Turing Lecture: Problems in Basic Data Types in Computing

Speaker: Jon Skeet (Google, UK)

Date: 28 June 2017

Time: 14:00 – 17:00

Venue: Chemistry Auditorium, Christopher Ingold Building, 20 Gordon Street Bloomsbury, London WC1H

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In this talk, Jon will explain some of the problems developers commonly encounter dealing with basic data types, where the problems come from, and why it’s all humanity’s fault really.

ComJon_Skeet_puters should be good at handling numbers. That’s pretty much their sole job – everything else is built on top of numbers. So why do developers have so many problems with calculations?

Computers should be good at handling text. After all, we’ve built computers to solve our real-world problems, and a lot of those involve representing information as text. So why is it so hard to manipulate text in code?

After numbers and text, dates and times are probably the next-most-common kinds of information. As you’re probably expecting by this point in the summary, dates and times are really messy in computing.

Why is this the case, and what can we do about it?


Jon Skeet is a senior software engineer at Google, working in the London office. His day job is to make Google Cloud Platform awesome for C# developers. In his “spare” time, he posts on Stack Overflow, writes books on C#, and maintains the Noda Time date/time library for .NET.