Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Smalltalks 2015 keynote speakers

Smalltalks 2015 is around the corner.  We're very pleased with this year's keynote presenters: John Brant, Damien Cassou, and Clément Béra.  Such quality speakers are possible thanks to our sponsors, community donors, and collaborators.  We really appreciate your support, thank you!

... I can't wait for the conference to start :).

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Smalltalks 2009 videos online

I am very happy to report that Smalltalks 2009 videos are now online here, including the incredible talks by Dan Ingalls.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Smalltalks 2010 videos on YouTube

You can see the freshly uploaded playlist here!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Camp Smalltalk PDX wrap up

We wrapped up Camp Smalltalk PDX tonight.  The Saturday barbeque with fresh Oregon food and the Flat Nines jazz band was really nice!  Thank you Instantiations, FAST, and others who contributed to make it such a great experience --- including the cooks Paul DeBruicker and Dave Caster.  The CTRL-H hackerspace was a welcoming venue.  Thank you CTRL-H!  We had room and amenities, they lent us their backyard for the barbeque, and we also heard about the hackerspace's member projects.  And we even got Camp Smalltalk shirts courtesy of Dave Caster.

Of course, there was a lot of Smalltalk.  I heard of people working on VA Smalltalk, Monticello, Squeak, Cuis, web frameworks, GemStone, and so on.  Personally, I had a lot of fun hacking some VM stuff until a while ago.  And it's not just the work itself --- it's also the people you meet, the connections you make, and the passion you can share.

Photos will become available I am sure --- such as here.  In the mean time, enjoy this preview :).

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Camp Smalltalk PDX Thursday dinner

Attention Camp Smalltalk PDX attendees!  We now have a place for dinner on Thursday.  Feel free to drop by at pdx.st or at the Camp Smalltalk wiki page for details.

Smalltalks 2015 invitation

The Fundación Argentina de Smalltalk proudly invites you to one of the premier Smalltalk conferences in the world.  Let's meet in Buenos Aires, November 11-13!  For more details, see the invitation here.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

New Reference Finder / Weight Tracer

During ESUG's Show Us Your Projects, I gave a demo of a really fast reference finder I had written in Cuis a number of years ago.  During ESUG, Jan Vrany and I wrote an enhancement to the reference finder: a so-called weight tracer.  What this tracer does is tell you which objects only "hang" from a given object.  That is, if the given object goes away, the weight tracer shows what other objects would be collected as well.

Initially, the weight tracer required about two minutes per scan.  I managed to cut that in half at ESUG with some less than ideal hackery.  But today I really understood what was going on.  After deleting the unnecessary hackery, and with just a few tiny changes, the weight tracer runs just as quickly as the reference finder: a couple tenths of a second.

And it's tidy code, too :).

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Linked Weak Reference Arrays paper --- IWST 2015 prize winner

My paper on Linked Weak Reference Arrays was awarded a prize as the second best paper at IWST 2015.  I would like to thank the IWST 2015 chairs for the opportunity to submit and present my paper, as well as to LAM Research for sponsoring IWST.

In a nutshell, the paper asserts the following.  Whereas regular weak arrays tombstone slots ideally tombstone with the small integer zero, linked weak arrays tombstone with a linked list of small integers.  Each small integer tombstone points to the next tombstoned indexed slot.  The small integer zero indicates the end of the linked list.  The root of the linked list is stored in the linked weak array's first instance variable.  Data races are avoided by adopting the ephemeron finalization convention: when a linked weak array is queued for finalization, the VM turns it into a regular strong array.  When the linked weak array finishes mourning, it makes itself weak again.

This functionality requires a memory manager supporting dynamic slot reference strength.  There are examples of this type of memory manager in the wild.  Most of the complexity appears in the presence of an incremental garbage collector.  Changing weakness (as well as doing a become:, or a oneWayBecome:, or changing classes, etc) can easily invalidate the incremental garbage collector's working assumptions.  A number of years ago, I got HPS to handle this complexity for regular weak arrays and ephemerons.  GemStone/S has been using the improved HPS functionality in production for quite some time.  To date, I know of no problems with the implementation.

The benefit of this different approach to weak array finalization is that the image no longer has to reconstruct information the garbage collector knew.  That is, when a linked weak array mourns, it does not have to perform linear search to find where the garbage collector "hid" the tombstones.  Even better, measurements indicate the linked weak array mourning overhead is lower than that of a regular weak array.  Linked weak array mourning does not have to send the message #size, and does not need a #to:do: loop.  The baseline speed improvement, when every slot is tombstoned, is about 30% (Cuis on Cog r3164).

Regarding the second volume of my Fundamentals book, the next chapter to write is on weak references.  How convenient!

See you next year :).

Monday, June 29, 2015

Camp Smalltalk Portland 2015 --- registration is open!

Camp Smalltalk Portland 2015 in beautiful Oregon is go for August 21st through the 23rd!  (and if you arrive earlier on the 20th that's cool too)  Please register for the event here --- help us by filling in the questions so you can get your event shirt.  And also see that we're having a BBQ with live music on Saturday.  You can't miss it!

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Camp Smalltalk Portland 2015

Dear artful programming enthusiasts,

The Pacific Northwest Smalltalk crew would like to invite you to Camp Smalltalk PDX this summer.  Come join us August 21-23 in beautiful Portland, Oregon!

We all know coding is a lot of fun, and that the best coding is done with the delete key.  Accordingly, Camp Smalltalk PDX will be at Portland’s CTRL-H hackerspace, http://www.ctrlh.org.

There is no set schedule, but of course we all have strong interests.  Some of the areas that will surely be covered include:

* Smalltalk on small devices, such as Scratch on Raspberry PI
* Web frameworks such as Seaside
* Virtual machine implementations
* Data processing applications
* Language design, Smalltalk and beyond

If you are curious about Smalltalk, feel free to drop by and give Smalltalk a try.

And yes, there are also the well known regulars --- we all know who you are :).  It’s time to catch up and plot inventing our future.

Feel free to contact us directly if you have questions regarding travel or accommodations.  Also, if you know you will be coming and you haven’t completed our survey yet, doing so will help us coordinate the infrastructure around the event: http://goo.gl/forms/XVLOLRe8OF.  For event information, see here: http://www.pdx.st/.  As the dates get closer, additional organization information may become available here: http://wiki.squeak.org/squeak/811.

See you in Portland!