In under the wire

2016: Not entirely bad

By Dave Menendez
Saturday, December 31, 2016, at 6:08 PM

Summary: I don’t have much to say about the awful stuff that’s happened this year, so here are some good things that happened to me.

This has been quite a year. I won’t try listing all the celebrity deaths, as every time I think of them I get reminded of someone else who had already been crowded out of my mind. More seriously, we have the rise of right-wing nationalism in the US and Europe, leading to the Brexit vote and the election of Donald Trump.

Seriously, Donald Trump is going to be president of the United States in twenty days. I’ve known about this for more than a month, and I still can’t believe it. “President Trump” has been a dystopian punchline for much of my life, and now it’s actually happening. It’s so absurd and awful that I can’t even think of an analogy for it.1

Anyway, I don’t have much to add about the terrible stuff, so I’d like to mention a few good things from my personal 2016.

First is the birth of my first child. She’s a bit over four months old now, and is starting to feel more like an individual. She can smile and laugh, and she’s just learned how to put things in her mouth on purpose. There are hard times—especially in the evening, when she’s too tired to sleep—and we have a few months of teething to look forward to, but overall I’d say we’re all happy.

As a bonus, being a parent means quickly getting over disgust about body fluids. We’ve only had one projectile pooping episode so far, and even then it seemed more funny than gross.

In my academic career—which I suddenly can’t recall whether I’ve mentioned here—I've published two papers this year, “Termination checking for LLVM peephole optimizations”—which received a Distinguished Paper Award—and “Alive-FP: Automated verification of floating point based peephole optimizations in LLVM”, both of which extend my earlier (joint) work on Alive, a language for specifying peephole optimizations in the LLVM compiler. Speaking of which, the original Alive paper from last year was selected as a SIGPLAN Research Highlight this October.

I could probably say more, but there’s only six hours left in 2016 and I really want to get at least one blog post up this calendar year. In the unlikely event you are reading this today, Happy New Year! To everyone else, thanks for reading. I’m glad this web site still exists in some form.

  1. Maybe an actual zombie apocalypse or something.