Dave Thomas

YOW! Night Melbourne – Dave Thomas – 25 May

Why Real Developers Embrace Functional Programming and NoSQL Data
Confessions of an Object’holic’ and Statefull Sinner


For 3 decades object and relational technology have dominated the software landscape to the extent that for many this is only way to build software and relational data bases are the way to manage data. Sadly many universities around the world teach only Java or C# arguing that this is all that industry needs! The same can be said about RDBs and SQL which for all intents and purpose today define what a database is. In this talk we place OO and RDBs/SQL in perspective as important but not everything. Indeed they may not even be necessary or sufficient for a wide class of applications?

We first discuss the well known but not often discussed dark side of OO in traditional application development. We then discuss the challenges facing objects in a world of massive data and massive parallelism. We reiterate why functional programming is industrially important including example applications. We discuss and contrast modern functional language capabilities and VM runtimes as exhibited by Scheme, Haskell/LINQ, Map Reduce, F#, Scala, Clojure, Erlang and lesser know list, set, logic and vector technologies. We note the cited difficulty of learning and using high barrier languagesand suggest some potential solutions.

We discuss why SQL and classic relational technology implementations are problematic in both rapid Agile development and dealing with massive data and parallelism. We briefly discuss the NoSQL alternatives and clarify some of the confusing statements about them. We also discuss some of the limitations of new DBs.
Finally we look at effective ways to leverage functional programming in an NoSQL for very large datasets. We argue for column stores as a means of obtaining the benefits of RDBs, SQL and NoSQL dbs without the shot comings of NoSQL or Relational DBs.


Dave Thomasis a popular humorous albeit opinionated keynote speaker. Dave Thomas is a founding director of the Agile Alliance and is a Managing Director for Object Mentor a leader in XP, Craftmanship and Lean and Agile in the Large. Dave is doing the opening keynote for the Agile 2010 Conference.

Dave Thomas has an unusual depth and breadth in the software industry spanning developer to executive and investor. Dave is founder and CEO of Bedarra Corporation; which provides virtual CTO, CFO and CEO, business mentoring and seed investment to emerging companies. He is chairman of Bedarra Research Labs which undertakes speculative client funded applied research using emerging technologies. Current Projects are Collaborative Analytics and Next Generation Pervasive Platforms.

He was founder and CEO Object Technology International Inc. (OTI) (now IBM OTI Labs) and led the commercial introduction of object and component technology. The company is often cited as the ideal model of a software technology company. In the late 1980s Dave pioneered an early Lean and Agile process called Just In Time Software portions of which appear today in IBM Team Concert.

He was the principal technical and business visionary and architect for IBM VisualAge Smalltalk and Java tools and virtual machines including the popular Eclipse.org IDE. OTI pioneered the use of virtual machines in embedded systems with Tektronix shipping the first commercial products in 1988. He was instrumental in the establishment of IBM’s Pervasive computing efforts and in particular the Java tooling.

Dave is an adjunct research professor at Carleton University, and Queensland University of Technology and is widely published. Dave is the organizer of the YOW! Conference and on the program committee for JAOO Conferences as well numerous other program committees.

Schedule of Events

5.30pm – 5.45pm Registration & Doors Open

5.30pm – 6.00pm Drinks and food

6.00pm – 7.00pm Presentation by Dave Thomas

7.00pm – 7.30pm Q & A