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Current meeting

Next Meeting - Tuesday, October 10th - Github Continuous Integration for Perl CPAN modules

Last minute Subject Change

LIVE Speaker ! ROOM Change: E51-372

We're sorry to report that due to circumstances beyond the speaker's control, Adam won't be able to make it tonight for his talk on "Deep Learning in Perl." We are tentatively rescheduling that talk for our November meeting (update to follow).

Instead tonight we will be having a mini-hackathon on the Config::Std CPAN module that Boston.pm maintains. We'll be offering a live demonstration of setting up continuous integration (CI) using Travis CI and Appveyor, two hosted CI tools made freely available for open source projects on Github. Join us as we stumble through the process and learn from our mistakes.

Perl has had Test::Harness for decades, with CPANTS providing distributed Continuous Integration testing of Released CP
Github - Travis-CI integration illo from Travic-CI blog
Github - Travis-CI integration illo from Travic-CI blog
AN module distributions for a decade or more. Thank you CPANTS volunteers for creating a distributed cloud for us :-). Now GitHub is offering similar capabilities to all the other FLOSS communities via free integration with freemium cloud Continuous Integration tools Travis-CI (for Linux) and Appveyor (for Windows). Since we have CPANTS for release, we can use Travis-ci&Appveyor to test our DEV branch after checkin. They'll even test Pull Requests before merge! Any Github FLOSS project can use these, but Perl CPAN projects can make use easily since we already have a regression testing culture, we won't need to write the tests, just enable them.

Join us to help me make "easily" true or laugh at my hubris to say Easy before I try doing it :-)

NOTE: Parking Alert. Recent changes in MIT Parking Dept web pages (parking , visitors, public ) no longer allow un-permitted parking after-hours.
(This is a natural response to several other East Campus parking lots being eaten by new building sites for campus expansion.)
Only legit parking is Cambridge meters (late hours! and several blocks lost to construction), free spaces on Memorial Drive (allow time for circling), and paid lot/garages.
Come by Train, Bus, Bicycle, or Foot if you can!
(Parking at MBTA Garages are convenient to T and not overpriced, unlike most in-town garages.)
Also, construction detour is even longer than last time if driving, Wadsworth to/from Mem Drive & Amherst St to Amess both closed, only access by car is Wadsworth to/from Main St east-bound.

Boilerplate details
  • Tech Meetings are held on the 2nd Tuesday of every month at MIT building E51, Sloan School Tang Center [not the other Tang building!] nearer to Kendall Sq than Mass Ave. (directions).
  • Talk begins at 7:30.
  • Refreshments in the hallway prior.
  • RSVP for count encouraged but not required, to bill.n1vux@gmail.com or Boston-PM list, by 4pm Tuesday.

(NOTE: Fall 2017: we're moving back to the squarer room 372 (first door after the partition), not the wider 376 (second door) that we had the last several years)

Future - Summer/Fall reservations

*If you have a demo or talk idea, please, when would you like to present? Doesn't need to fill the full time.*

Confirmed room assignments courtesy of MIT
Room E51-372 reserved 6:30p - 10:00p (setup time!)
Tues, Nov 14th
Tues, Dec 12th , 2017

Unconfirmed Room


November 14th Subject TBD but quite possibly October original postponed as follows

Adam Russell : Deep Learning with Perl and AI::MXNet: Navigating implementation issues
Neural Network

This talk will cover lessons learned from a recent experience in getting a deep learning projected started, with little prior experience in AI. All code will use the Perl MXNet API and guide the audience through developing a simple model, which is then built on to perform more complex tasks.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has for a long time captured the popular imagination. Results from academia and industry have finally started to deliver on some of the long hoped for results: self driving cars, automated medical diagnoses, and written and verbal language processing. These areas are showing advances that were once simply products of fiction writers. The current wave of AI enthusiasm may be attributed to what is called Deep Learning which is a convenient label for relatively new techniques using neural networks. The possibility for increased automation across virtually every industry has resulted in the spinning up of many new startup companies, as well as new projects within existing enterprises, resulting in the need to develop the skills necessary to pursue this new area.

