Summary: Is POPL Mathematics or Science?
Report of the Program Chair at the Nineteenth POPL
Andrew W. Appel
Department of Computer Science
There has been some discussion of the direction that
POPL is heading; perhaps the conference is becoming
too theoretical. But we can easily measure the degree to
which a conference is theoretical:
When writing a joint paper, mathematicians order
the names of the authors alphabetically.
Scientists (experimental physicists, biologists, etc.)
use a different criterion to order the names of the
authors: The one with the grant goes first, or last
(depending on the field); or the one that did the
work goes first; or the student goes first, or last;
but in any case alphabetical order is not used.
Now, these observations may be overgeneralizations.
But from now on we will take them as axioms, so that