Julia at FOSDEM?



Hi all,

I’m wondering if anyone is planning to attend FOSDEM in Brussels on February 3 and 4? There is also the possibility to spread the word on Julia a bit:

  • Dev Room: Reserve a room for a day and have presentations about Julia (probably a bit too ambitious, the deadline for the proposal is 20 September, space is very limited)
  • Main track talk: I’m thinking of submitting something here, about similarities and differences between C++ and Julia.
  • Lightning talk: Might submit a short Julia intro here, in case the main track doesn’t get accepted.
  • A stand, basically a table in the lobby where we could distribute stickers. I don’t have the resources for that, but would be willing to help.




Bart, I regularly attend FOSDEM. Sounds good!
A Main Track talk would be a good idea. I have no idea about the organisation of FOSDEM, hwoever every year the devrooms are full to bursting and the main tracks less so. There will be a good chance of getting a Main Track talk accepted.

A Devroom would be ideal - however I think these are only aoolocated for a full day. So as you say there would be less chance of getting one.
But for anyone listening in here - do not forget the Lightning Talks. Plenty of scope there for getting an innovative subject heard by a lot of people.


One small suggestion re the Devroom. The HPC Devroom is always oversubscribed, and is of excellent quality. However it covers only one day. Maybe there is a possibility to contact Kenneth Hoste and collaborate on getting a second day concentrating more on languages?


Thanks for the tip, Julia would indeed be a good topic for the HPC devroom, worth checking if they still have space I guess.


I’ve submitted the following proposal for the main track, comments welcome:


The Julia programming language
subtitle: A C++ programmer’s perspective


The Julia programming language is a high-level language, primarily developed for scientific computing. It uses just-in-time compilation to get a performance level that is comparable to C/C++. It was designed to overcome the “two-language problem”, where a proof-of-concept in a high-level language needs to be translated to a compiled language by specialists to get the required performance. In this talk, the main features of the language will be highlighted from the perspective of a “convert” coming from C++. The aspect of interoperability with existing C/C++ libraries will also be discussed in some detail.


Julia is a typed language, where users can build their own types and write functions that operate on them. In this system, there are no “privileged” types, i.e. user defined types are treated equally to predefined types. A central concept in the system is “multiple dispatch”, where the function that is to be called is decided based on the passed arguments, thus making it possible to overload existing functions for new types. The decision on what function to call can happen both dynamically and at compile time, depending on the information available at compile time. As will be shown, this system, while very simple on the surface, results in surprisingly elegant and fast code.

The LLVM compiler is used as a just-in-time compiler, resulting in many cases in runtime performance that is on-par with equivalent C++ code. This allow prototypes to be developed quickly into production code running at speeds close to what would be achieved with more common high-performance languages such as C/C++ or Fortran, thus solving the “two-language problem”.

To ensure compatibility with existing software, Julia has a well-developed C interface. On top of this the CxxWrap.jl package was built to interface with C++ in a similar fashion to what the Boost.Python library does for Python. We will present some examples using this approach, as well as an analysis of the overhead and a comparison between C++ and Julia for some typical applications.

While the Julia language is initially targeted at a scientific programming audience, it shows promise as a general programming language, so this talk should appeal to a wide audience.


Excellent description – I want to see that talk :slight_smile:


It seems my main track proposal didn’t get selected, but luckily I did get a slot in the HPC devroom with a shorter and more specific talk:



Reviving this thread. Clerly Bart will be attending FOSDEM. Are there any other Julians planning to go?
Shall we arrange a chat?


Well, I guess no-one else is coming. I uploaded my slides to https://github.com/barche/fosdem2018. If you spot any fundamental flaws, please let me know before noon tomorrow :slight_smile:


Looks like there is live streaming: https://fosdem.org/2018/schedule/streaming/. @barche is talking at 13:00 CET in the HPC track.


Hello @barche I am in the containers devroom at the moment, learning about HPC containers at NERSC.

I will be in the HPC devroom for your talk!
Let me know if you want to have a coffee or a beer afterwards.

And hello to other Julians from FOSDEM in Belgium.
9am on Sunday learning about containers. Hardcore :slight_smile:


Here is the link to the video of my talk, since I probably won’t be able to keep this secret :wink: