The paper by CSE students and professors (Jason Ott, Tyson Loveless, Chris Curtis, Mohsen Lesani, Philip Brisk) published in OOPSLA 2018 is recognized as a SIGPLAN Research Highlight: BioScript: Programming Safe Chemistry on Laboratories-on-a-chip
Laboratories on a chip (LoCs) can be seen as the ‘general-purpose’ CPU of microfluidic devices. This paper describes the design and implementation of “BioScript”, a programming language for LoCs that allows biochemists to express microfluid experiments as programs. This research exemplifies the use of techniques from programming language theory and practice in order to satisfy the constraints imposed by these systems while producing a language that is fit for its purpose. This includes designing a type systems that helps prevent scientists from accidentally causing unsafe chemical reactions that could damage the lab itself or produce toxic gas.
The authors demonstrate that as more platforms require programming — increasingly by non-computer scientists — the creative mix and application of well-studied theory can provide meaningful design guidance.