Each year, IBM Toronto Centre for Advanced Studies and National Research Council Canada host a conference (CASCON) in Markham, Ontario. The conference is in the broad area of computer science and is considered to be the premier general international computer science conference held in Canada. It attracts international participation and over 1500 people usually attend over the course of 4 days. The first was held in 1991 and I have attended every one since. I started attending when I was a PhD student and I used the opportunity to “demo” my PhD research. The feedback I received from attendees was invaluable in the shaping of my thesis and results. I have also organized workshops and been a member of the Program Committee in the past (I’m on the Program Committee this year). In the last few years I was General Co-Chair so I’ll admit I am quite biased! But it really is a great opportunity for people whose work fits into one of the broad theme areas. Plus, it is free to attend and the lunches are delicious!
There are three main parts of the program: Academic papers (reviewed and selected by an international program committee with ~25% acceptance rate – papers are published in the ACM Digital Library); workshops and tutorials (my personal favourite part of the conference); and demos (another highlight). There are also very interesting and thought-provoking keynote speakers.
CASCON is called a “Meeting of Minds” because it aims to bring together academic researchers with practitioners and government researchers to meet and build collaborations. I highly encourage people (especially students) to take advantage of this local, free conference to showcase your work, engage in discussions, and meet new people.
You can participate as a contributor to CASCON by submitting a paper, organizing a workshop, or submitting a demo or poster. Or, you can participate as an attendee and attend any the workshops, demos, and paper presentations you wish. However, I highly recommend taking the opportunity to participate as a contributor – at least to put a poster or demo on display.
See the CASCON 2008 website for important dates, actual location, link to the call for papers, and description of topics of interest.