University of Oregon

Oregon Programming Languages Summer School

A Spectrum of Types

June 26-July 8, 2017

Return to official OPLSS pages

Jim's OPLSS Blog

Student Recreation Center passes have all been picked up. Please read the SRC General User Policies and Protocols 2017.
When using University of Oregon resources, such as wireless and wired internet connections, refrain from conducting any illegal activities. Copyright infringement is an illegal activity. Sharing any copyrighted movies, music or other media is a crime in the US, and the University, as well as you, may be prosecuted. Therefore, the University of Oregon will take swift action if it detects any sharing of copyrighted materials. The University of Oregon will also take swift action if they detect any malware being propagated throught the network. If this happens, You will experience a dead network connection. Please contact me and I will inform you of the appropriate remedies. If you simply change network jacks, that one will go dead as well, so please contact me, rather than kill the network jacks for all participants.
It was brought to my attention that earlier there had been information about having to move from your dorm room assigned for the review to your dorm room assigned for the main program. I since managed to negotiate that away. So as Mark Twain once said, you now have the room you deserve.
  • The UO Student Rec Center has posted their summer hours. For OPLSS, we offer a Rec Center Pass for $38 that covers 6/26 through 7/8. Now would be the time to assess whether you want a pass. If you decide you do want a pass, please let me know and I will order one for you, and send you an updated invoice. Orders must be placed with me by noon, Friday, June 23. I will have the passes ready at 10AM on Monday, June 26.
  • Please look at the Topics: Main Program: Preparation page. The hands-on sessions will assume that you are ready to use the listed software.
  • I thought this would be obvious: the dorms have laundry facilities. For the past 15 years, a load of laundry is $0.75 and dryers are free, but it is possible the prices have changed this year.
  • Usually, I have everyone's flight information by now. To date, I have four. The travel page asks you to please send me this information when you have it. Hopefully, you have it now, so please send me that information.
We have officially entered the realm of me posting random thoughts. Sad. The TV news today noted that because of the damp winter and warm summer, we expect this year to have lots of mosquitoes. See the post on February 24 for Zika information. The menu for the cafeteria is posted online. If you have a housing package for the review, your first meal is Dinner 6/22. If your housing package does not cover the review, your first meal is Dinner 6/25. To eat dinner, you must check-in before 8PM. See April 12 posting about food. As an update to that, I just looked over the catering order for the excursion. The normal vegetarian meals are listed as "vegan", but even so, you should check with me if you want vegan, because maybe the sandwiches are vegan, but the dessert is not. (It has happened.) The conference desk has a limited number of athletic balls avaiable for checkout. In particular, they usually have basketballs for the baskets in between our dorm and the Health Center, and volleyballs for the volleyball pit between the conference desk and the cafeteria. It is possible that our dorm has a pool table in the basement, and they have balls to check out. How checkout is handled usually depends on the person staffing the desk, but the normal rule is that I have to check things out for you, because I will be responsible if you don't return stuff. I am still waiting for the Rec Center to post their summer hours. When they do, you can make an assessment of whether you want a rec center pass.
I have two names for each of you.
  1. Your full name listed on the documents I sent
  2. A possibly shorted name to be used on your nametag
I will issue a nametag to each of you, which will show your name and institution. In general, even if you asked me to leave your institution off the documents I send, I will still list it on your nametag. If you don't want your institution listed on your nametag, send me email. I generally try to list your personal and family name on your nametag. For example, I would apply to OPLSS as "James T. Allen from the University of Oregon." My name would be listed that way on all the official documents, but my nametag would read James Allen, University of Oregon. I would need to send email to myself if I wanted it to read Jim Allen, University of Oregon or James Allen, Independent Contractor or James T. Allen, University of Oregon. For some people, I have a difficult time figuring out which part of your name is your personal name, and which part is your family name. If that is the case, I will have emailed you asking for clarification; however, it is possible that the way you put your name seems to me to be according to American standards, but it is not. So, if Americans will misunderstand what you put, and I did not ask you about it, you should let me know what to do.

