Thursday, January 10, 2008

Excellent Open Source Presentations

Last night I went to some presentations that were put on by the Chicago chapter of ACM. The two presentations were:

  • An Introduction to Bloom Filters - This presentation focused on choosing the best algorithm to solve a problem. The most familiar trade-off is between storage space and time, but there are more exotic possibilities that can lead to data structures with surprising properties. This presentation discussed Bloom Filters, a probabilistic data structure that efficiently encodes set membership and allows a trade-off between storage space and uncertainty. It was an excellent presentation on how to achieve very high scalabliity with inexpensive hardware using open source.
  • How Open Source Projects Survive Poisonous People -Every open source project runs into people who are selfish, uncooperative, and disrespectful. These people can silently poison the atmosphere of a happy developer community. Come learn how to identify these people and peacefully de-fuse them before they derail your project. Told through a series of (often amusing) real-life anecdotes and experiences.
These were two absolutely outstanding presentations. The second one was probably the best presentation I've seen in years. Both presentations had tremendous take aways. I would highly recommend attending both of these presentations if they are given again (they will be the audience was asking the presenters if they would give it again at different locations). If this is the type of presentation given at the Chicago ACM chapter I would highly recommend attending a meeting of this organization in the future.

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