Strange Loop

September 12-14 2019

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Stifel Theatre

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St. Louis, MO

Unison: a new distributed programming language

Unison is an open source functional programming language with special support for building distributed, elastic systems. It began as an experiment: rethink all aspects of the programming experience, including the core language, runtime, tooling, as well as code versioning and publishing, and then do whatever is necessary to eliminate needless complexity and make building software once again delightful, or at the very least, reasonable.

We're used to thinking of a program as a thing that describes what a single OS process will do, and then using a separate layer of technologies outside of our programming languages to "configure" many separate programs into a single distributed, elastic "system". This gets complicated. The core language of Unison starts with the premise that no matter how many nodes a computation occupies, it should be expressible via a single program, not many separate programs. Unison programs can describe their own deployment, elastically scale and orchestrate themselves, and deploy themselves in parallel onto any number of nodes for execution.

This talk introduces the Unison language and its tooling and shows what it can be like to program systems of any size with this model of computing.

Paul Chiusano

Paul Chiusano

Unison Computing

Paul Chiusano started the research that led to the Unison language and is a cofounder of Unison Computing, a public benefit corp. He has over a decade of experience with purely functional programming in Haskell and Scala and coauthored the book Functional Programming in Scala. He lives and works in Somerville, MA.