This year, the group will be housed in Hawthorn and Schafer Halls. Rooms on the the first floors of the dorms are wheelchair accessible, most of the dorms have only stair access to rooms above the first floor. Please let me know if you have mobility problems, so I can put you on the first floor. See the detailed check-in instructions. Your check-in instructions will vary depending on what time you will arrive.

Points of interest on the map:

  • Walton Complex - possibly where you will check in
  • LLC North - possibly where you will check in
  • Carson Hall - where we will be eating
  • Knight Law - where the lectures are
  • Deschutes Hall - where the student talks will be
Things to bring to the summer school:
  • A laptop and an ethernet cable.
  • Soap, shampoo and other personal grooming items.
  • Typically, I tell everyone to bring allergy medication. The main agricultural products in the Willamette Valley are grass seed and mint, so if you are allergic to grass pollen, expect to feel the effects while you are here. Some students travelling to the summerschool experience pollen allergies for the first time. You can see a complete pollen report at, zip code: 97403 (pay attention to the grass number). Pseudofed is a prescription drug in Oregon, so if you intend to purchase it here, either bring a prescription, or use one of the better, non-prescription alternatives.
  • You should not bring pillows, blankets or towels

Oregon is not a humid climate. If you are from the US interior Southwest, you may find it a bit humid, but if you are from anywhere East of the Rocky Mountains in the US, or some foreign places, you will find it very dry. This means that at night, there is a 20F or more drop in temperature. Because the usual school year runs from October to May, the dorms have heating, but no air conditioning. I usually get requests for extra blankets, which I can accommodate. The typical pattern in Oregon is to open the windows when the sun goes down, and first thing in the morning, but keep them closed in the heat of the day and when you are asleep. For safety reasons, if you are on the first floor, you should not leave your windows open when you are asleep or in your room.

While you are in Eugene, the weather will be hot, and the river will be cool, but don't go swimming in the river. The rivers here are fed by snow pack melt in the surrounding mountains. Therefore, the water is barely above freezing. Each year, several people jump into the river to cool off, and their bodies are recovered downstream. Wading is OK, but do not jump into the water.

There are many outdoor activities to do in Eugene. Within a 30 minute walk from the dorms are

Smokers: Oregon cities are largely non-smoking. In Oregon, it is illegal to smoke inside a building or within 20 feet of a building entrance, or on State owned lands, such as a beach or park. The city of Eugene does not allow smoking in city-owned places, such as parks or transit facilities. The University of Oregon is a Smoke and Tobacco Free University, which includes your dorm room. Smoking by OPLSS participants who are not UO students results in a $30 fine. If you are staying at a hotel, it is probably smoke-free — ask the hotel. This means that you will be hard pressed to find anywhere to smoke conveniently. You can stand in the middle of some streets and railroad tracks on campus, and while it is not technically illegal to smoke there, it is strongly discouraged for safety reasons, and casual littering like leaving a cigarette butt in the street is illegal. In most places in Eugene, smoking does not include ecigs, but University of Oregon policy considers them a prohibited tobacco product. Chewing tabacco is similarly prohibited by the University, but not the city or the state; however, most restaurants, bars and taverns will not allow chewing tobacco. Therefore, if you are addicted to nicotine, you should plan on bringing nicotine gum or patches, or you can obtain them here.
The information on student talks is on the schedule page You should let me know if you want to give a talk. The point is to get other participants interested in collaborating with you in the future. A talk should consist of a short presentation of your research followed by an off-the-cuff dialog with the audience. At OPLSS, there will be about a dozen undergrads, about a dozen industry professionals, and the rest grad students. The hall for student talks only holds about a third of the OPLSS participants, so if you want to give a talk, you should send me a title that describes your research and also specifically identifies why someone would be interested in listening to you, but not an abstract - about 20 words or so.
Access to computing resources on campus is governed by applicable US laws. In particular, US law says that sharing copyrighted content over the Internet is illegal, and the copyright holder is entitled to huge damages from the perpetrator and anyone who allowed it to happen. Therefore, the University of Oregon has incentives to disable your access if you are doing something illegal.

