Problems worthy of attack prove their worth by hitting back. —Piet Hein

Friday, 8 November 2019

Bristech 2019

Yesterday I went to Bristech. What a great conference! It’s one day, three tracks.

The thing I like about it is the variety of the talks. It’s not organized around a single programming language or technology, so it’s easy to go to talks outside your usual sphere of interest (it’s quite hard not to). I went to talks about MLOps (keynote by Luke Marsden), the Language Server Protocol (by Krzysztof Cieślak), a reactive JS compiler called Svelte (by Peter Allen), accessibility (by Svetlana Kouznetsova), Cloud Native ML (by Ant Kennedy), and building autonomous Mars rovers (by Mark Woods). I gave a talk on Single Cell data and algorithms (thanks to Steve Loughran for suggesting I submit it, as well as live tweeting it!).

Nic Hemley and the other organizers put a lot of work into lots of small details that made the day more memorable. To name a few: the Icelandic thunder clap; caterpillar and butterfly stickers to encourage attendees to talk to each other; lunchtime music and visuals; cinema popcorn. 

As a speaker I was very impressed by the care taken by track chairs on the speaker intros. Speakers were asked beforehand to fill in a short “interview” document, which chairs then used to write an intro for each speaker. My track chair was Hannah Smith who was also very good at gently reminding people in the Q&A session to ask questions rather than give their opinions. So we didn’t have any “this is more of a comment than a question” style ramblings, which I’m sure everyone was pleased about.

And the Watershed is a very nice venue, even if it gets “night club busy” between talks.

Great conference. Highly recommended.

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