiting but is afraid that we'll want thesis advisors and postgraduate positions from these hot fields nobody is researching here. Let's see what happens in a few years ;)

Tags: haskell, life.