SIGCSE 2010 Report

So, a few weeks ago, I went to SIGCSE 2010.  You already heard about my travel issues getting there.  On the way, I made it to Minneapolis.  From Minneapolis, we made it to Madison, where we circled, and eventually to Detroit.  This was not my destination, Milwaukee.  I spent the night on the floor of the Detroit airport.  This marks the 3rd time that I’ve had an airport sleepover.  The others were Chicago, and Manchester, UK (where I paid for a hotel room since I had almost 24 hours to spend there).

Instead of arriving on Wednesday night, I arrived on Thursday morning.  This caused me to miss the first keynote speaker, but after a nap, I still made it to lunch.  On Thursday we had the first timer’s lunch.  I was attending as an “old-timer.”  All of the committee members did this, and we shared our wisdom with the first timers.

After that, I mostly just attended sessions. Thursday evening, I went out and had drinks with some of my colleagues from Miami. Friday, more sessions, and a Yoga class at Yama Yoga in Milwaukee.  Saturday morning, I lost my wallet. Luck for me, I lost it in the conference center, it was immediately found by security, and the conference chair has known me for 13 years (I got it back quickly).

I stayed late Saturday night for the committee handoff dinner, and then headed back to Seattle on Sunday morning. I arrived at the Milwaukee airport at like 4:25am, 5 minute before the security lines even opened. My flight to Minneapolis was quick, and then from Minneapolis to Seattle, our plane was upgraded to an A330 (quite a bigger plane). The best part about this, free on-demand movies! By Sunday afternoon, I was home and then practicing Yoga at Shakti.

So – conference summary. There was an increased presence of parallel computing papers and sessions. This was a welcome development. As someone who interviews a lot of candidates, I don’t see enough people with good parallel / multi-threaded programming skills. When I (hopefully some day soon) make it back to academics, I will consider some of the parallel first approaches to programming.

Mostly, I enjoyed being in the conference environment again. This was the first major conference that I’ve been to since OOPSLA 2007 (Montreal). I will be back at SIGCSE 2011 (I am the conference Webmaster again). Our Web site is up and running already, visit us at http://www.sigcse.org/sigcse2011/.

All of my pictures from SIGCSE 2010 are on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/39245109@N05/sets/72157623597468116/

The Downsides of Travel

I left Seattle 16 hours ago, but I’m still not in Milwaukee.  My first flight arrived on time, I enjoyed my first visit to Minneapolis.  Second flight took off on time, but then we started circling.  We spent about 45 minutes circling above madison Wisconsin, only to find out that we can’t land in Milwaukee.  It was too foggy there, and the transponder on the ground was, well, broken.  So they fired up the engines, and we headed to Detroit.   We landed in Detroit around 11:30pm (EST at this point).   Luckily, they are going to turn the plan around at 8:30 am and try again for Milwaukee. With the time difference, we should get there just after 8:30am.

Now, I just have to see if the shuttle agency honors my reservation and payment from last night.  And, more importantly, see if my luggage arrives.  I was forced to check my luggage at the last minute due to the overhead bins being full.  I just want to put this out there for the airlines: I would give up the privilege of carrying on a bag, if you let me check it for free.  Just saying.

And now to McDonald’s.  Delta gave out meal vouchers, good for $7 towards breakfast at the airport.  McDonald’s was the first to open this morning, so I went there. I ordered a meal that should have been about $5.  After getting my food, and looking at the receipt, I saw that they had upsized my meal to get it as close to $7 as possible.  They made my meal a large and added an extra hash brown.  I don’t know if they do this to everyone, but one or all, it is unethical.  Sorry McDonald’s, I’ll be calling your corporate office and Delta’s corporate office when I get a chance.  This behavior is not truthful and is not ethical.  If it is a one time thing, great, now you know it happened.  It it is systematic, then I hope you will address it.

Ok – back to setting in the airport.

SIGCSE 2010

For the last 15 or so months, I’ve been the Webmaster for SIGCSE 2010 (http://www.sigcse.org/sigcse2010).  SIGCSE stands for the Special Interest Group on Computer Science Education.  Most of my publications are in the computer science education area, so I’m excited to be able to go.  I’ve never actually had a publication at SIGCSE, but have had 2 conference papers at ITICSE 2007 (associated conference) and have had a publication in the SIGCSE bulletin.

Since I do hope to shift my career back to academics at some point, I’m also going to be on the look out for CS departments that are hiring. Maybe there is a need for someone with my background 🙂

Being the Webmaster for a conference is a lot of work. Requests for updates come from a lot of different people, and there is just a lot of information to collect, parse, format, and post (all at the right times). Apparently I enjoyed doing it, because I am performing the same role next year.  I’ve already go the 2011 site up and running, http://www.sigcse.org/sigcse2011.

I’ve got a full Yoga schedule tonight, but I’ll be flying out tomorrow and enjoying the west of the week at the symposium! I’ve even found a Yoga class to check out when I’m in Milwaukee.