I’ve been fortunate to have traveled extensively during the Fall of 2016. A good chunk of that travel was because of work. Back in September, I visited London and St. Louis (Missouri), and attended three different conferences. Later in October, I flew back to Europe, this time to Berlin to attend my fourth conference in two months1. This post focuses on the conferences. I’ll write more about the sightseeing I did in future posts.

ContainerCamp

ContainerCamp was a one day conference in London, focusing on topics in software container technology, with 12 talks by people in different areas. I gave a talk on the project I’m currently working on, Docker SwarmKit, the open-source container orchestration framework, which was also my first conference talk ever! That I would be delivering this talk was confirmed rather late, which gave me little time to prepare and get a UK visa, but things somehow worked out (my visa arrived the morning I was scheduled to leave), and I made it to London – my second visit to the city after last year’s UK trip.

The conference itself was held at Picturehouse Central, a movie theater in Piccadilly Circus, which I thought was a very unique venue for a conference. Talks were projected on to a huge movie screen!

I think I did a decent job for a first talk, which also included a live demo and a shoutout by Mark Shuttleworth! The talk video is here, in case you’re interested. Among other talks, I particularly enjoyed the following ones

All talks, including the ones above are on the YouTube channel.

After ContainerCamp, I had roughly four days to explore London. From there, I flew directly to St. Louis, for the next couple of conferences.

Papers We Love Conference (PWLConf)

Papers We Love is a series of meetups in different cities around the world, where people come together to discuss research papers they love from different fields. Given its popularity, the organizers decided to set up the first PWL conference, which was co-located with Strange Loop in St. Louis. PWLConf was actually the only conference I was meant to attend, until some fortuitous events allowed me to attend Strange Loop as well.

I really enjoyed the talks, particularly because they were quite academic in nature, and I’ve missed academic talks since leaving grad school. There were some I particularly enjoyed

Once again, all videos are on the YouTube channel.

Strange Loop

My attendance at Strange Loop was fortunate. Strange Loop is an annual software conference held in St. Louis, covering really intriguing and eclectic topics related to software, mathematics, or their applications to other areas. Other industry conferences that I’ve been to have had extremely specific focus, including a lot of vendors advertising their products. Strange Loop was nothing like that, and all talks I attended could basically be put under one umbrella – “the joy of Computer Science”. I also got to meet and talk to some people whom I’d only followed on Twitter before. Since there were too many parallel tracks, I couldn’t attend all interesting talks, but out of the ones I did, some really stood out

Once again, all talk videos are now online on the YouTube channel, and worth watching.

Docker Distributed Systems Summit

A small invitation-only event, the summit was a great way to meet people directly engaged in the Docker community. A part of the attraction was also the chance to visit Berlin for the first time. Once again, late confirmations led to rushed planning, and some good fortune allowed me to get a visa in time. My job was only to attend the talks, engage with people, and lead some discussions. I thought this was a great format for two reasons – I got to learn more about Docker’s other products myself, and the small size of the conference enabled many personal interactions that allowed for deeper conversations. The official blog post contains links to the talk videos, slides, and other information.

On Conference Travel in General

Overall, these were rewarding trips, albeit tiring. Being away from home for all these days sounds great in principle, but as I found out, travel is rather disruptive when it’s not purely for vacation. Still, I’m incredibly lucky to have had all these opportunities. In fact, this was one of the primary reasons I joined Docker. I’m looking forward to doing more of this in 2017, but probably with a little more focus.


  1. I also attended a fifth conference this year, back in June – DockerCon 2016. This was my first DockerCon, and a pretty interesting affair. For one, it gave me significant motivation to work hard preceding the event, and the project I was working on was at the center of major announcements. I also ended up staying for the week in Seattle, so that was great as well. I decided not to write much about DockerCon in this post because I barely attended any talks (booth duty!), and enough has already been written by others about it. [return]
- nRT