This article is published in the January 2016 issue.

2016 Conference at Snowbird Preliminary Program

snowbird graphic

Cliff Lodge, Snowbird Resort, Utah

The biennial CRA Conference at Snowbird is the flagship invitation-only conference for the leadership of the North American computing research community.

Invitees: Computer science, computer engineering, and information technology department chairs; assistant, associate, and prospective chairs; directors of graduate or undergraduate education; directors of industry or government research labs/centers; and professional society or government leaders in computing.

The conference site: The Snowbird Resort is located in the Wasatch Mountains about 30 miles from Salt Lake City. A top-rated ski resort in the winter, off-season at Snowbird offers hiking amidst beautiful scenery.

This year at Snowbird:The 2016 CRA Snowbird conference will kick-off with a plenary conversation between John Markoff, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who covers science and technology for The New York Times, and University of Washington professor Ed Lazowska. A second plenary will feature Jessica Hodgins, professor in the Robotics Institute and Computer Science Department at CMU. Panel sessions will include topics ranging from “Smart Cities” to “Computing’s Place in the University to the Future of Work.” A major focus of the conference will be booming enrollments, with a short plenary followed by parallel sessions devoted to the topic, its various ramifications, and ideas to help you deal with it, including best practices for managing growth. The meeting will also feature a view into computing and Washington from CRA’s Government Affairs Director Peter Harsha, and short after-dinner talks on computing research futures. New this year, we will facilitate book discussion groups over coffee.

In addition to the conference, a workshop for new department chairs will be co-chaired by Stephanie Forrest, University of New Mexico, and Martha Pollack, University of Michigan, on July 17. There will be several hours of free time for networking, mingling, hiking, or hanging out and enjoying the gorgeous environment.

Below is a preliminary program that will continue to be updated on the CRA website as additional information becomes available. Online registration will open on the CRA website in April 2016.

CRA Conference at Snowbird 2016 Preliminary Program

Sunday, July 17

3:00 – 5:45pm   New Chairs Workshop
This workshop will give new CS Department Chairs some of the skills to lead their organizations and work with Deans, Provosts, and Advisory Boards – the stuff they never told you in graduate school.

6:00 – 7:00pm   Welcome Reception

7:00 – 9:00pm   Dinner
Plenary Talk/Conversation 1
Speaker: John Markoff, New York Times, in conversation with Ed Lazowska, University of Washington

Monday, July 18

8:30 am – 10:00 am Plenary Talk 2
Speaker: Jessica Hodgins, Carnegie Mellon University and Disney Research

10:30 am – 12:00 pm Brief Plenary Followed by Breakouts into Parallel Tracks – Booming Enrollments
Changing Student Motivations and Profiles
Best Practices for Managing Large Enrollments
Diversity in the Era of Booming Enrollments

Noon – 1:30 Lunch

1:30 – 3:00pm Parallel Tracks
CS Backlash
Extracurricular Temptations  – Hackathons, Innovation Contests, etc.
CS Education Research as CS Research

3:30 – 5:00pm     Networking Activities

6:30 – 9:00pm     Dinner
After dinner research talks— Organized by the Computing Community Consortium

Tuesday, July 19

8:30 – 10:00 am Reading Group Breakouts – organized discussions based on pre-selected books. Send ideas for books to Ellen Zegura ( 

10:30 – 12:00pm  Parallel Tracks
Data Science
Department Rankings
Bio/3D/Sustainable Materials

Noon – 1:30 Lunch

1:30 – 3:00pm Parallel Tracks
Schools and Colleges of Computing
Future of Work
Smart Cities

3:30 – 5:00pm Plenary Talk 3 – Policy 

5:30 – 6:30pm TBD