03. May 2010 · 1 comment · Categories: ICSE 2010

Today is our second workshop on software research and climate change, at ICSE 2010 in Cape Town. We’ve finalized the program, and we’re hoping to support some form of remote participation, but I’m still not sure how this will work out.

We had sixteen position papers and two videos submitted in the end, which I’m delighted about. To get everyone reading and discussing them prior to the workshop, we set up an open reviewing process, which I think went very well. Rather than the usual closed, anonymous reviews, we opened it up so that everyone could add reviews to any paper, and we encouraged everyone to review in their own name, rather than anonymously. The main problem we had was finding a suitable way of supporting this – until we hit upon the idea of creating a workshop blog, so each paper is a blog post, and the comment thread allows us to add reviews, and comment on each other’s reviews. This is nice because it means we can now make all the papers and reviews public, and continue the discussions during and after the workshop.

We’re trying out two different ways of supporting live remote participation – in the morning, the keynote talk (by Stephen Emmott of Microsoft Research) will be delivered via Microsoft’s LiveMeeting. We tested it out last week, and I’m pretty impressed with it (apart from the fact that there’s no client for the Mac). The setup we’ll be using is to have a video feed of Stephen giving the talk, displayed on a laptop screen at the front of the room, with his slides projected to the big screen. The laptop also has a webcam, so (if it works) Stephen will be able to see his audience too. I’ll document how well this works in a subsequent post.

For the last afternoon session, we’ll be trying out a live skype call. Feel free to send me your skype details if you’d like to participate. I’ve no idea if this will work (as it didn’t last time we tried), but hey, it’s worth exploring…

13. March 2010 · 1 comment · Categories: ICSE 2010

We’re gearing up our plans for the second international workshop on software research and climate change (WSRCC-2), to be held in Cape Town on May 3 (in conjunction with ICSE-2010). The workshop follows from a successful WSRCC-1 we held in the fall at Oopsla/Onward! (See also my summary of the brainstorming session).

One of the biggest challenges for the workshop in Cape Town is to accommodate participation by people who can’t be there. After all, there is irony in the size of the carbon footprints for many of us to travel all the way to South Africa, and many of the organizing committee members felt it’s too far to travel. We’ve ruled out the idea of video-conferencing (our experience is that the technology and bandwidth at conference centres just isn’t reliable enough). However, after a little brainstorming, we came up with some interesting ideas:

  • Invite people to submit youtube-style videos, to be posted on the conference website. The best of these will be shown in a session at the workshop;
  • Make full use of twitter and friendfeed to connect with remote participants, perhaps projecting the feeds up on the screen during the workshop. (tags are ready – twitter: #wsrcc-2; friendfeed: wsrcc-2-may-2010);
  • Have one session at the workshop opened up to audio conferencing. The second afternoon session would work best for this, as will permit participation from most timezones: it’ll be evening in India, afternoon in Europe; and morning in N. & S. America. And I’m led to believe that the Aussies and Japanese are always happy stay up all night anyway…
  • And I was keen to experiment with embodied social proxies, but I don’t think we’ll be able to get the kit together for this year…

Anyway, I’d be interested in more ideas, and encourage everyone to participate, either physically or remotely. The draft program is up already.

Oh, and I’m really looking forward to the closing keynote at ICSE this year: Sir David King, talking about Planning for Climate Change in the 21st Century.