Presentation: Category Theory for the Working Hacker

Track: Modern CS in the Real World

Location: Pacific DEKJ

Duration: 10:35am - 11:25am

Day of week: Wednesday

Level: Intermediate

Persona: Developer, General Software


The talk will explain why category theory is of interest for developers. The principle of Propositions as Types describes a correspondence between, on the one hand, propositions and proofs in logic, and, on the other, types and programs in computing. And, on the third hand, we have category theory! Assuming only high school maths, the talk will explain how categories model three basic data types: products (logical and), sums (logical or), and functions (logical implication). And it explains why you already learned the most important stuff in high school.

Speaker: Philip Wadler

Haskell, Type Theory, & Functional Programming Theory Contributor

Philip Wadler is Professor of Theoretical Computer Science at the University of Edinburgh and Senior Research Fellow at IOHK. He is an ACM Fellow, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and editor-in-chief of Proceedings of the ACM for Programming Languages. He is past chair of ACM SIGPLAN, past holder of a Royal Society-Wolfson Research Merit Fellowship, winner of the SIGPLAN Distinguished Service Award, and a winner of the POPL Most Influential Paper Award. Previously, he worked or studied at Stanford, Xerox Parc, CMU, Oxford, Chalmers, Glasgow, Bell Labs, and Avaya Labs, and visited as a guest professor in Copenhagen, Sydney, and Paris. He has an h-index of 66 with more than 22,000 citations to his work, according to Google Scholar. He contributed to the designs of Haskell, Java, and XQuery, and is a co-author of Introduction to Functional Programming (Prentice Hall, 1988), XQuery from the Experts (Addison Wesley, 2004) and Generics and Collections in Java (O'Reilly, 2006). He has delivered invited talks in locations ranging from Aizu to Zurich.

Find Philip Wadler at



  • 21st Century Languages

    Compile to Native, Microservices, Machine learning... tailor-made languages solving modern challenges, featuring use cases around Go, Rust, C#, and Elm.

  • Architectures You've Always Wondered About

    Architectural practices from the world's most well-known properties, featuring startups, massive scale, evolving architectures, and software tools used by nearly all of us.

  • Beyond Being an Individual Contributor

    Beyond being an individual contributor. Building and Evolving managers and tech leadership.

  • DevOps: You Build It, You Run It

    Pushing DevOps beyond adoption into cultural change. Hear about designing resilience, managing alerting, CI/CD lessons, & security. Features lessons from open source, Linkedin, Netflix, Financial Times, & more. 

  • Performance Mythbusting

    Real world, applied performance proofs across stacks. Hear performance consideratiosn for .NET, Python, & Java. Learn performance use cases with OpenJ9, Instagram, and Netflix. 

  • The Practice & Frontiers of AI

    Learn about machine learning in practice and on the horizon. Learn about ML at Quora, Uber's Michelangelo, ML workflow with Netflix Meson and topics on Bots, Conversational interfaces, automation, and deployment practices in the space.

  • Going Serverless

    Learn about the state of Serverless & how to successfully leverage it! Lessons learned in the track hit on security, scalability, IoT, and offer warnings to watch out for.

  • Microservices: Patterns and Practices

    Stories of success and failure building modern Microservices, including event sourcing, reactive, decomposition, & more.

  • Evolving Java

    Java continues to evolve & change. Track covers Spring 5, async, Kotlin, serverless, the 6-month cadence plans, & AI/ML use cases.

  • The Art of Chaos Engineering

    Failure is going to happen - Are you ready? Chaos engineering is an emerging discipline - What is the state of the art?

  • Security: Attacking and Defending

    Offense and defensive security evolution that application developers should know about including SGX Enclaves, effects of AI, software exploitation techniques, & crowd defense

  • Stream Processing In The Modern Age

    Compelling applications of stream processing using Flink, Beam, Spark, Strymon & recent advances in the field, including Custom Windowing, Stateful Streaming, SQL over Streams.  

Conference for Professional Software Developers