What is PLMW?

The Programming Languages Mentoring Workshop is designed to broaden the exposure of attendees to research and career opportunities in the field of programming languages. Since its inception in 2012, the workshop has regularly co-located with major SIGPLAN conferences—see the workshop’s SIGPLAN page for other editions. Most attendees are late-stage undergraduate students and early-stage graduate students. The workshop program will include technical sessions that cover both the history and current practice of core subfields within programming languages, mentoring sessions that cover effective habits for navigating the research landscape, and social sessions that create opportunities for attendees to interact with researchers in the field. The workshop aims to engage attendees in a process of imagining how they might contribute to our research community.

We especially encourage women and underrepresented minority students, and people with disabilities to attend PLMW.

This workshop is part of the activities surrounding POPL, the Symposium on Principles of Programming Languages. One goal of the workshop is to make the POPL conference more accessible to newcomers.

But you don’t have to take our word for it! Here’s what some past PLMW attendees say…

"I attended my first PLMW in 2017, having previously taken one programming languages course. I definitely did not understand most of the technical talks given at PLMW. However, since the talks introduced different areas of research, I felt much more prepared for the ICFP research talks. I also met many of my current friends in my peer group at PLMW; friends I still see today at various conferences.

My experience at PLMW greatly influenced my path since then. I've attended every ICFP since 2017 and gave a talk at the co-located Scheme Workshop in 2019. The talk I gave was better because of the helpful tips from Derek Dreyer's talk during my first PLMW. I also applied to graduate school with a special interest in compiler correctness because of Amal Ahmed's talk during this same PLMW. I am currently finishing my first year of my Master's/PhD program researching type preserving compilation because of PLMW (and ICFP in general, as I met my current advisor at ICFP 2018)."
— Paulette Koronkevich, graduate student, University of British Columbia

"I went to PLMW at the end of my 5-year degree in mathematics and computer science, at the time when I was pondering whether academia — and more concretely PL — was for me. It helped me fight my biggest two fears at that moment: is there a good "vibe"? is PL a narrow topic? I was surprised about the breadth of PL as an area and the many relations to other disciplines. But even more about how accessible and open everybody was, not only at PLMW itself, but at the rest of the conference afterwards."
— Alejandro Serrano, senior software engineer, 47 Degrees

"Virtual PLDI 2020 gave me a chance to attend PLMW for the first time. For a first-timer like myself, it was incredibly enlightening to see how experienced people in the PL field were sharing their research experience and other stories of building their (research) career in non-technical, everyday English during PLMW mentoring sessions. I highly recommend PLMW to anyone who is not sure where and how to begin research in the PL field, or how to prepare for their graduate program and/or research career. Speakers and mentors you will come across via PLMW are truly inspiring and very much willing to address any of your questions or concerns. I’ve been very happy to be left with actionable information and a long to-do list!"
— Yunjeong Lee, incoming Ph.D. student, National University of Singapore

"I went to ICFP in St. Louis (2018) funded by PLMW. That was my first time attending a conference, ever, so I wasn't entirely sure what to expect. Surprise! It was GREAT!! Honestly there were so many highlights but the biggest thing for me was finally realizing that there's a whole community out there of like-minded folks who are all very excited about PL, but everyone in their own unique way. It's really cool to find out that folks all over the world also care about these problems, and that it's not just you and your advisor working on this niche thing. Also, some of the conversations I had with PLMW attendees have changed, and shaped my own research agenda and aspirations, so I can't emphasize enough how enriching some of those interactions were. Overall, attending PLMW helped me find my place in this community, and made me excited to continue being a part of it."
— David Justo, software engineer, Microsoft

"I attended my first PLMW at POPL 2013 in Rome. At the time, I was an undergraduate who was considering what to do next after graduation. By the time PLMW and POPL were over, I knew I wanted to pursue a PhD and for the first time, I had the confidence to believe that it might be possible.

The mentorship at PLMW was invaluable to me. For example, I did not understand most of the talks at POPL which definitely would have discouraged me if I had not learned at PLMW that this was normal for your first academic conference.

Seven years on, I have now finished my PhD and I am still in touch with some of the friends I made at PLMW."
— Heidi Howard, research fellow in computer science, University of Cambridge