Friday, September 30, 2005

HPTS: the return

I'm back from HPTS. From what I've been told, the submitted papers and presentations should be available at the web site soon. Definitely worth a look. Savas had a great first time experience and was even designated the unofficial workshop photographer - until his batteries ran out!

There were some really good presentations, but it's always the talks in and around the events that I find the most interesting. Maybe there are other conferences/workshops like this, but I've never been to anything where the sense of community is so high and people are able to transcend any normal company relationships. The feeling is more akin to a group of co-workers/co-researchers all collaborating on the same problem and getting together to share experiences (often over the odd beer or two).

In answer to my earlier question, there were more new faces than I saw when we arrived and the quality of the work is just as high as in previous years. Probably my only disappointment with this year's workshop was its almost total lack of controversy and heated (though good) discussions: they've always been a characteristic of previous workshops, but not this time. It's a shame, because I always find them stimulating. However, nothing can really spoil these workshops, particularly when you look at the the surroundings.

My presentation went alright, though it is very difficult to summarise 20 years of development into 20 minutes! After talking to Jim it's clear that the work his group is doing on their Lightweight Transaction Manager is very similar to what we did on Arjuna with recoverable and durable+recoverable objects. It encourages developers to use transactions as a fault-tolerant structuting mechanism without having to always suffer the performance penalties. If it's supported in a promotable manner too, this can be a very nice and powerful facility to provide developers.

The trip back was slightly more eventful than the one down. Our original plans were to drive back and to stop somewhere to eat. Unfortunately, my flight out didn't allow us that option, so we had to go straight up 101. Well, that was the plan. Maybe it was Paul's radio selections, including Billy Joel, Madonna or the Bee Gees, or the discussions about work to come that put Savas off, but we ended up taking a more scenic route to the freeway than intended (and I bet we couldn't retrace our steps now if we wanted to). I was slightly late checking in for the flight back and didn't get a chance to eat prior to take-off, but that (and the serious case of jet-lag) was a small price to pay for the trip.

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