Computer Science Events

Oct 5

CS Tea Talk Series

Dan Callahan ('08, Geology) will be giving a talk.

Thursday, October 5th, 2017
4:00 – 5:00 pm / CMC 209

TITLE: Efficient browser-based general purpose computing with WebAssembly


WebAssembly is a general purpose, low-level format for programs on the Web which represents the first standardized, cross-browser alternative to JavaScript since its introduction over 21 years ago. WebAssembly was created to address performance and capability limitations inherent in JavaScript's high-level design: we needed something lower-level that compilers for languages like C, C++, and Rust could use to target the Web in the same way that they target Windows, macOS, or Linux. In addition to performance gains, this creates a path for the direct re-use of existing libraries on the Web. For example, the canonical "Web" ports of Box2d (physics), OpenCV (computer vision), and Sass (CSS preprocessing) are based on the WebAssembly toolchain, while major game engines like Unity and Unreal now offer the ability to export to WebAssembly.

This demo-heavy talk looks at WebAssembly from a practical, applied perspective, answering why it was created, how it works, and when you should consider using it.


Dan Callahan ('08, Geology) is a Staff Engineer in Developer Relations at Mozilla, where he acts as an educator and liaison between external developers and internal product teams. His focus is on emerging, fundamental technologies and their implications for the Web as a platform. Previously, he helped lead the Mozilla Persona team, which created a browser-based alternative to passwords built on public key cryptography.

Sponsored by Computer Science. Contact: Sue Jandro, x4360