Jane Street Tech Talk: "Abstractions for Expressive, Efficient Parallel and Distributed Computing"

In January, I visited New York to give a talk at Jane Street on “Abstractions for Expressive, Efficient Parallel and Distributed Computing” as part of their Tech Talks series. The Jane Street folks produced a nice video of the talk, and it’s now available on YouTube!

This is a wide-ranging talk about things I’ve worked on in the last several years — LVars, ParallelAccelerator, and neural network verification — tying them together with the theme of “finding the right high-level abstractions to express efficient computation”. People who are familiar with the “job talk” genre will probably be able to tell that this talk is mostly cribbed from my job talk from early 2018. Until now, though, there wasn’t a publicly available video of it — so, now there is!

I was at first unsure that it would be appropriate to recycle my job talk. After all, Jane Street was actually paying me (!) to come speak, so shouldn’t I prepare a new talk? When I suggested a different topic, though, Yaron and Danielle asked that I do this talk instead. I’m glad they did, because not only did it save me from having to come up with a whole new talk, I think it ended up being more interesting for the Jane Street audience than the other topic I had in mind.1 And now I have a video that I can share with people who are curious about what kinds of things I work on and what I want to do next.

Thanks to everyone who came out for the talk, especially those who found out about it on short notice — I didn’t advertise it myself until the day before. I ended up giving the same talk twice, first to an internal audience at Jane Street and then to the public. (I was pretty hoarse by the end of the night.) Both versions of the talk were well-attended, and I got lots of engaged and curious questions. (The Q&A for the public talk starts at about 56:50 in the video.)

Since my previous visit to Jane Street had been for a disastrous internship interview trip in 2010 that culminated in my going to the wrong airport for the trip home, it was nice to visit Jane Street and actually have things go well this time. Thanks to Yaron Minsky, Danielle Sucher, and Lauren Sposta at Jane Street for inviting and hosting me!

  1. The other topic was “What does the CAP theorem really say?”, which will most likely end up as a lecture in my class this spring.