The history of programming languages shows a continuous search for new composition mechanisms to find better ways for structuring increasingly complex software systems into modules that can be developed and reused independently. Composition mechanisms can address various types of dependencies among modules, e.g., inheritance, delegation, aggregation, design patterns, contracts, explicit protocols, or domain-specific compositions.

However, most languages adopt a fixed set of composition mechanisms, usually with explicit notation and predefined semantics. In case a language does not provide any mechanisms with the desired compositional behavior, programmers may need to write workarounds or introduce the new composition mechanism through macros, libraries, frameworks or language extensions.

This workshop intends to stimulate research in programming languages and software development by exploring the notion that todays languages with their limited set of composition mechanisms is insufficient. Instead we should allow compositions that support more flexibility, adopt a wide variety of compositions, domain-specific and tailored compositions, or programmable compositions of various program artifacts.

3rd Workshop on Free Composition

SPLASH 2012, Tucson, Arizona, USA

Call for Participation

‘Free Composition’

In this workshop we want to investigate composition techniques that are ‘free’ in the sense that they are not fixed and limited by specific language or system designs. Instead we intend to explore the notion that languages should not offer a limited set of fixed composition mechanisms, but allow for flexibility, a wide variety of compositions, domain-specific and tailored compositions, or programmable compositions of various program artifacts.


FREECO is a one-day workshop, co-located with SPLASH in Tucson. The planned workshop agenda interleaves presentation of accepted papers and discussions to stimulate participants. We intend to solicit technical papers of up to 5 pages in ACM style. These papers will be peer-reviewed by the program committee. Accepted papers will be published in the workshop’s proceedings. Authors of papers that are not accepted for publication in the proceedings will be encouraged to shorten their paper into a position statement (see below).

We will allow participating in the workshop without an accepted or even submitted paper, to generate interest in the topic of the workshop. All participants of the workshop are encouraged to formulate a position statement of maximal one page ACM style. These position statements are not reviewed and not published in the workshop proceedings, but they will be made available on the workshop’s homepage before the workshop. All accepted papers will also be published in advance on the workshop homepage. Participants are encouraged to read all position statements and accepted papers before the workshop.

Workshop topics

Examples of topics targeted by this workshop include, but are not limited to:

  1. flexible, tailorable composition mechanisms

  2. unified techniques for expressing a wide range of compositions

  3. flexible and adaptable compositions

  4. new composition mechanisms

  5. new module systems

  6. modularity & modularization limitations and capabilities

  7. modularization & composability metrics

  8. tools and case studies

  9. techniques for expressing/introducing domain-specific compositions

  10. general concepts/theories underlying generic composition techniques

  11. languages that are extensible with new composition mechanisms

  12. conflict detection and/or resolution when combining composition mechanisms

  13. formal models for expressing generic or flexible composition mechanisms

  14. design techniques for supporting a wide range of composition mechanisms

Submission of workshop papers

We accept two types of papers:

  1. technical papers: up to 5 pages, these will be reviewed and selected for inclusion in the proceed-ings and (possible) presentation during the workshop.

  2. position papers: one page of position statement w.r.t. the workshop topic. Position papers are not reviewed by the program committee and will not be published formally, but (selected) position state-ments can be presented briefly during the workshop. Position papers can be submitted by e-mailing them to us: freeco@ewi_utwente_nl (replace underscores with dots).

All papers must be formatted according to the ACM SIG Proceedings style. Papers are to be submitted in PDF or Postscript format on EasyChair.


Authors of accepted technical and position papers are required to prepare a presentation of their work. These authors can choose between a traditional presentation of their research and discussion of their work in the style of a writer's workshop.

A traditional presentations is 30 minutes, followed by a question and answer session of 15 minutes.

The purpose of a writer's workshop is particularly to improve the quality of papers for submitting extended versions as conference papers in the future. We will follow this format, which is in short:

  1. Authors will present their paper as a lightning talk of at most three slides.

  2. All authors choosing the writer's workshop format are required to read and prepare all writer's workshop other papers; other participants are requested to read and prepare at least one such paper (but we strongly encourage them to read all).

  3. One or two participants familiar with the paper summarize it from their perspective. In the plenary discussion, the key points of the paper are supposed to be identified.

  4. Participants discuss what they liked, i.e., what are the strengths of the paper.

  5. Participants discuss constructive suggestions for improving the paper or the approach.

  6. The authors can ask questions to the other participants to clarify their statements.

  7. The discussion of a paper—including the authors presentation—in this format will be allocated a time slot of 45 minutes.