Subscribe to our Erlang Factory newsletter to receive the latest updates and news

Mike Williams
Co-inventor of Erlang
Ericsson AB

Mike is originally from South Wales, but has in fact lived in Sweden longer than he has anywhere else.
Way back in the 1960's after working as a Atheistic Missionary in Malawi, Mike went to Cambridge where he learnt a lot about drinking beer and rather less about "Mechanical Sciences". He then moved to Sweden in 1970 (guess why :-) and joined Ericsson as a hardware designer. The price of beer in Sweden being horrendously expensive enabled Mike to concentrate more on other things, He joined with Bjarne D├Ącker to found the Ericsson Computer Science Laboratory 1980. One of the things they did in the Computer Science lab was to "invent" Erlang. Mike's role was to develop the first  Erlang virtual machine  (Joe developed the compiler and machine  architecture). He worked out the primitives for fault handling and  dynamic code replacement
In 1990 Mike glided into management by a complete accident,  and found he rather liked it. Since then he has been in charge of both large  and small units within Ericsson which develop software.


Mike Williams is Giving the Following Talks
Small is Beautiful

The keynote will be about the two approaches used for software development today. Either as large (LARGE) projects with a lot of organization and lots of people (sometimes hundreds) using standard technology (C++, Java, UML etc), or by a small  (SMALL) number of highly competent people using advanced technology (Erlang, Haskell, OCaml etc).
There are cases where LARGE may be necessary, for example in developing software for cellular (mobile) base stations. But for a lot of cases, the SMALL approach is both cheaper and faster. If you look at the presentations at Erlang user conferences/factories, you see that all applications described use the SMALL approach. The LARGE approach will inevitably result in outsourcing software development to countries where labor costs are cheaper, we see already that companies like IBM and Ericsson do a lot of their software development in India and China. If we want to keep a vibrant software development (programming) business in the West (North America and Western Europe) we need to exploit the SMALL approach and also expand it to areas where the LARGE approach is used today. In other words, we need technologies such as Erlang and highly skilled and competent people to exploit them.
After working as a manager (without pointy hair) for more than 20... years, Mike will also offer some advice about what not to tell your managers.