You can get a guest wireless account while at OPLSS. Wireless access requires authentication, so they know who you are. The lecture hall has

  • 10 wireless access points for Oregon university students
  • 1 wireless access point available for guest accounts
  • 1 wireless access point for eduroam

Each wireless access point in the lecture hall supports 12 connections. There are approximately 100 participants in OPLSS, of which about 5 are Oregonians. You may want to check with your institution to see if they participate in eduroam. On the other hand, every chair in the lecture hall has an ethernet jack which requires no authentication.

Similarly, the dorm has a wired connection on each desk, but the wireless connections are exclusively for Oregon students.

So, to review: I get great wireless internet access all over campus; as a non-Oregonian you are unlikely to have good wireless internet access, but with an ethernet cable, you are guaranteed to have good internet access.

To obtain a wireless account, from campus:

  1. Select UO Guest wireless network from the list of networks.
  2. Select Create an account.
  3. Fill in the information and click Register.
  4. Have the system send your password via email or SMS.
  5. Click Log in and use the username and password just sent to you.

You will notice that the preceeding assumes you can get email or SMS without using wireless (for example, a cell phone or wired connection, or borrowing the laptop of the person sitting next to you). A guest account lasts 7 days, but there is no limit to the number of times you can re-register. You must use the randomly assigned password. You cannot change it. You should only re-register when the account expires; otherwise, you will be creating a second account.

If you applied before today, you should have received some sort of acknowledgement from me, in most cases, an invoice. If you have not received this from me, please contact me ASAP to figure out what has gone horribly wrong.
If you have a housing package for a shared room, and you know who you want as a roommate, please let me know by May 15th. I would encourage you not to do this. One of the purposes of OPLSS is to meet people in the field. When putting together the room roster, I try to put Americans with non-Americans, East Coast people with West Coast people, etc, to make sure that you are meeting people you would not have otherwise know. If you ask me to put you in a room with your lab partner, I will do that, but you are missing out on part of the point of OPLSS. You already talk about PL research with your lab partner; this should be an opportunity to talk about PL research with someone else. Also, I tend to put people from the same school in adjacent rooms, so it's not like you won't see the people you know.

Please don't pay for things that don't appear on your invoice! If you want to change your accomodations, please email me and I will send you a corrected invoice which you can pay. It looks very bad to auditors if you pay more money than your invoice shows.

You may have visited the credit card site and noticed that there is a Recreation Center Pass available. Generally, people do not choose whether they want this at this time, because the class schedule for Summer Term is not yet posted, and it may happen that the thing you are interested in, for example, using the weight room before lunch, is not going to be possible, given the OPLSS schedule and the weight class schedule. So, you may want to hold off on making a decision about that until the Recreation Center has their hours posted. I checked with them, and there is no scheduled building renovations this year, so the only conflicts will be with scheduled classes. Once they have their hours posted, I will send out an email query, and update your invoice accordingly.

If you want to rent a bicycle when you are here, OPLSSers have been extremely satisfied with Brett at Rent-a-Bike. I suggest you arrange for the bike to be dropped off at noon on June 26 in front of the Law School North entrance. This will allow him to drop off all the OPLSS bikes at once. He will supply a helmet and a lock. You should use both. I was on a research project to help brain injury survivors, and the number one cause of brain injury in our group was riding a motorcycle or bike without a helmet. Bicycle theft is a big problem on campus. Our dorm will have a protected area for bicycles, you will also be riding to other places, so be sure to bring the lock.

If you are interested in renting a bicycle for just one or two days, I would suggest Blue Heron Bicycles, which is three doors down from the UO Bookstore. They have lots of rentals, and you don't need a reservation, but they may have shorter summer hours, so check out the shop in advance, if you want a bike over the weekend.

If you want to rent specialty equipment, like a tandem bike or a bike trailer, then check out Paul's Bicycle Way of Life. The location is less convenient to campus, but the selection is greater. A reservation helps with the overhead of filling out the paperwork. Full disclosure: Paul is married to a Computer Science Professor Emeritus.

