CUSEC 2010: Montreal, January 21 – 23

CUSEC 2010 logo

For the latter half of this week, I’ll be at CUSEC – the Canadian University Software Engineering Conference – the annual Montreal-based conference by and for Canadian university students interested in topics on software development and engineering. For a conference that’s aimed at students, it punches above its weight class, having hosted some big name speakers including:

This year’s speaker list is pretty good. Among them are:

  • Douglas Crockford, Senior JavaScript Architect at Yahoo!.  If you truly want to understand JavaScript, listen to this guy! When people were dismissing JavaScript as a toy language – a strange concept in these Ajax-powered days, but this really was the case – he wrote articles like JavaScript: The Wrrrld’s Most Misunderstood Programming Language and other must-read pieces, all of which live at He’s also the author of the book JavaScript: The Good Parts, which is required reading for web developers. I had the pleasure of meeting him and seeing him speak at the Ajax Experience conference in Boston in 2006, and he’s both a great presenter and guy to hang out with at apres-conference events.
  • Greg Wilson, Assistant Professor at U of T. Greg is many things: much-sought-after provider to academic advice and support at U of T, co-editor of Beautiful Code, DemoCamp Toronto steward, and now, the guy behind the best presentation at the Stack Overflow DevDays Toronto: Bits of Evidence: What We Actually Know About Software and Why We Believe It’s True. It was the presentation so nice, he’s doing it twice – this time at CUSEC. Don’t miss this one!
  • Reg Braithwaite, Superprogrammer-at-large. Whether you know him as “Reg” or “raganwald”, you know that he’s got some seriously big-ass ideas about programming. Very few people push Ruby metaprogramming to its limits the way he does. Every time I see one of his presentations, I come out a little bit smarter.
  • Pete Forde, Unspace. Pete’s one of the “corporate speakers”, a designation that probably makes him feel very uncomfortable. He’s one of the guys behind the Toronto-based development shop Unspace and behind two of the best conferences I’ve ever attended, RubyFringe (2008) and FutureRuby (2009). It’s anyone’s guess as to what he’ll talk about, but it should be good, and we can only hope that he begins it with a dance number, like he did with his presentation at the Mesh 2009 conference.
  • Leigh Honeywell, Symantec. Leigh has forgotten more about security than I will ever learn, and she’s also one of the founders of HacklabTO, the Toronto “hackerspace”.

I had the opportunity to speak at last year’s CUSEC and had a wonderful time both speaking and hanging out with the students. I love the conference vibe – the energy, brainpower and passion of the attendees is palpable, and it makes me optimistic for the future of tech in Canada. I’m only too glad to be able to attend this year, and I’m honoured to be invited to host their DemoCamp event, which will take place Thursday evening.

I’ll be filing reports from CUSEC, so watch this space!

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.