Call for talk proposals: !!Con West 2019!

!!Con (pronounced “bang bang con”) West is a two-day conference of ten-minute talks about the joy, excitement, and surprise of computing, and the west-coast offshoot of !!Con, the annual independent and volunteer-run conference that I co-founded in New York in 2014. !!Con is a radically eclectic computing conference, and we’re excited to be bringing a version of it to the west coast for the first time! The conference will be held at UC Santa Cruz on February 23 and 24, 2019, and our call for talk proposals is open until tomorrow. We’ve already gotten nearly a hundred talk proposals, but we want more! We want yours!

When I say “radically eclectic”, what I mean is that at !!Con, you can expect to catch talks on lossy (!) text compression, traceroute as a storytelling medium, glowing animatronic mushrooms, what happens when you store your data in kernel space, and how to program knitting machines. Or perhaps on assembling ceramic artifacts using computer vision, synthesizing video and turning it into music, building a map to aggregate real-time flood data, how to design a compelling game with just one big red button, and why the problem of how to distribute “Elmo’s World” segments onto a series of video releases is NP-complete. I always tell prospective talk submitters that if they have something to talk about that brings them joy but is just a bit too strange for a typical tech conference, it might be perfect for !!Con.

!!Con West will undoubtedly have a different flavor than past !!Cons have had — after all, instead of being in the middle of Manhattan or Brooklyn, we’ll be in the woods — but we’re hoping to preserve the essential parts of the !!Con aesthetic, while enthusiastically embracing the physical and human geography of the west coast, Santa Cruz, and UC Santa Cruz. Just like every past !!Con, we’ll anonymize talk proposals before reviewing them to help eliminate implicit bias in the review process. We’re also offering travel funding to speakers who request it, and a $256 honorarium to every speaker.

If all that sounds good to you, please consider submitting a talk proposal to be part of the inaugural !!Con West!