SYSTEM.OUT - My Experience at CUSEC 2013
N.B. A revised version of this post can be found on my blog.
On January 17th, I attended CUSEC 2013 (Canadian University Software Engineering Conference) in Montreal. Initially, I was interested in going to hear a talk given by my friend and mentor, Gail Carmichael– not to mention the chance to meet notable people in the software industry.
Delegates, organizers, and presenters
The unofficial theme of the first day seemed to be "visualizing data." One of the speakers I was most excited about was Ben Fry, one of the co-founders of the Processing language. I've used Processing before, and Fry used several live examples of Processing programs being used to visualize information. Perhaps a description from the processing website tells it best:
"Processing is an open source programming language and environment for people who want to create images, animations, and interactions. Initially developed to serve as a software sketchbook and to teach fundamentals of computer programming within a visual context."
Me and Gail, waiting for the next talk
Continuing the theme of visualizing data, the next talk was from the San Francisco-based company Palantir. Their mission is to simplify the process of analysing large or complex data sets, by using tools to visualize it in a more human-readable way. In the hour-long software demonstration, a live demonstration of Palanir's software was used to map E. Coli outbreaks across the United States. By adding data to the map, the user was able to locate the specific meat-distribution plant that was the source of the outbreak. It should be evident that this method is both faster and potentially more accurate that other means of tracking the outbreak.
Overall, it was a great conference, and introduced me to the cool things that people are building with software. I had a great time and learned quite a bit - from the speakers, representatives from software companies, and students from other Canadian university. I hope to volunteer with planning CUSEC 2014, and would recommend the experience to other computer science or software eng students.
- Liz Allen