Because my research group has had a pretty good record of getting the fruits of our research adopted “in the real world”, I often get asked how to get work adopted. I will be honest: I’m not exactly sure.

My colleagues and I could have just been lucky, but we seem to have been lucky a lot. Maybe we’ve been doing something right. Here are five pieces of actionable advice: (1) scratch an itch, (2) build real systems, (3) embed yourself, (4) give great talks, and (5) go to the mountain.

Scratch An Itch

Widely-adopted systems solve real problems. So, the first key…


Emery Berger
PC chair for PLDI ’16 and SIGPLAN EC Chair for SIGPLAN Research Highlights Awards
December 2017

We recommend that all SIGPLAN conferences adopt a formal procedure for selecting ACM SIGPLAN Distinguished Paper Awards (up to 10% of papers at a conference can be so designated) and recommend doing so via the process of establishing a Distinguished Paper Committee to make these decisions.

Here is how this process works at PLDI, starting with PLDI 2016. This is by no means the only way of setting up such a process, but we found it to be effective.

  1. Stand up a…


I just sent this message as a guide to the program committee members who will be chairing sessions for PLDI 2016 (I figure it’s the first time for some of them). A few people suggested I post it, so here it is (lightly edited, cross-posted from my blog). Additions or other suggestions welcome.

  • Find your speakers before the session begins. You will have to talk to them about some stuff — see below.
  • Find out how to pronounce their names properly.
  • Find out if they are on the market next year — sometimes people like the advertisement that they will…


The planet Vulcan is simultaneously the source of the universe’s worst neck massagers and its best program committee members.

Unlike humans, Vulcans are ruthlessly rational and unerringly logical.

A Vulcan reviewer is unaffected by how often they have mind-melded with the authors of a paper or whether they know them at all, whether the authors have pointed ears or not, or whether (once every seven years), they might be judged to be suitable mates.

Vulcans are never influenced by the origin and ethnic groups of authors, whether they be Romulan, human, or even Klingon.


The browser is a lousy excuse for an operating system. So we fixed it.

by John Vilk and Emery Berger

Doppio is an “operating system” for the browser that lets it run applications written in general-purpose languages

Web browsers have taken over. They make it comparatively easy to deliver cross-platform applications, because browsers are essentially everywhere. Practically all computing platforms — from desktops and tablets to mobile phones — ship with web browsers. Browsers are also getting faster all the time. They have just-in-time compilers for JavaScript that produce highly optimized code, and they expose features like access to the GPU through WebGL and high-speed video chat via WebRTC.

This combination of features makes it possible for browsers to host the kind of richly interactive applications that used to be restricted…


Finding and fixing bugs is difficult and time-consuming: there is a better way.

Death, Taxes, and Bugs.

Emery Berger

Professor of Computer Science, University of Massachusetts Amherst. http://www.emeryberger.com, @emeryberger

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