Each semester we will be reading papers from the top conferences on programming languages. Our seminars happen once each two weeks. At every meeting, a student will be leading the discussion, introducing some of the ideas in the paper, and mostly, asking questions to the audience, to set grounds for discussion. Eamonn Keogh has a comprehensive checklist that we can use as a guideline for reading the paper. By the way, I recommend also Keogh et al's slides on how to do research.
This is another bi-weekly meeting that we have in our lab, which alternates with the seminars. These meetings are much more practical though. Each other week we will try to get together and learn a little about some particular programming language. Good candidates are those languages listed in the tiobe webpage. These meetings will help us to get more acquainted with programming languages, the most important tool of our trade. So, at every meeting we will be trying to answer a couple of questions about the programming language under analysis. So far we have discussed languages such as ML, Haskell, Ruby, Lua, etc.
Once a week we will be meeting to discuss compiler optimization related stuff. These are very tool oriented discussions. We will be analyzing compiler frameworks such as llvm and TraceMonkey, plus tools like valgrind and gprof.
Twice a year (preferable on vacations), we hold a seminar to discuss emerging research trends on software engineering. We take this opportunity to present our ongoing work and share our results.