Coding Horror

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See You at CUSEC 2008

I have the distinct honor of speaking at this year's CUSEC, which runs from today until Saturday.

CUSEC 2008 logo

So what, exactly, is CUSEC?

CUSEC is the Canadian University Software Engineering Conference, an annual conference about the most interesting topics in software engineering organized for and by students from universities across Canada. What makes CUSEC unique is that it is the only software specific conference that targets students. This means that the presentations you'll see at CUSEC will be about things that matter to you, not just things that matter to professional developers. That doesn't mean that the speakers we get are nobodies, either. Past speakers include David Lorge Parnas, Kathy Sierra, Ralph Johnson, Kent Beck, Alistair Cockburn, Dave Thomas, and many more.

They weren't kidding about the impressive speaker list. This year's keynote speakers are:

It's hard to shake the feeling that one of these things is not like the others, but I suppose the conference organizers had their reasons for inviting me, however crazy those reasons may seem to me.To provide a sense of history, the CUSEC keynote speakers from 2007:

And the CUSEC keynote speakers for 2006.

I think you get the idea, so there's no need to list the 2005 speakers. It's an honor to be among such distinguished speakers. How distinguished? Many of these folks have their own Wikipedia entries! I had the opportunity to meet Tim Bray today, for example. Since 2004, CUSEC has grown into the premier conference by computer science students, for computer science students-- across the whole of Canada. It's too bad there isn't an equivalent student-run conference for American computer science students.

This is also my first trip to Canada. After many years of wanting to visit our northern neighbors, I've finally made it. I have to agree with William Gibson; as he wrote in his book Spook Country, Canadian cities look the way American cities do on television. I'm enjoying Montreal and the Canadian perspective on life tremendously. It's refreshing, although I am not sure I needed the televised Capital One Grand Slam of Curling.

I wasn't able to find any video archives of previous CUSEC keynotes, but I was told by Edward Ocampo-Gooding, our keynote host, that they're capturing hi-def video of this year's keynotes. Assuming my talk isn't a total disaster, I'll update this post with a link to my keynote when it is available.

Update: 1/11/09 Video of my CUSEC keynote is now available.

Update: 1/23/08 My CUSEC 2008 keynote slides, "Is Writing More Important Than Programming?", are available for local download (ppt, 3mb).

Written by Jeff Atwood

Indoor enthusiast. Co-founder of Stack Exchange and Discourse. Disclaimer: I have no idea what I'm talking about. Find me here: