Zhiwu Xu wins the EAPLS Best PhD Dissertation Award 2013

by Arend Rensink, April 9, 2014

The EAPLS Best PhD Dissertation Award 2013 has been won by Dr. Zhiwu Xu (Université Paris Diderot), for his dissertation on "Parametric Polymorphism for XML Processing Languages".

It is the great pleasure of the European Association on Programming Languages and Systems to announce the outcome of the EAPLS Best Dissertation Award 2013.

This award is given to the PhD student who has made the most original and influential contribution to the area of Programming Languages and Systems, and has graduated in the period from November 2012 to November 2013 at a European academic institute. The purpose of the award is to draw attention to excellent work, to help the career of the student in question, and to promote the research field as a whole.

The winner of this edition of the EAPLS Dissertation Award is

  • Dr. Zhiwu Xu
    Université Paris Diderot

for his dissertation on

  • Parametric Polymorphism for XML Processing Languages

supervised by Giuseppe Castagna. The winner was selected by a committee of 25 international experts. Details on the procedure can be found at http://eapls.org/pages/phd_award/. The candidate theses were judged on originality, impact, relevance, and quality of writing.

The jury concluded unanimously that Dr. Xu's dissertation is an outstanding piece of work; it was ranked first amidst some very strong contenders. A summary of the jury's findings:

  • The addressed problem is relevant to the programming language community. The author gives a solution to that is both a deep theoretical result, and a practical achievement which can be incorporated in a real-life programming language.
  • Before, there were no polymorphic type systems for XML processing languages. It wasn't even clear that the subtyping problem was decidable. The thesis solves the problem in an elegant way. One may liken this to the addition of polymorphism to Java through the work of Wadler and Odersky.
  • The thesis has had a huge impact already, and recognition: an ICFP 2011 paper which constitutes part of the work in the thesis, has been nominated by ACM SIGPLAN for the very prestigious CACM Research Highlights
  • The thesis is well written. From the beginning, the author has made efforts to present the ideas in a pedagogical manner.

We offer Dr. Xu our heartfelt congratulations with his achievement. We are confident that it will be a sign of a long and distinguished scientific career.