If you have a housing package, the meals will be served at the Cafeteria. The hours are:
  • Breakfast 7:00 AM - 9:00 AM
  • Lunch 11:00 AM - 2:00 PM
  • Dinner 5:00 PM - 7:30 PM
Some common concerns:
Free-Roam/Cage-Free Livestock
Since the Univesity does not have resources to investigate the source of animal products past the USDA oversight at the packing plant and US law does not specify what it means to raise livestock cage-free, asking for cage-free animal products would just be an invitation for suppliers to lie. Therefore, the dining hall cannot certify that any animal products were or were not produced in cage-free environments.
Vegetarian/Vegan/Raw Foodist
If you are vegan or vegetarian, there should be no problem finding adequate hot and cold food in the cafeteria. If you are raw foodist, you should not eat the hot food, but there is an extensive salad bar. There is also a large selection of fresh and frozen fruit. We should have enough vegetarian meals on the Sunday excursion, but if you want vegan, you should let me know before OPLSS starts.
In general, my Muslim friends suggest there is plenty at the cafeteria, if you stick to the vegetarian offerings. However, Ramadan runs during the OPLSS review this year. In Eugene at that time, the sun rises at 5:30AM and sets at 9:00PM, which is the entire time the cafeteria is open. Please let me know if you intend to celebrate Ramadan, and we will make arrangements.
Kosher is tricky. This surprised me since I know many Jews in town. Talking to my friends and the Jewish Student Union and Hillel and several Rabbis, it seems to come down to "if you live in Eugene, you have to make compromises." It is certainly possible to observe an American, not-very-strict, kind of kosher, by abstaining from certain foods. The chef will know the ingredients of all the foods, so be sure to ask lots of questions. By the way, the chef may not understand kosher, per se, so be sure to ask about the ingredient list, not "is it kosher?" Anyway, the answer to "is it kosher?" is always no, since the cooking and serving vessels are not kosher.
Celiac Disease
Although marking something gluten-free is chic in the US, it is not seen as medically warranted as it is in England or Australia. Unfortunately, it is trendy in America for people to say they are staying away from gluten. According to my friends with Celiac Disease, this means that restaurants commonly tell you something is gluten-free when it is not, since 99% of people asking, don't really care, or even know what they are asking. Many Americans think that gluten-free means high protein. Many say "gluten-free" when they mean only "wheat-free". In the cafeteria, asking "Is it gluten-free" is probably not as good an idea as asking for the ingredient list, which the chef will be happy to share with you.
As stated on your invoice, the registration fee is due by May 15, but the housing and meals charges are not due until you show up in Eugene. If your accounting people prefer, you can make a single payment by May 15 to cover all of your account. The registration fee is non-refundable, so it would behoove you to not pay it until you have obtained travel documents, if there is a question about whether you can travel to Oregon. By the way, the non-refundability of the registration fee is not our idea — unless you are have a US taxpayer ID, we really cannot refund your money.

This year, campus construction dictates that we be housed in one of the older halls. Unfortunately, the bathroom and shower facilities are from the 1960's, so the the bathroom consists of a room with a number of toilet stalls, and the shower room consists of a room with a number of shower stalls. There is jack-hammering all day near the newer dorms, so this was the best option. Please let me know if you have mobility problems, so I can put you on the first floor.

In the past, very few participants have chosen to stay elsewhere during OPLSS. There is usually lots of discussion that goes on in the dorm, and participants who stay off-campus have felt isolated from this. However, if you want a hotel room near campus, here are a few options that are within 5 blocks of the lecture hall.

Law School desk outlet profile For Foreign Participants: If you are not from North America, bring a power converter for your laptop. US power outlets are 120 volts at 60 hertz. If you come here without a power adapter, it may take you a number of phone calls and missed lectures to figure out where to get one, so it is probably easier to obtain one from your local apothecary (or whoever sells them in your country) before coming. To operate at the lecture hall, power adapters must have a profile that allows you to plug into an outlet like the picture.

Address for Visa Documents

When you get here, the building you will be staying in is:

1595 E. 15th Avenue
Eugene OR  97403

However, do not send mail to that address. Mail addressed to university buildings is returned as undeliverable. Do not have things dropped off at the dorm by other couriers because there is nobody there but us, and we will not be there during the day. There is no phone number at the dorm.

