Posts Tagged conference
So a quick recap of the good and bad during the first day of the 2011 Clojure Conj.
Lets start with the good:
- A fantastic talk by Arnoldo Muller-Molina on using Clojure in some very interesting bioinformatics problems.
- Two very interesting talks on logic programming, one by Ambrose on Clojure’s core.logic, another less formal talk by William Byrd and Dan Friedman (two of the authors of the Reasoned Schemer, which I really need to read) on minikanren, which included writing a program to write 50 functions that return 6 (though I think it would have been more useful had it found functions that returned 42…).
- I finally got my print copy of Clojure In Action (which I ordered as part of Manning’s early access program when the book was still in Beta… just over 18 months ago).
- A great talk by the precocious Anthony Grimes on Clojail.
- A lot of people I talked to are using Clojure not just for hobby development, but in their day jobs as well.
- The Sheraton seems very capable of handling the size of the crowd.
But of course there were a few negatives as well.
- Ragweed is in season and I really should have started taking allergy pills a few days ago. And by the sneezes I heard behind me, I wasn’t the only one.
- Parking in the lot is a tad bit expensive for those of us not staying at the hotel (though of course I didn’t have to travel, so I can’t complain about cost too much).
- Lunch was, well, less than inspired. I mean come on, make your own sandwiches? I can make those at home and bring it with me…
- No bagpipes (yet…).
All in all, a very good first day.
So today was, lets say Day 0 of Strange Loop. Aside from some hiccups on the plane to St Louis regarding a very important part of the plane (we were delayed for half an hour while they fixed the flushing mechanism in the lavatory), things have gone well. The actual conference begins tomorrow, but today were the optional workshops and, of course, was the day most people arrived for the conference proper. Let me preface this post by stating that the rooftop bar is very nice. Where else can you drink Scotch while discussing the uptake of Clojure within business software companies with some of the smartest people in the industry? But as a warning, that might impact the quality of this post…
Anyway, I had signed up for only one workshop, Nathan Marz’s Cascalog workshop. Cascalog is a Clojure based library for data processing with Hadoop. Think SQL on steroids. I have interests in both Clojure and Hadoop, and yet don’t have too much experience with databases, so it was an obvious session for me to sign up for. It was a three hour workshop, but at the start Nathan warned he was used to giving similar workshops for around 9 hours so this one might be a little rushed. I had initially laughed, thinking 3 hours sounded like a long time, but it definitely was rushed. Yet we learned quite a lot. Cascalog definitely is a powerful library which I will certainly play around with later. I was very impressed with the quality of the queries that could be made with what seemed very intuitive Clojure code, not the convoluted nonsense many SQL queries end up as.
Tomorrow comes the hard part though, choosing between several very different, yet very interesting talks that are scheduled at the same time. In fairness to the conference planners, with the number of talks that look interesting it would have been mathematically impossible for them to schedule everything so I could attend everything that I wanted. But still, as Alan Dipert of Relevance said, the thing I am least looking forward to is having to choose between talks. I just hope enough will be recorded that I will be able to watch the ones I miss later.