Robert Dyer competed in the ACM SIGPLAN Student Research Competition (ACM SRC) at the SPLASH/OOPSLA conference (October 26-31) in Indianapolis. The competition is an internationally-recognized venue that enables undergraduate and graduate students to experience the research world, share their research results with other students and SPLASH attendees. The competition has separate categories for undergraduate and graduate students and awards prizes to the top three students in each category. The competition had a three round selection process. First, based on submissions up to 10 students were selected to participate in the onsite competition. Second, based on poster presentation and short presentation three winners out of these ten are selected. Dyer won the second place in the competition. He is pictured here with Judith Bishop (Microsoft Research), Sam Guyer and Isil Dillig (chairs of this year's ACM SRC).
Dyer's related work in programming languages was also presented at ICSE 2013, and he is the 2013 recipient of a Tom Miller Graduate Fellowship in Computer Science. Dyer is an experienced student whose previous work includes Ptolemy and Nu, both projects directed by Dr. Hridesh Rajan in the Laboratory for Software Design. Ptolemy provides the benefits of separation of cross-cutting concerns while maintaining the separate type-checking, compilation and reasoning properties of standard object-oriented languages. Dyer helped develop the research compiler (based on the JastAdd compiler framework) as well as performed large-scale empirical studies on the language. The Nu project is an aspect-oriented intermediate language. Nu adds two simple constructs to object-oriented programs and is capable of emulating most high-level constructs of languages like AspectJ, Eos, etc. Dyer's most recent work is on the Boa project, a virtual laboratory for data-intensive research on open-source software development. Boa provides better abstractions for easily and efficiently mining ultra-large-scale software repositories. Data mining of large data sets - big data - requires significant knowledge on the part of the researcher in how to access and mine data, how to implement the infrastructure required for data mining, not to mention the time required to perform the search and conduct the analysis needed to make decisions. Researchers in academic settings may not have the infrastructure. Researchers outside of computing specialties may not have the expertise. Boa lowers the barriers to entry for researchers seeking to make use of the data available in ultra-large software repositories, such as SourceForge, GitHub, and Google Code.
SIGPLAN is a special interest group of the ACM that explores the design, implementation, theory, and efficient use of programming languages and associated tools. Its members are programming language users, developers, implementers, theoreticians, researchers and educators.