While not the language of production, Perl is used to develop algorithms and demonstrate concepts before they receive fuller treatment. Deep Learning practitioners often begin their deep learning work, correctly, with a review of the literature and research into the fundamentals. Projects then often start confidently with high hopes, built on that conceptual understanding, only to quickly get bogged down in unforeseen, but critically important, issues of implementation. Using Perl, and MXNet, as a rapid prototyping tool allows uncovering the promise of a new algorithm without getting mired in implementation details.

About the speaker
Adam Russell is a software engineer with OptumLabs' Center for Applied Data Science (CADS). CADS is tasked with developing prototype applications which implement recent advances in algorithms and technology to address issues of importance to Optum business interests. Most recent projects have been focused on Deep Learning. Adam has a PhD in Computer Science from the University of Massachusetts Lowell, his academic interests involve Computational Geometry and Data Visualization and these explorations, much like the work described in this talk, are all Perl driven. He also teaches, on an adjunct basis, at Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston.


Tues, Sep 12th - Damian Conway, "Three Little Words" (or "Why I Love Perl") (recorded at The 2017 Perl Conference)

ROOM Change: E51-372

Damian Conway, known for his rapid-paced, wide-ranging, tour-de-force presentations, was the keynote presenter at The Perl Conference, 2017 (formerly known as YAPC::NA). In his keynote he tells "a tale of madness, obsession, and coding extremity," describing what it took to bring 3 keywords from Perl 6 to Perl 5. A community effort that took three years and 2.8 million lines of code. This is a more extreme example of what some developers are going through to bring Perl 6 functionality to Perl 5.

We will watch his recorded keynote and discuss among ourselves.

Even if you are new to Perl and don't follow all the technical details, Damian's highly entertaining presentations are a must see. (Plus, after the talk when we discuss it, we'll happily answer any questions.)

About the speaker
external image damian.jpg Damian Conway is an author or co-author of numerous Perl books, and a widely sought-after speaker and trainer.

August, 2017 - no meeting

July 11th, 2017 The Perl Conference 2017 Review : Lightning Talk Dim Sum ( from TPC / YAPC::NA)

Attendees selected Lightning Talks from The Perl Conference 2017 playlist. We can't play all 29 of them unless we 'gong' more than half quickly after starting, but at 6 minutes each, we can get through a dozen (unless we choose to discuss and experiment between).

Samples from among the 29 six-minute choices available -
  • "Emulating Any API"
  • "Perl 6 Str Considered Harmful"
  • "Administering Slack Contests with Perl"
  • "In Response to D. Conway's Test::Expr"
  • "A Personalized Calendar in Perl"
  • "Why Google's Dart should be your next programming language"
  • "Hacking the Interviewing Process"

Bill will be our VJ, but the audience will lead.

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June 13th. New features, changes in Perl 5.26

Join us to see what's new in the latest Perl. Using slides prepared by brian d foy for a AmsterdamX.pm presentation, we'll go over the highlights of new features and changes in Perl 5.26, including the potential disruptive change of removing the current directory (.) from the @INC module search path. We'll supplement the slides with the official Perl Delta (change log) document, and other online sources where more depth is required. The talk will be an open discussion format, with Bill Ricker leading us through the slides, but plenty of opportunity for the audience to ask questions, or offer opinion, and in some cases we'll try some live demos of the new features.

Note - Posted since the meeting, a nice video on 5.26 by SawyerX the Pumpking from TPC2017DC. ( Reviews 5.20 .. 5.24 and previews 5.27 also. )

Social Meeting, May the Fourth (be with you): Guest Randal "Merlyn" Schwartz

at Uri's house, Arlington, 6pm - whenever.
See mailing list.

Tuesday April 11th, 7ish Room E51-376

Ricky Morse, Digital pack-ratting for Tumblr (Perl 5 and Perl 6)

"I’m a bit of a digital packrat, so I will be showing a tool that I developed to help me hoard Tumblr meme posts. As a bonus, just for this talk I wrote something in Perl 6."

Ricky Morse has been using Perl for various things since the late 90s.

