Graduate Student Jinwoo Kim Wins POPL Student Research Competition

By John Mak

Jinwoo Kim, a graduate student in programming languages in the Department of Computer Sciences at UW-Madison, has won the 2020 Symposium on Principles of Programming Languages (POPL) Student Research Competition (SRC) with his paper entitled, “Proving Unrealizability for Imperative Syntax-Guided Synthesis Problems”. Along with an award, Kim also won $500 and a one-year complimentary Association of Computing Machinery (ACM) student membership, including a subscription to ACM’s digital library.

Kim’s advisor at UW is Loris D’Antoni, and Professor Thomas Reps and graduate student Qinheping Hu also collaborated on this work.

Furthermore, Kim will be invited to participate in the ACM SRC Grand Finals, an online round of competitions among the winners of other conference-hosted SRCs. Kim, along with all the other grand finalists and their advisors, will also be invited to the Annual ACM Awards Banquet for an all-expenses-paid trip, where he will be recognized for his accomplishment along with other prestigious ACM award winners, including the winner of the Turing Award (also known as the Nobel Prize of Computing).

“My work for the POPL SRC is, as the title suggests, about program synthesis – more specifically, we’re trying to synthesize Python-like programs that satisfy some goal, which has been difficult for a number of reasons,” says Kim. “Another key aspect of the work is that it also tries to check if the synthesis problem is solvable – there are cases where no program that matches the goal exist, and we’re trying to identify those cases while looking for a solution (program). I felt good about winning the award particularly because it showed that a lot of people were interested in our work, even though it was quite theoretical,” Kim added.

Congratulations to Kim, and best of luck in the ACM Grand Finals!