Friday, October 21, 2011

2011 CCSC-E Marymount University

Last week I attended CCSC-E 2011 at Marymount University in Alexandria, VA. The location was great, and the venue was very good. The conference was also very good.

One of the highlights was proximity to the Ballston Metro stop. Admittedly the DC Metro System isn't what it used to be, a darker, dingier, smellier, noisier shadow of its past self. Maybe a sense of community will return to this country someday and people will realize that Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., was right when he said taxes are the price of civilization. Anyhow, the first day I drove just a few miles to the Halethorpe MARC station and caught a train to DC. Saturday I drove down to the Greenbelt Metro Station.

But at the conference itself, there were three highlights:
  1. "Going Green with Computing" with panelists Tom Camerlinck, CIO, Greenpeace; Dave Deal, CEO, Community IT Innovations, Inc.; and Jeff Porter, IT Infrastructure Director, Fairfax County, VA. This is an area of growing importance with quite a few organizations, including Google, taking it seriously. For many organizations, the point is to save money and saving energy and materials will effectively do just that.
  2. A tutorial, "Introduction to Cryptography" from Seth Bergmann, Rowan University. I went to a similarly-title tutorial at CCSC Central Plains a few years ago, and both were good. I don''t know that I learned anything new about crypto here, but it's always good to attend these things to see material I sometimes teach well-presented by someone else.
  3. Finally, a workshop entitle "How To Deliver a Gentle Introduction to LR Parsing" by David Middleton from Arkansas Tech. Obviously in an IS department I won't be teaching compilers any time soon, but it is an interesting topic and was well-presented. Middleton and Larry Morell presented a workshop entitled "Applying compiling concepts throughout the computing curriculum" at CCSC Midsouth in 2003, which was very good (admission: Larry Morell was a CS prof at W&M when I was an M.S. student there). I think those of us who stayed till the end came away with a better appreciation for LR parsing and a solid introduction to teaching LR. It was long for a late Saturday afternoon, but worth the time.
I enjoyed CCSC 2011 much more than the 2010 instantiation. In 2010 there was an interesting robotics and vision presentation by Grant Braught of Dickinson, but otherwise a fairly bare cupboard leaving me to wonder if CCSC was moving away from CS. Kudos to the 2011 committee and to Marymount University.

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