Simon Peyton Jones

Engineering Fellow @ Epic Games

Simon Peyton Jones, FRS, spent seven years as a lecturer at University College London, and nine years as a professor at Glasgow University, before joining Microsoft Research (Cambridge) in 1998. He moved to Epic Games as an Engineering Fellow in 2022.

Simon’s main research interest is in functional programming languages, their implementation, and their application. He was a key contributor to the design of the now-standard functional language Haskell, and is the lead designer of the widely-used Glasgow Haskell Compiler (GHC). He has written two textbooks about the implementation of functional languages. He is particularly motivated by direct application of principled theory to practical language design and implementation — that is one reason he loves functional programming so much.

Simon is chair of Computing at School, the grass-roots organisation that was at the epicentre of the 2014 reform of the English computing curriculum.

Verse is a new programming language, being designed at Epic Games as the language of the metaverse. Verse is a functional logic language, with a bunch of innovative ideas. Like Haskell, Verse is declarative (a variable in Verse stands for just one, immutable value), and higher order (lambdas are first class). But Verse goes well beyond Haskell, with existential variables, unification, expressions that yield multiple values, and much more besides. In this talk we'll give you a sense of what functional logic programming is about, what it looks like to program in Verse, and how we can give meaning to Verse programs using rewrite rules.