Humans Compose when Software Does


Alan Edelman, Jeff Bezanson
MIT, Julia Computing


Michael Carbin

In the early days of 18.337/6.338, we gave a simple assignment. Part 1: Download any parallel program and run it. Part 2: Download two parallel programs and have them compose. Smart hard-working students failed miserably with Part 2.

Fast forward to 2018, with the formation of MIT's College of Computing, and some of us dream that Part 1: Researchers at MIT will continue excellent research and Part 2: Researchers across disciplines can compose.

We have found that the Julia language, through its composable abstractions, multiple dispatch, and expressive typing is accelerating the formation of bridges at MIT. As physical bridges may be made from steel and provide infrastructure for many to cross, it seems Julia's language elements are the medium that allow people to connect to solve hard problems.

In this talk we will give a quick introduction to Julia, and then speak in depth about some of Julia's special features.


Professor Alan Edelman (Math,CSAIL,CCE) loves to prove pure and applied theorems, program computers and everything in between. He has received many prizes including a Gordon Bell Prize, a Householder Prize, and a Charles Babbage Prize, is a fellow of IEEE, AMS, and SIAM, and is a founder and chief scientist of Interactive Supercomputing and Julia Computing, Inc. He passionately believes in more interactions between classical computer science and computational science.
Edelman's research interests include Julia, machine learning, high-performance computing, numerical computation, linear algebra, random matrix theory and geometry. He has consulted for IBM, Pixar, Akamai, Intel, and Microsoft among other corporations.

Jeff is one of the creators of Julia, co-founding the project at MIT in 2009 and eventually receiving a Ph.D. related to the language in 2015. He met Professor Edelman at Interactive Supercomputing, beginning a long collaboration. He continues to work on the Julia compiler and system internals, while also working to expand the language's commercial reach as a co-founder of Julia Computing, Inc.