[ Since it's Pi Day, i'll arrange special cookies and/or pie to celebrate math geekiness. If anyone wants to bake or otherwise bring a non-pizza pie speak up ! -- Bill ]

(Originally scheduled for Tues, Feb 14th; POSTPONED twice , Valentines Day and Winter Storm, MIT closed.)

(March talk was Originally scheduled for Tues, Feb 14th; POSTPONED , apparently Valentines Day less nerdly activities are preferred?)

Last meeting


Tues, Jan 10th, 2017, 7ish Room E51-376

Brian D. Foy (bdf), 6 More Things about Perl 6

6 More Things about Perl 6 will cover a combination of features, ideas, and concepts that I find interesting about the new language. I'll also answer question about the upcoming "Learning Perl 6" book, the Kickstarter campaign for it, and other things you may want to ask.

About the speaker
brian_d_foy.jpgbrian d foy is a long time member of the Perl community, a prolific Perl trainer, and writer. In addition to authoring the upcoming Learning Perl 6, he's the the author of Mastering Perl, and co-author of Programming Perl, Learning Perl, Intermediate Perl, and Effective Perl Programming. He's a frequent speaker at Perl conferences. He founded the first Perl user group, the New York Perl Mongers, as well as the Perl advocacy nonprofit Perl Mongers. A contributor to Perl documentation and maintainer of several modules on CPAN.

SLIDES for this talk
Perl 6 Advent article by bdf on Object Hashes .https://perl6advent.wordpress.com/2016/12/03/day-3-object-hashes/
external image github.com.icohttps://github.com/briandfoy/Perl6PowerTools
Slides for (first) 6 Things about Perl 6 at NY.pm (prequel for above talk)
see Brian also as @LearningPerl6 external image twitter.com.ico and @briandfoy_perl


December 13th, MIT room E51-376, 7ish

Christmas Lights Tour

A mutually-guided tour of the first half of several Perl-ish Advent Calendars
Advent calendar images

Bill & Greek Chorus

Around this time of year there is a tradition in the programming communities to share our favorite libraries, tools, and tips we've gathered over the past year. These prizes are dolled out once per day in classic Advent Calendar style. In the next Boston.pm meeting we'll take a look at the highlights from several in-progress Perl-related calendars, including:
  • Perl Advent (classic Perl 5)
  • Perl6 Advent
  • Dancer
  • C::Blocks Advent (a whole calendar for a single module in Beta !?)
and maybe more from the master list via Advent Planet which has other languages and sysadmin, perf, ..., and a code based puzzles.

(Audience participation: As usual, our Greek chorus answers each other's questions about the modules seen.)



2nd Tuesday in November in a Leap year is Election Day - I presume most people will be watching a different channel that night. We often do social in December.

Tues Oct 11th, room E51-376 Bill Ricker, Perl 5.22 & Abe Lincoln's War Cipher

Last month, I did my usual Cryptographic History talk before BLU.org's GPG/PGP keysigning. The title was "Transposition Cyphers in Historic Context", looking at a theory and two specific uses, President Lincoln and German Army Corps WW1. As usual, there was a bit of Perl code used for demonstration - for Lincoln's.

This time, I used the 5.020 experimental features, postderef and signatures, that we've discussed in new release feature reviews (both promoted to stable in 5.024, so safe to use in real code).

a Lincoln telegram

BLU saw the history, but this month, Boston.pm gets to see the code.
Citizen science links for the transcription project -

Tues Sept 13th, room E51-376 - Brendan Gregg's FlameGraphs (Bill Ricker, moderator)

Brendan Gregg's FlameGraph profiler visualization
I stumbled on a link to a set of posts and hand-drawn 'zines' about Linux debugging and 'doing' software at jvns.ca/zines/ . The Linux Debugging zine includes several 'old friend' tools (which gives me confidence in this person's opinions) and also included new or new to me options and tools, and specifically enthused over Brendan Gregg's invention: FlameGraphs. Brendan invented these to make sense of profile stack samples of MySQL, which produced so much data that he had to invent a new way to visualize ... with Perl, naturally. Tim Bunce has bundled and enhanced FlameGraphs into CPAN NYTProf, but it's usable with any profiler giving full stack traces with symbols (Dtrace, perf, SystemTrap, OS X Instroments, Xperf.exe, NYTProf for Perl). -Bill Ricker

We will watch a video by the author and play with the source code.



