Valentin Kasas Curry On 2017 Interview

Valentin Kasas will be giving a talk at Curry On 2017. He will be speaking about Carpenters and Cartographers.

Follow him on his Homepage, GitHub, and Twitter. How did you get into Functional Programming?

Valentin Kasas: I think I followed a slightly unconventional path toward functional programming. The first programming language I became (relatively) proficient with, back in college, was Prolog. Then I briefly joined the video-game industry and wrote quite a lot of C++. After that, I worked on many web applications using Java, and used quite a lot of XSLT+XPath (not sure if that really counts as functional programming though).

And in 2012, I discovered Scala via the Play! framework v2. Since then, I definitely switched to Scala and never looked back. What is your talk about?

VK: When people ask me that question, I have quite a hard time answering it without basically giving them the whole talk. It's a purely non-technical talk, even if it touches software development matters, so summarising it is much harder that, say, a talk about free monads or recursion schemes.

It's basically a talk about words, about the way some of the words we use can deeply shape the way we think about the world in general, and our job in particular. I try to show how and why most of us have a slightly incorrect understanding of the very nature of our job as software developers, and how we can make that better. Who is your talk for?

VK: In fact it's a talk for everybody, even people who are not developer might find some interesting bits in it. It might resonate quite well with the people attending Curry On 2017 who are already interested in strongly-typed functional programming, but it could have even more impact on people who are still struggling with imperative programming. What do you hope people will take away from the talk?

VK: My goal is for people attending this talk to start looking at their job from a different angle. I'd like them to see their job less as a creative activity and more as a matter of discovery.

Also, as a funny side effect, people attending this talk might begin to see metaphors everywhere. :) What concepts do you recommend people be familiar with to maximize their experience with the talk?

VK: That's the main advantage of giving an absolutely non-technical talk : there is no pre-requisite at all! What resources are available for people who want to study up before the talk?

VK: Same here. Where can people follow you online?

VK: I have the most original twitter handle ever: @ValentinKasas 😉. I write some posts on my blog from time to time, but not as often as I would like. Are there any projects you'd like people to be aware of? How can people help out?

VK: There is a project that's really important to me, but it isn't a software one. I'm part of the community that organises ScalaIO, the main Scala and functional programming event in France. People can help by taking a look at, submitting a talk (the CFP will open before the end of May) and of course by attending the conference in November. Where do you see the state of functional programming in 10 years?

VK: I imagine that languages with dependent typing like Idris will gain more and more traction over the next few years, as they help solving real problems in a safer-than-ever way. Meanwhile, non-functional languages like Java will probably continue to add functional-like features, which will contribute to blur the line between functional and non-functional languages. If functional programming were a superhero, what superpower would it have?

VK: What superpower would one need, when they already have the power of abstraction? 😉