It was the first conference talk I gave

Written by Tommaso Petrucciani
Published: 2016-10-27 (last updated: 2016-10-27)

My name is Tommaso Petrucciani and I'm a first-year PhD student in a joint PhD programme in Italy and France. In Italy, I work at Università di Genova (with Elena Zucca and Davide Ancona) and in France at Université Paris Diderot (with Giuseppe Castagna). My thesis is focused on type systems featuring set-theoretic types – that is, union, intersection, and difference of types – following semantic subtyping, an approach to define subtyping in such systems.

I have been a student volunteer at ICFP 2016 this year in Nara. I also gave a talk at the conference on the work we had done on using union and intersection types to type polymorphic variants in OCaml, and on type inference for this system.

Being able to attend the conference and give the presentation myself was a very significant experience for me, all the more so since it was the first conference talk I gave. As author of a paper, I might have been able to attend ICFP even without being a student volunteer. However, as volunteers we get access to all events, so it's much more affordable to stay for the whole week. Thus we are able to listen to more talks, and we get more chances to meet people and share ideas.

For example, I met Stephen Dolan, a PhD student at Cambridge, who has done work with interesting points of contact with mine: it is on type inference for ML-like languages with subtyping and employs union and intersection types. However, there are also many significant differences in the approach and the results are quite different too. Since the work is as yet unpublished, I might not have had a chance to be exposed to it now had I not been there, whereas it's a very useful work to compare against my own.

I found the conference stimulating and I hope I'll be able to attend the future editions of ICFP. I will certainly apply again as a student volunteer there, as well as for next year’s edition of POPL. As for POPL, let me take the opportunity to remind like-minded students that the application for student volunteers is open until December 15 (second round deadline): don’t miss it!