The contact information for visa applications is

Zena Ariola
University of Oregon
Department of Computer and Information Science
1477 E. 13th Avenue
Eugene OR  97403

Address for Mail Delivered by the US Postal Service

US Mail must be delivered to a specific person at a specific department. So, if you must have mail sent to you while you are here, you will have to address it to me:

[you] c/o Jim Allen
Dept of Computer and Info Science
1202 University of Oregon
Eugene, OR 97403-1202

Address for Mail Delivered by Other Couriers

If you are sending things through a courier service, such as lost luggage or FedEx, then you should give them the street addresss of the Computer Science Department:

Dept of Computer and Info Science
120 Deschutes Hall
1477 E. 13th Avenue
Eugene OR  97403

Deschutes Hall is open 8AM-noon and 1PM-5PM Monday-Friday. The phone number for the Computer and Information Science Department is 541-346-4408.

Unfortunately, all of my advice on coming to the United States is based on information from the previous US administation. I cannot offer advice on how to get to the US currently, but the following are the guidelines I have offered successfully in the past.

It is never too early to work on obtaining travel papers to the US. You may not need a visa, but you will need a passport and probably pre-approval. Check the Visa Waiver Program website to see if you need a visa.

Since OPLSS gives no academic credit, the State Department views it as a scientific conference. There have been cases of people coming from visa waiver program countries who have been held up at the border because they said "school" or "class" or "study" or "student" and were not allowed into the US because they did not have a student visa. So, do not use these words because the US government has a very limited semantic for them. Even participants from countries in the Visa Waiver Program would need a student visa to study in the US. Therefore, be very clear that you are NOT coming to the US as a student or to study. You are coming here on business to attend a scientific conference.

If you need a visa, please read and follow these instructions carefully.

  • Depending on your point of origin, the main thing they will want to know in your interview is that you are not a "risk to emmigrate" to the US. The State Department says:
    Evidence of your employment and/or your family ties may be sufficient to show the purpose of your trip and your intent to return to your home country. If you cannot cover all the costs for your trip, you may show evidence that another person will cover some or all costs for your trip.

    Visa applicants must qualify on the basis of the applicant's residence and ties abroad, rather than assurances from U.S. family and friends.
    Different Ambassadors have different semantics of "evidence" and different attitudes about the phrase "may be sufficient". The University of Oregon has no influence with the US State Department. It is probably advantageous to bring evidence of round trip plane tickets, although without a visa, it would be premature to purchase non-refundable tickets. It is definitely required that you bring to your interview correspondence from your family members (not residing in the US) indicating that they expect you to return, and documents from your institution indicating that they expect you to return. It is not a good idea to have anything sent directly to the embassy, since it is usually discarded unless you bring it with you to your interview.
  • In general, you need to be clear that you are looking for a B1 business visa . Do not under any circumstances say or agree that you need a student visa. Once you say that you want a student visa or that you want to study at OPLSS, you will never be allowed to come to the US until you have been accepted into a US degree-granting program.
  • Notice that "study" is specifically prohibited on a B1/B2 visa. Be careful not to tell the embassy or border officials that you are going to "study" in the US. OPLSS is a scientific conference that requires a B-1 visa. You are here to listen to leading researchers present their findings, and meet other researchers in the field. OPLSS does not constitute a course of study.
  • It is illegal for us to issue you an I-20 or any other SEVIS document, because you will receive no academic credit from the University of Oregon. These are only required for a student visa. If you are asked for these documents, be very clear that you want a B-1 visa. You will not be able to attend OPLSS on a student visa.
  • The decision to grant a visa is left up to the ambassador to your country and there is no appeal, so be prepared. Talk to other students from your country who have attended conferences in the US.
If you are concerned about the Zika virus, the Oregon Health Authority has a page for communicable diseases. As of today, you will find on that page that Zika is not a problem for Oregon.
If you are staying in the OPLSS housing and you have concerns about kosher or halal, please let me know and we can discuss accomodations. As an official of the State of Oregon, I cannot legally cooperate with US federal officials if they try to set up a religious registry, so any information you give me about your religion will not be shared with federal officials.
Here, I will be posting updates on registration deadlines, when you should expect to be notified, how to get here, and what to bring. If you apply (with a recommendation) before April 1, you should hear back from us by April 7. If not, please send me an email asking what happened to your application.

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© University of Oregon Department of Computer and Information Science, 1202 University of Oregon, Eugene OR 97403-1202