Tuesday, July 12th, 2016 - MIT E51-376

Bill Ricker & hackathon chorus - Biennial Care and Feeding of Boston.pm's adopted Damian CPAN Module Config::Std

Our ?biennial? hackathon to support our adopted Damian module, Config::Std is our July topic.
We have a new old bug -- prior deprecation of literal { becomes fatal in 5.26, coming soon

You'll want to perlbrew a 5.25 or blead-perl if you want to play along with testing on your device.

Tuesday June 14th, room E51-376

Tim King

Testing Modern Perl with Test::Class

Tim will examine best practices for testing Modern Perl, including a tutorial on using Test::Class.

About the speaker
external image portrait-tim-king.png
Tim King is Lead Developer at The Perl Shop. Tim got his start writing real-time embedded software for high-speed centrifuges the 1980’s and went on to do embedded software for Kurzweil Music Systems and Avid Technology. He has been developing for the web since the web existed, and brings discipline and skills honed from embedded systems to enterprise software. His expertise is in designing for software quality, achieved through automated code testing, test-first development, and risk managed refactoring, all through an agile process.

Tuesday May 10th - Canceled

Tuesday, April 12th, room E51-376

Richard "Ricky" Morse

i18n and HTML with Perl

Some short observations, including code, on dealing with a multi-lingual website. Mention, and possibly discussion, will be made of Plack, GNU’s Gettext and the PO file, Dom::Tiny (with a possible 1-minute excursion into HTML::Parser), Locale::PO (and various rewritings), the CLDR, and the Locales module.

Tuesday March 8th

Rakudo Perl 6 and MoarVM Performance Advances / J. Worthington

(By the magic of video - Yapc::EU)

"Performance has long been one of the blockers to greater adoption of Perl 6. The language is designed in expectation of a sufficiently smart optimizer, knowing that such things are possible - but setting quite a challenge for those of us working on Perl 6 implementation.

Following the "make it work, then make it fast" approach, we've done a lot of work over the years on getting many language features to work well in Rakudo. ... In this session I'll discuss how we've been improving Perl 6 performance by working at all levels of the implementation: optimizing built-ins, improving the Perl 6 optimizer's ability to simplify code, and building a powerful dynamic optimizer for MoarVM that uses runtime information about a program's typical behavior to cheapen attribute accesses, resolve dispatches, eliminate type checks, perform inlining, and much more. I'll also take a look at the MoarVM JIT project, and how that is helping.

Finally, I'll take stock of where we're at so far using latest benchmark results: what we can do about as well as Perl 5, where Perl 5 comes out faster, and where Rakudo Perl 6 comes out ahead."

About the speaker
worthington.jpgJonathan Worthington is MoarVM and Rakudo Perl 6 compiler architect. Co-founder of Edument in Czech Republic. Like cooking/eating Indian food, craft beer, and seeing the world.

external image camelia-logo.png

Tues Feb 9th, room E51-376

Parallelism, Concurrency, and Asynchrony in Perl 6.

Jonathan Worthington
Lead Dev of Rakudo Perl 6 and founder&architect of MoarVM
[appearing via tape delay]
"Parallelism and concurrency are different, though often confused. Asynchrony adds yet another concept into the mix. And there are dozens of different approaches to working with these concepts. How do we identify what kind of problem we're dealing with, and pick an approach to solving it?
"In this session, I'll look at a range of different problems - some parallel, some concurrent - and show the approaches that may be taken to solve them. And, since I've been working on the Perl 6 parallelism and concurrency features, I'll show how these solutions look in Perl 6."

... and any comments from anyone who's downloaded it and messed with it since Sixmas ....

(Note, word is if you had an old RakudoBrew, it needs removal and re-clone for the release.)

January 12th 2016, CANCEL DUE TO WEATHER

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