The 4th Annual Dalhousie Computer Science In-house Conference (DCSI) was held last Thursday and Friday. How was it? In theory, it was packed with speakers, including a distinguished keynote speaker. In reality? I can’t say much about the talks, as I didn’t have time to attend any.
Why was I so busy? Well, I agreed to do some stuff as Social Rep for DCSI, such as running BBQs and receptions. However, I also expected to be helped by the DCSI volunteers. Unfortunatly, since the Volunteer Coordinator did nothing, there were next to no volunteers. This resulted in the BBQ starting up late, and me setting up the reception stuff all by myself (note, this meant that sound equipment stayed in storage, no way in hell was I dragging that out and putting it back in, especially since they probably hadn’t even thought about music).
Another dissapointment was the low turnout of professors. As previously stated I can’t say much for the regular talks, however, at the reception I saw four professors, two of which were markers for the posters. And I heard that people had to go and knock on office windows to make sure professors came down to the keynote speech. So what is the point of presenting your ongoing research if no professors show up? Without their commentary and feedback, how much does a presenter get out of the conference? Is it any wonder that several people did their presentations and posters at the last minute?
The major problem as I see it is the acceptance policy. That policy being ‘we accept anything from any CS Student and you don’t even have to revise it if it is really crappy’. I mean, how much can people care with standards like that?
All in all, DCSI was dissapointing. I don’t blame the committee chair. He was just doing the best he could after being abandoned by those he thought he could count on. But the fact remains that things need to change before DCSI becomes something worth attending.
On a more positive note, people really seemed to like the inclusion of King’s Quest in my research poster and was the first thing any of them noticed. Also, following the advice from Jane Tougas to have ’something extra to draw people toward your poster, like candy’ I realized that a bigger draw than candy was having a bar right next to your poster.