Monday, May 18, 2015

Florence log 4 - ICSE 2015

Today provided the reason for our trip to Italy: the 37th International Conference on Software Engineering.  Under these auspices the 2nd International Workshop on Software Engineering Methods in Spreadsheets (aka SEMS) took place, in which yours truly presented a paper. It all sounds a lot grander than it actually was: there were only twenty of us, and half of those presented papers. I was on sixth, the last before lunch.

The morning started with a short introduction by Felienne, who looks much younger in person than she does in the pictures on her web site. She introduced a product manager for Excel from Microsoft who talked about new features to be introduced in the 2016 version. This was fairly interesting.

Next up was a colleague of Felienne who talked about the Enron spreadsheets. As I have already read the papers about these, the talk was going over material which I already know. Still, it was interesting.

We then had a break, followed by a doctoral student of Felienne, who wasn't very impressive. Next came a professor from Canada who talked about his method of teaching students how to develop spreadsheets. This was interesting, although a bit simplistic. I shall try and introduce his methods at work.

Following him was an Italian graduate student; I confess that I didn't listen very much to his talk, partially because I didn't understand what he was talking about and partially because I was getting very nervous.

Next up was yours truly. On the basis of yesterday evening, I decided to take with me the action camera; I pointed it in what I believed to be the right direction, turned it on as the Italian was finishing and turned it off after I finished. Looking at what was recorded, I see that I am in a small square at the bottom of the picture; I found a video editor on the net which enabled me to crop the film and I'm converting it as I write these words.

The talk went very well, lasting for about 25 minutes. Unlike the Italian before me who basically read his presentation from the screen, I displayed my presentation but talked a great deal around it. I referred to three of the previous talks which showed that at least I was listening. Of course, I tried to be provocative: I actually started the talk by saying that I was different from every one else in at least two aspects. The first is that I work full time in industry, having academia as my hobby whereas they are full time academics. The second is that they are praising spreadsheets whereas I believe that they should not be used in an ERP environment.

During the morning break and during lunch, I had several interesting conversations about my presentation.

After lunch, I am sad to say that nothing grabbed my attention. In fact, I had difficulty staying awake. I think that this is primarily due to the release of tension which had built up prior to my talk. That said, I didn't find the post luncheon talks as interesting as the pre-luncheon ones.

Above is the timetable for the workshop. If one enlarges the photo, one can actually see my name. Overall, it was quite an interesting day, especially when one considers that most events like these which I attend in Israel are less interesting.

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