Haha I found a fairly informative, if sloppily written, M.Sc. thesis on my current research interest du jour—static reasoning of memory usage and memory structure. This quote somehow both saddened and excited me:

Though there is early work to be found in the 1970’s, the progress on memory aware reasoning has been surprisingly slow as [Reynolds, 2002] notes:

It can be discouraging to go back and read the “future directions” section of old papers, and to realize how few of the future directions have been successfully pursued. It will be fortunate if half of the ideas and suggestions in this section bear fruit. In the meantime, however, the field is young, the game’s afoot, and the possibilities are tantalizing.

I suppose it shouldn’t be terribly surprising. Programming language research can be a bit tricky at times, what with undecidability and all. Researching a fruitless area has the potential to provide something beyond incremental footnotes. It also has the potential to offer a ten-year Ph.D. with no publications. Which one will it be?