How many continuations can dance on the head of a pin

Matthias Felleisen, King of Continuations and Professor of Computer Science

Why does Orbitz get it wrong? Why does Hertz get it wrong? Why does (almost) every major vendor get it wrong? Because programming the Web is hard. Because programming interactive applications via a Web browser poses serious challenges for ordinary programmers. And that is true, because people who produce "real" software can't look beyond the tip of their nose and because academics have come to accept that worse is better.

In this talk, I present a model of Web interactions and explain the central role that continuations play in this model. Then I show how Scheme's programming model is a good match and how it allows Scheme programmers to do "the right thing" without giving it much thought. In the second half of the talk, I will translate the ideas into a programming language for the masses (plain Lisp).

The talk has been jointly developed with Shriram Krishnamurthi (Brown) over the past few years.


matthias@ccs.neu.edu