Two announcements about OBT: invited speakers and funding for speaker expenses

The submission deadline for Off the Beaten Track is coming up in a bit over a week! I’m looking forward to seeing your talk proposals. In the meantime, I have two exciting announcements to make about this year’s OBT.

Invited speakers

First, we’ve confirmed two wonderful invited speakers: Chris Martens and Bob Atkey!

Chris recently completed her Ph.D. at CMU, where she developed Ceptre, a linear-logic-based programming language for the design of game mechanics. Chris has been a perennial OBT speaker, and I’m very excited to have her back for a keynote this year.

Bob is a programming languages researcher affiliated with the University of Strathclyde who is known for applying PL concepts in unexpected places. I’ve enjoyed Bob’s talks in the past, and I can’t wait to see what he’ll have in store for us.

Thanks to Chris and Bob for accepting our invitation, and thanks as well to the entire program committee for making many excellent suggestions for keynote speakers.

Funding for speaker expenses

Second, I’m delighted to announce that we’ve secured funding to help pay travel, accommodation, and workshop registration expenses for those of our speakers who need financial assistance to go to OBT. In the next few days, I’ll set up a web form with the funding application. The funding process will, of course, be entirely disjoint from the talk acceptance process: when the program committee reviews your talk proposal, they will not be able to see whether you’ve submitted a request for funding or not. We will fund as many speakers as we’re able to.

Update (November 9, 2015): The application for OBT speaker funding is now open.

This will be the first time that OBT has been able to offer speaker funding, and I’m very glad that it’s happening on my watch. My hope is that it will mean that more people will submit talks to OBT, especially people who might not have attended OBT or POPL before. After all, it’s not very “off the beaten track” if the only people who go are those who were already planning to go to POPL anyway. We can do better than that.

So, submit a talk proposal to OBT — you’re officially out of excuses!