Outsourcing Our Snowbird Coverage
So, having caught my breath a bit after a long few days at CRA’s biennial Snowbird “Chairs’ Conference,” I was just setting out to write up a post with some of the highlights of the conference when I saw that Cameron Wilson of ACM’s Technology Policy Blog had already beaten me to the punch. Cameron’s summary of Rick Rashid’s talk today on bringing the romance back to computer science is right on target and well worth reading…so the first thing you should probably do is go there.
In addition to Rashid’s talk, the other keynotes/plenaries were also very good. Genevieve Bell, Director of Domestic Designs and Technologies Research at Intel, gave a wonderful keynote speech drawing upon her experience as an anthropologist helping Intel understand the needs of its customers. She highlighted the incredibly varied ways different cultures make use of technologies, pointing out how these uses illustrate a whole range of different computing futures. (Her slides, as well as all the others, will be available here as soon as they’re posted.)
As Cameron mentioned, Ed Lazowska laid out the opportunities and challenges ahead for computing — pointing out the unique opportunity the President’s American Competitiveness Initiative presents and the reasons to be optimistic and energized by the intellectual challenges and career opportunities in the field. Ed’s talk (slides available here) helped provide themes that speakers referenced in many of the sessions that followed.
Dan Reed’s “State of Computing” talk was also very effective, I thought, (and not just because he’s CRA’s Chair and my boss) laying out the essential role of computing as an intellectual lever and discussing the need for the computing community to engage in grand visioning and find a compelling, unified voice. When his slides are up, I’ll post the link right here because they’re worth reviewing.
All in all, I hope the attendees left the conference today feeling more energized about the discipline — reminded of the intellectual richness of the field, the promise of the work, the improving budget climate, and with a clearer sense the true opportunities (growing opportunities) in the field — to arrive back at their home institutions more optimistic than ever about the future of computing.