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Matija Pretnar winner of prestigious »Test of Time Award« in software science

Matija Pretnar, source UL FMF

Publish Date: 18.04.2022

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The Test of Time Award is s conferred by the European Joint Conferences on Theory and Practice of Software (ETAPS). Matija Pretnar from the University of Ljubljana's Faculty of Mathematics and Physics received the award together with his colleague and mentor Gordon D. Plotkin from the University of Edinburgh.

The two researchers received the award, which proves and confirms the relevance of their predictions from ten years ago in connection with the development of programming languages, for their paper Handlers of Algebraic Effects presented at the European Symposium on Programming (ESOP) 2009. The symposium was held under the aegis of the European Joint Conferences on Theory and Practice of Software (ETAPS) and is known as the leading European conference devoted to programming languages.

"We program computers (like those in our cars) using basic commands (turn on the light, measure the current speed, reduce fuel intake and so on) that we assemble into structures such as conditional clauses (If the current speed exceeds the one set for the cruise control, measure the current speed, reduce fuel intake ...) or loops (When the lock button is pressed, repeat the following three times: turn on the lights, turn off the lights.). In the award-winning paper, I and my mentor presented a new structure like this: the handlers of algebraic effects. We can use them to express, in a simple way, several constructs known to date, such as the systematic investigation of all possible states or the simultaneous performance of several commands (which is especially useful today, when programs run both locally and in the cloud)," commented Matija Pretnar, who teaches computer science at the Ljubljana Faculty of Mathematics and Physics and whose current research focuses on the efficient compilation of algebraic effect handlers. "I'm very pleased to have received this award, even though it won't change my plans much. I'll continue to focus on studying algebraic effect handlers and teaching," added Pretnar after receiving the prize.

The Dean of the University of Ljubljana's Faculty of Mathematics and Physics, Tomaž Košir, said the following on this outstanding achievement: "I'd like to congratulate my colleague for receiving such a distinguished award. This proves his research excellence, which is an important focus of our faculty's work and activities. We're also strongly promoting the transfer of research results into our classes, which is greatly contributed to by Matija Pretnar.

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