EMPEX, the Empire City Elixir Conference, is a sophisticated conference series for the Elixir programming language and ecosystem held in New York City. We bring a sense of aesthetic and fun to the growing Elixir community.

The Halloween Lightning Talks are an evening costume party featuring fun and several short technical talks. Costumes strongly encouraged.


EMPEX Halloween Lightning Talks will be held at Subculture, an initimate jazz club in Soho.

45 Bleecker St, New York City, 10012
Find it on Google Maps


We're excited to announce the following presentations for our first Lightning Talks!

David Antaramian

A Link to the Past: Messages from the Dead

In this talk, we will overview the principles of process messaging and how process monitors allow us to respond to failures elsewhere. In particular, we will be looking at the message a process broadcasts to monitors when it fails and how this can be used strategically for failure patterning instead of linking the processes together.

David is the organizer of the NYC Elixir meetup and a member of the EMPEX core team.

Chris Bell

Railway Programing With With

Using with to simplify complex control flow and implement railway oriented programming with Elixir.

Chris is an EMPEX organizer and developer at Made by Many. He regularly gives talks at local and national Elixir events.

Ben DiFrancesco

Elixir Through other Eyes: A Non-Rubyist's Take

The Elixir community has grown in leaps and bounds over the past couple of years. It's fair to say that much of this growth has come from Ruby developers eager to find something new. But as Elixir's popularity continues to rise, it has begun to attract attention from other language communities. To continue to grow and thrive, the budding Elixir community needs to welcome developers from other backgrounds and understand their perspectives.

What would a developer who learned Ruby and didn't really care for it (gasp!) think about Elixir? One who spends most days in an IDE, doesn't really mind the square bracket hellscape of Objective-C's syntax, and loves the strict, static type system of Swift?

In this short talk, you'll hear from one such developer. Beyond his experience learning Elixir, you'll hear his perspectives on what the community does well and how it might improve in attracting and welcoming developers from other programming communities.

Ben is an independent consultant from Philadelphia whose company, ScopeLift, delivers mobile development expertise with a data driven, business focused approach. Trained as an Aerospace Engineer, he has been developing software professionally for ten years, including at Boeing and for DARPA funded research programs. He loves exploring and fine-tuning software architectures and has a secret, slightly impractical love for learning about low level computing.

Andrew Hoglund

Realtime Music Collaboration

Overview of building a web application that allows for realtime collaborative music making using Phoenix Channels and the Web Audio API.

Andrew is a Senior Software Engineer and a professionally trained musician. He currently works at TuneCore, Inc. and regularly plays music around NYC.

David Newell

Using GraphQL for Your Elixir APIS

GraphQL, the API query language from Facebook, offers a lot of advantages over a RESTful API, including a queryable schema and built in support for custom queries. Come learn how to use GraphQL in Pheonix and your own projects. We will go over how to discover the functionality of a GraphQL API, advantages and disadvantages to REST and discuss the full set of CRUD operations, including efficiently querying related models.

David Newell first got into programming in the 4th grade. He had the opportunity to build a robot out of LEGOs and learned how to make the robot move through code. Since that experience, David has been continuously learning more about software and programming languages. Over the decades, he's has written some truly horrifying code, culminating an adding a macro system to JavaScript. This work has given a better appreciation of the work that goes into making an elegant language like Elixir.

Cameron Price

Hey Little Twelve Toes: Extending Elixir to support base-12 numbering

Learn why the base-12 numbering system makes life easier.

Cameron has been developing software since the 90's using many different languages and platforms, but especially C, C++, Java, and Ruby. In 2015 he discovered Elixir and the immutable paradigm. Since then, he's been joyfully unlearning his imperative object-oriented instincts, and embracing the world of functional programming. Cameron is currently the CTO of TRX.tv, and a director of Mint Digital and Boomf.com.

Jeff Smith

Characterizing Intelligence with Elixir

Artificial intelligence systems can be much harder to reason about than deterministic systems. During the development and operations of an AI, you must continually make inferences about it behavior under different circumstances, because sufficiently sophisticated AI systems are simply too complex for even their developers to fully characterize from source code alone. Ultimately, the behavior of an AI is an emergent property of its implementation and use.

This talk will show how tools and technologies from the BEAM ecosystem can address this unique challenge in constructing AIs: how to understand what you've built. Examples will be shown in Elixir, using Dialyzer and Concuerror.

Jeff Smith builds large-scale artificial intelligence systems. For the past decade, he has been working on data science applications at various startups in New York, San Francisco, and Hong Kong. Now, he leads the data engineering team behind Amy, the artificial intelligence who schedules meetings at x.ai. He is a frequent speaker, blogger, and the author of Reactive Machine Learning Systems, an upcoming book on how to build real world machine learning systems using functional programming, the actor model, and cartoon animals.


Doors will open at 6:30pm with talks beginning around 7:15. The party will run until 10pm with light food, beer, and wine served throughout.



David Antaramian

Chris Bell

Troy Denkinger

Lisa Denkinger

Andy McCown

Lee Nussbaum

Cameron Price