Joe Armstrong

Work in Progress - ‘How to Make the World a Better Place?’

Co-Inventor of Erlang

‘How to Make the World a Better Place?’ This has been a Work in Progress for Joe over the past 40 years and whilst he doesn’t pretend to have all the answers, he will nevertheless present, as he calls them, ‘some of his half-baked ideas and prototypes’ to the room. According to Joe, Erlang also started off as a ‘half-baked idea’ and a few small prototypes, so we might be in for a treat with this one. In this talk, Joe will be asking questions around the themes of software entropy reduction, making a personal computation infrastructure, adding trust to the web and storing data forever, to name just a few, but, as the name suggests, changing the world is a work in progress - for all of us.

Welcome Inside the Head of Larry Wall

To design a new programming language is a pretty crazy endeavor, so what goes on inside the head of a programming language designer?

How to Design a Programming language - All you have to do, is decide on a class of problems for which your new programming language will be better suited than any other programming language. Then you have to implement your language - show that it is better than other languages, popularize it and get a few tens of thousands of people to use it. This is, of course, a crazy activity that is doomed to failure.

In this conversation Joe Armstrong will try to dig out what goes on inside the head of a programming language designer - as the co-inventor of a programming language himself, Joe will ask Larry the question, so, are we just crazy, or is there a method behind the madness?


Joe Armstrong is the principle inventor of the Erlang programming Language and coined the term "Concurrency Oriented Programming". He has worked for Ericsson where he developed Erlang and was chief architect of the Erlang/OTP system.

In 1998 he left Ericsson to form Bluetail, a company which developed all its products in Erlang. In 2003 he obtained his PhD from the Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm. The title of his thesis was "Making reliable distributed systems in the presence of software errors." Today he is semi-retired but works part time as Adjuct Professor of Computer Science at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm.

Twitter: @joeerl