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Communications of the ACM


Wrapping up OOPSLA, Looking Forward For SPLASH

Just like all  good things, OOPSLA 2009 concluded last Thursday evening (29th Oct) . This was my first OOPSLA and I enjoyed every moment of the conference. Excellent keynotes, great workshops, and cutting edge research are a few factors that arouse one's curious mind.  Following are a few noticeable differences from other conferences I've been to.

Excellent and well attended keynotes
Some of the conferences I've been to had noticeably weak responses to keynotes. It's completely the opposite for OOPSLA. Despite being early, the keynotes were literally packed and full of enthusiastic attendees that tweet, blog, and follow every word of the speaker. It was usual to forcefully conclude Q&A sessions! Interesting questions and insightful comments were in abundance. In my personal opinion this success is  due to both the high quality of the keynote speakers and also the enthusiasm of the attendees.

Great Location
What can be better than the middle of Disneyland to hold a conference! Indeed the facilities were very well organized. Extremely good wireless network and friendly staff are two other things that I appreciate. Orlando being a tourist destination, there are plenty of accommodation and transportation options even for cost-conscious attendees like me. I stayed outside the resort and took the bus everyday which I considered not to be an inconvenience. Another plus point for attendees who travelled with their spouses and children is the presence of the Disneyland right next door.

Industry participation
My previous experiences have been on  academic conferences. I was amazed at the industry participation in OOPSLA. Shail Arora, the conference chair, informed me that this time the industry participation is actually lower than other years, but even then it's more than any other I've been to. Not just industry research labs but even startups are sending their people to OOPSLA just to get a feel of what is the next breakthrough in computing. In my opinion the effect of such a blend of industry and academia is twofold. The academics get a feel of what are the important problems the industry is facing and the industry gets to know the breakthroughs made in academic research.

There has been a few changes in the future conferences. OOPSLA is going to be part of SPLASH (Systems, Programming, Languages. Applications: Software for Humanity) in 2010. Onward! has become a separate conference co-located with OOPSLA. Onward! is primarily a place for researchers to submit promising ideas that may not be quantified at this point, an important opening for a researcher indeed. Don't forget to check the SIGPLAN OOPSLA Webpage for more details and see you in Reno, Nevada, in 2010!


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