Interested in contributing, looking for a mentor

Hi! I’m interested in contributing to rustc. I’d love to connect to someone who could provide suggestions and advice and who I could ask little questions that are best discussed “off the air,” so to speak, to conserve the bandwidth on the public forums.

A short version of what I’m really good at. (Good for?)

  • I’m a mathematician and love to teach and mentor undergraduates.
  • Have a very strong computer science background.
  • I caught the language/compiler bug several years ago and have developed a healthy programming languages and compiler fetish balanced by an unhealthy technical book hoarding problem. The silver lining to the latter is that I kick bottom at book recommendations. Let me know if you are looking for a good reference on symbol table design or implementation of functional languages.
  • Interested in PL Theory from the mathematical direction. I feel cheated that I didn’t see lambda calculus as a math/comp sci double major in undergrad and am now making up for lost time. I have been especially interested in order-sorted unification recently.
  • Two decades of C++, Java experience, a decade doing serious Python work.
  • Two decades working with Mathematica—in fact I am recognized as an expert in Mathematica’s syntax and have done some scholarly work in this area. It’s a kind of a strange thing to brag about—it’s more like holding the world record for longest leg hair than it is being the world’s strongest man.
  • Love algorithms and algorithm design.

Personal Trivia:

  • My first contribution is a major FOSS project happened quite late in life. I fixed a bug in ANTLR4 by deleting a single character (a ;). About a year later, I made another contribution: I added a missing import, a total of 13 characters, thereby increasing my contribution to ANTLR4 by a factor of -13! My most recent FOSS pull request is to Soufflé, a cousin of Prolog popular with PL nerds. It adds 10 characters, but removes 6. I don’t know what this says about me.

I have a lot of interesting ideas for Rust, but I don’t know enough about the current state of development or internal conversations to know which of them are viable and which are ridiculous. In any case, one should generally start small at the beginning, and I’m like to chat with someone about what that might look like for me.

While I have your attention, I’d like to say thank you for being such a friendly and welcoming community. It is hard for me to imagine myself writing a note like this to almost any other major FOSS internals forum.

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Hello Robert.

Welcome to our community, and thank you for your interest in Rust!

If you would like to talk synchronously about what areas (there are many, from work on IDEs, to language design, to development of new features, to specification of the language, and so on…) you’d be interested in contributing to there are two principal places to do so:

  • on Discord where the language team and other teams reside,
  • on Zulip in which the compiler team resides, and associated working groups.
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