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What's the conference like?
The weekend is a continuous, high-powered, energetic exchange of ideas among the movers and shakers from a wide variety of disciplines - a catalyst for the future. Most conferences have an audience and invited speakers. At this conference, everyone is expected to contribute and share -- it is a conference of people sharing with their peers.
Although you will occasionally hear someone say something like "Wow, I was just talking with Don Knuth", everyone treats each other as a peer. Some famous attendees have said that it was great to be able to just be "one of the attendees".
And "peer" is a critical word here. Everyone attending is considered to be a peer -- we do not have "speakers" and an "audience". Everyone attending is expected to be speak on topics in which they are expert. Some people speak every year, some people speak every few years that they attend.
There are demonstrations or impromptu sessions going on all day and all night. The free exchange of ideas is important to making the conference work. Partly for that reason, the few press attendees are told that everything said or overheard outside of the plenary sessions is strictly off the record unless otherwise specifically arranged.
What subjects are discussed there?
The agenda changes every year based on who's attending, what they want to present, and what they want to discuss. Because the attendees come from many different domains, you will find a wide range of topics. Here are just a few session topics from past years: Landmines (how might they be detected and/or neutralized), game design, sculpture, cooking, musical instruments, music, computer graphics, performance art, virtual reality, cryptography, security, bio-engineering, bio-technology, genetic engineering, neural networks, science fiction, wireless, wireless crypto / security, user interface design, space launch vehicles, ham radio satellite technology, investing, power grid self-sufficiency, living in an analog world, living in a digital world, wearable computing, open systems / software / hardware, chaos theory, nanotechnology, etc.Click here to find out more about the Sessions.
What The Conference is not...
The conference is not a "computer conference". It is not dedicated to any one computer, to any one technology, nor even to just technology.
The conference isn't a science fiction "con". Nor is it a gathering of crackers, phone phreaks, or criminals. The term is used in its older and respectable form rather than in the way that the media have abused the word.
The conference also is not a trade show with booths, exhibits, and "marketroids". We do have a large area dedicated for the many attendees who show off their own works-in-progress, and their newest and greatest toys - especially those things that they have created.