Mike Williams

Mike Williams

Erlang Co-Inventor

After leaving school in Wales, Milke worked as a school teacher in Malawi. He wasn’t a very good teacher, so he returned to Cambridge where he completed an engineering degree. He moved to Stockholm (with his Swedish wife) where he got a job working for Ericsson, the telecommunications giant. He had many jobs at Ericsson, starting as a hardware developer making him one of the few people who to design and implemented a computer from basic chips! Having developed a computer, the next stage was to program it, so he slipped into software development, eventually co-founding the Ericsson Computer Science laboratory. His principle achievement as co-inventor of Erlang was the implementation of the first Erlang virtual machine and the error handling constructs in Erlang's concurrency model. From applied research, he slipped into management of both small and large business units which developed and maintained software, both in Erlang and other technologies. Building and managing good teams for software development is, perhaps, the most important aspect for any non trivial development. It is what he is going to speak about.

Past Activities

Fred Hebert / Mike Williams
Code BEAM V Europe
21 May 2021
15.20 - 16.00

If at first you don't succeed, try again smarter

Mike has seen it all begin, from the early Erlang experiments, down to its ban from Ericsson, until it rose from its ashes like a phoenix. Fred joined the community later, on the first hype wave following WhatsApp's early successes, slowly making a place for itself in cloud software. Together they've seen Erlang and other BEAM technologies successfully adopted, but also have seen them fail or be abandoned. In this presentation, Mike and Fred source from their experience to offer insights about the challenges you will encounter and mistakes that can be avoided when trying to push your workplace to use new technologies, where good tech is not enough to succeed.

Bjarne Däcker / Mike Williams / Robert Virding / Garrett Smith
Code BEAM V America
12 Mar 2021
09.05 - 10.05

History and philosophy of Erlang with its creators

Garrett Smith will host a fireside chat with Erlang co-inventors Mike Williams and Robert Virding, and the co-founder and former head of the Ericsson Computer Science Lab Bjarne Dacker. In his fireside, Garrett will be exploring the Erlang rationale, understanding how to drive innovation aimed at solving specific problems, and moving the results from a research institution to a commercial entity. As with previous fireside chats with Erlang-co inventors, expect lots of nuggets, anecdotes and stories explaining how, 30 years on, Erlang is still leading the way in the space of concurrency, distributed programming, resilience and scale. 

Bjarne Däcker / Mike Williams / Robert Virding
11 Sep 2020
17.00 - 17.40

Ask me anything about creating Erlang

Open meeting with Erlang Creators. Unmute yourself and ask the guest any question about his work you like. 

Bjarne Däcker / Mike Williams / Robert Virding
10 Sep 2020
16.45 - 17.25

Ask me anything about creating Erlang

Open meeting with Erlang Creators. Unmute yourself and ask the guest any question about his work you like. 

Mike Williams
Code BEAM Lite Milan 2018
06 Apr 2018
09.15 - 09.55

The winning team

The Erlang ecosystem enables rapid prototyping, you can quickly try out different approaches to hard problems and architectures. Every software project is different and it is vital to iron out the difficulties, performance bottle-necks and architectural issues as early as possible Are you starting from scratch or have you done something like this before? Who do you have who can do the work? What experience do they have with the programming tools? Do you have too many or too few developers? Are at least some of them knowledgeable about the domain you are working in? Is there a firm specification or are you designing through prototyping? Starting with a small team, how are you going to let it grow while maintaining a consistent architecture and design philosophy.

This talk will focus on the the human aspects of introducing the Erlang ecosystem in product development teams. Getting a good team together working with an architecture and development philosophy they all accept is essential, and probably the biggest challenge you will face. With that in place, everything else will follow.