As graduate students, it's easy to for us to get tunnel vision and focus only on research, meeting academic milestones, or publishing. Attending a conference is a great way to get a sense of the kinds of problems people in a field find interesting, to make research connections, and practice pitching ideas. It's also a great way to meet friends who become collaborators and collaborators who become friends.
This is my third PLDI. I had a great time participating in SRC at my first PLDI in Edinborough in 2014, and co-captaining volunteers during my second PLDI in 2015. This year I'm hoping to get a little more time to attend talks, meet other students, chat with new faculty members, and come back inspired by all the great work being done in the PLDI community! I'm especially proud and honored to be part of the PLASMA lab at UMass, under the supervision of Emery Berger, who is the program chair for this year's PLDI.