TITLE: A Weekend in Portland AUTHOR: Eugene Wallingford DATE: May 09, 2006 9:19 AM DESC: ----- BODY: OOPSLA 2006 logo I was in Portland this weekend for the spring meeting of the OOPSLA 2006 conference committee. This is the meeting where we assemble the program for the conference, from technical papers to lightning talks to invited and keynote talks, from Onward! to the Educators' Symposium to DesignFest, from workshops to area of responsibility this year, tutorials. It looks like we will have 57 tutorials this year, covering a range of topics in the OOP community and out in the industrial software development community. It's a tough job to assemble the elements of such a program, which ranges over five days and encompasses affiliated events like GPCE and, for the first time ever this year, PLoP. Trying to schedule events in such a way as to minimize the number of times conference attendees say, "Rats! There are two things I want to see right now. In the session before lunch, there were none!" I suppose that, in some way, we'd be happy if every session created a conflict for attendees, but I'm not sure the attendees would like it so much! As I've done in the past when chairing the 2004 and 2005 Educators' Symposia, I owe a great debt to my program committee of seven OOPSLA veterans. They did most of the heavy lifting in reading and evaluating all of the submissions we received. I had to make some tough calls at the end, but their input made that doable. Some highlights from the weekend: PDX, the Portland International Airport, has free wireless -- with better coverage than promised. Hurray! Why is Onward! is a must-see? So that you can "cool your pinkies in the mud of the future". Maybe it's a must-see because the chairs of Onward! are the kind of people who say such things. I'm especially looking forward to Onward! films, which I had to step out of last year. I am not sure that my students are ready for a web page about me that looks like this pictorial biography of past OOPSLA chair Douglas Schmidt. My favorite is this take on the old cartoon standard about the evolution of man:
the evolution of a programmer
You may recall me commenting on a particular sign I saw while running in Portland back at the fall meeting. Doesn't it always rain in Portland? Maybe not, it rained again both nights and mornings I was there this time. It was nice enough when I arrived Friday evening, if cool, and the sun had poked through the clouds Monday afternoon -- as we left. At least it didn't rain on me while I ran. Unfortunately, I was only able to run my first morning in town. It was my first 12-miler in eight weeks or so, and felt pretty good. But, just as I did the second day at SIGCSE and the second day at ChiliPLoP I came down with some sort of respiratory thing that sapped all of my energy. So I took today off, and probably will tomorrow, too, just to get back to normal. I have a feeling that I won't be bragging about my mileage the year like I did at the end of 2005... I'm beginning to wonder about the pattern and what I can do make air travel workable again for me. I won't have a chance to test any hypothesis I develop until October, when I go to PLoP and OOPSLA. Finally, on a less frivolous note, we spent a few minutes on Monday morning to plan a memorial for John Vlissides, whose passing I memorialized last winter. We want this memorial to be a celebration of all the ways John touched the lives of everyone he met. In an e-mail conversation last week, 2006 Educators' Symposium chair Rick Mercer pointed out a picture of John and me that I didn't know about from John's wiki, courtesy of Dragos Manolescu.
John Vlissides and Eugene Wallingford at the 2001 post-OOPSLA Hillside meeting
I remember that moment clearly. It has an OOPSLA connection, too, because it was taken at the annual fall meeting of the Hillside Group, which traditionally takes place the evening and morning after OOPSLA. (I've missed the last two, because the night OOPSLA ends is the traditional celebration dinner for the conference committee, and I've been eager to get home to see my family after a week on the round.) John and I were part of a break-out group at that Hillside meeting on the topic of how to create a larger world in which to publish some of the work coming out of the PLoPs. Most academic conferences are places to publish novel work, and most pattern work is by definition not all that new -- it documents patterns we see in many existing code bases. The pattern as a literary work and teaching tool is itself novel, but that's just not what academic program conference committees are looking for. Anyway, John and I were brainstorming. I don't remember what we produced in that session, but my clueless expression indicates that at that particular moment John was the one producing. That is not too surprising. yet he made me feel like an equal partner in the work. I guess I didn't hurt his impression of me too much. When he became general chair of OOPSLA 2004, he asked me to get involved with the conference committee for the first time, as his Educators' Symposium chair. Good memories. Thanks for the pointer to the photo, Rick. And thanks, Dragos, for taking the photo and sharing it. -----