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Alexi Turcotte from Northeastern visits CUNY

Alexi Turcotte (website) from Northeastern University visited CUNY last week and gave a talk on asynchronous JavaScript at our graduate student event at the CUNY Graduate center. Alexi is a 5th year Ph.D. candidate at Northeastern University. Frank Tip and Jan Vitek advise him; with Frank, he works on optimizing asynchronous JavaScript programs; with Jan, he works on fuzzing and type system design for the R programming language. He is interested in anything related to dynamic and data science languages.

The talk, entitled “Detecting and Repairing Anti-Patterns in Asynchronous JavaScript,” was the keynote that kicked off a series of lightning talks by other graduate students. An abstract and photos from the event may be found below. Thank you, Alexi, for visiting CUNY!

Modern JavaScript, powered by the Node.js runtime, is a performant language that is ubiquitous across the web both for client- and server-side development, and the language’s support for asynchronous programming allows programmers to build responsive web applications. However, to write efficient code, JavaScript programmers need to internalize the intricacies of a variety of language features that are rapidly evolving, while also being aware of the “full stack” of technologies at play in the web. Tool support could help alleviate this burden, but JavaScript’s dynamism and expressiveness complicate the analyses required by traditional approaches underlying tools that have been effective in other languages.

In this talk, I sketched the landscape of asynchronous programming in JavaScript, illustrating various pitfalls awaiting programmers, and showing how a little lightweight tooling can go a long way in helping write better code.

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