First CfP: JFP Special Issue on The Theory and Practice of Algebraic Effects and Handlers

by Sivaramakrishnan Krishnamoorthy Chandrasekaran, Aug. 16, 2018

JFP Special Issue on The Theory and Practice of Algebraic Effects and Handlers

Submission Deadline: 18 January 2019
Expected Publication Date: December 2019


An important aspect of real-world languages is their support for computational effects such as raising exceptions, printing to the screen, accessing a database, non-determinism, and concurrency. In order to reason about the semantics of a programming language with computational effects, it is necessary to separate the effects out from the rest of the language. To this end, algebraic effects permit a wide class of computational effects to be specified in a pure setting using only operations that give rise to them and equations that the operations satisfy. The algebraic treatment of operations naturally leads to a novel treatment of handlers for all computational effects, not just for exceptions.

Algebraic effect handlers have been steadily gaining attention as a programming language feature since they generalise many control-flow abstractions such as exception handling, iterators, async/await, or backtracking, while ensuring that the composition of various features remains well-behaved. Indeed, there are implementations of algebraic effects and effect handlers as libraries in C, Clojure, F#, Haskell, OCaml, Scala, JavaScript, as well as full-fledged languages such as Eff, Frank, Links, Koka, and Multicore OCaml. Algebraic effect handlers have also influenced the design of software tools in industry including Facebook's React UI library and Uber's Pyro probabilistic programming language.

To recognise and encourage the publication of mature research contributions in this area, a special issue of the Journal of Functional Programming (JFP) will be devoted to the same theme.


Full-length, archival-quality submissions are solicited on theoretical and practical aspects of algebraic effects and handlers. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Reasoning about algebraic effects and handlers (denotational semantics, dependent types, logical relations, language support for equational reasoning)
  • Effect typing (subtyping, row-polymorphism, generativity, encapsulation)
  • Implementation of effect handlers (dynamic effects, selective CPS translations, delimited continuations)
  • Applications of algebraic effect handlers (probabilistic programming, event correlation, meta-programming, asynchronous I/O, debugging)

Reports on applications of these techniques to real-world problems are especially encouraged, as are submissions that relate ideas and concepts from several of these topics, or bridge the gap between theory and practice.

Papers will be reviewed as regular JFP submissions, and acceptance in the special issue will be based on both JFP's quality standards and relevance to the theme. The special issue also welcomes high-quality survey and position papers that would benefit a wide audience.

Authors are encouraged to indicate interest in submitting by December 14, 2018, to aid in identifying suitable reviewers. The submission deadline is January 18, 2019. The expected submission length is 25-35 pages, excluding bibliography and appendices. Shorter submissions are encouraged; prospective authors of longer submissions should discuss their plans with the special issue editors in advance.

Submissions that are based on previously-published conference or workshop papers must clearly describe the relationship with the initial publication, and must differ sufficiently that the author can assign copyright to Cambridge University Press. Prospective authors are welcome to discuss such submissions with the editors to ensure compliance with this policy.


Submissions should be sent through the JFP Manuscript Central system at Choose “Effects and Handlers” as the paper type, so that it gets assigned to the special issue.

For other submission details, please consult an issue of the Journal of Functional Programming or see the Journal's web page at

Tentative Schedule

  • 14 December 2018: Expression of interest
  • 18 January 2019: Submission deadline
  • 22 April 2019: First round of reviews
  • 23 August 2019: Revision deadline
  • 15 November 2019: Second round of reviews
  • 13 December 2019: Final accepted versions due

Guest Editors

  • Andrej Bauer, Faculty of Mathematics and Physics, University of Ljubljana
  • KC Sivaramakrishnan, Department of Computer Science and Technology, University of Cambridge

Editors in Chief

  • Jeremy Gibbons, Department of Computer Science, University of Oxford
  • Matthias Felleisen, College of Computer and Information Science, Northeastern University