OBJ 20th Birthday Party at Nara, Japan, April 2005

From 20 to 26 April 2005, Ryoko and I went to Japan, to attend a "Birthday Party" for OBJ2, which was mainly developed during 1985 at SRI International, by Joseph Goguen, Kokichi Futatsugi, Jose Meseguer, Jean-Pierre Jouannoud, Timothy Winkler, and David Plaisted. The first four of these were at the 19th Workshop on Unification held on 22 April 2005, as part of the Federated Conference on Rewriting, Deduction and Programming, in Nara, Japan. The "party" on 22 April consisted of a panel, moderated by Futatsugi, with presentations by the other three developers, plus Claude Krichner, who was part of the OBJ3 team, and Narcisco Marti-Oliet, who is part of the Maude team; there was no cake, no party games, just talk. My presentation was on the pre- and post- history of OBJ2, including its sources in category theory (especially colimits and initiality), term rewriting, algebraic specification, and the Clear language, its predecessors OBJ0 (1976), OBJT (1979), OBJ1, and the influence of its ideas on the module systems of C++, Ada, and (especially) ML, as well as its descendents, BOBJ (at UCSD), Maude (at Illinois), CafeOBJ (in Japan), and CASL (pan-European). An audience of about 35 seemed interested and asked several pertinent questions.

Ryoko and I visited the famous Nara Deer Park (modeled after the one in which the Buddha taught); there is a huge Vairocana Buddha statue in the central Todaiji temple. We also had a very fine meal at the Nara Hotel with the "gang of four" OBJ2 developers and their wives.

After that, Ryoko and I, graciously hosted by Prof. Futatsugi and his wife Junko, visited Eiheiji, the main temple of the Sota school of Zen, founded by Dogen, whose remains are there; it is a wonderful place, not just a tourist attraction, but a working monestary, which one can see in action; there are also lovely grounds. After that, we visited Natadera, founded by Kukai, founder of the Shingon (Tantric) school of Zen in Japan; it is also lovely, especially the white cliffs with caves above a lake. There is a poem about that spot by Basho from his "Oko-no-hosomichi" ("Narrow Road to the Interior"), which is inscribed on a large stone tablet near the lake. Here is a translation by Sam Hamill:

Whiter than the stone
of White Stone Temple:
autumn wind blows

Finally, we travelled to Kanazawa, where Ryoko visited relatives and Joseph visited JAIST, hosted by Prof. Futatsugi, and on 25 April, gave a lecture on "An Institutional Semantics for Proof Scores." We then returned to Kansai airport (near Osaka) for the (long and tiring) trip home.

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Last modified: Fri Jun 10 10:03:33 PDT 2005