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The Alpha Conference for Alpha Geeks


What Is Colorado Software Summit?

Colorado Software Summit is an intensely technical conference, created by and for professional programmers working with the latest technologies. Conference sessions emphasize real-world programming with practical examples and plenty of source code to illustrate concepts and techniques. Many of the tutorials are presented by the lead programmers, analysts, architects and designers of the tools they are teaching you to use, while the remainder are taught by people who are using those tools themselves to build comprehensive projects.

Our Reputation

We have earned a reputation for producing some of the best technical conferences in the world. Most of that reputation derives directly from the speakers and the attendees, who together have created and nourished an atmosphere of lively interaction that provides the maximum opportunity for exchange of information. Our speakers spend the entire week at the conference, and conference attendance is limited to not more than 600 people in order to encourage this valued interaction among attendees themselves as well as between the attendees and our speakers.

Our Fifteenth Conference

Colorado Software Summit 2006 will be the fifteenth we have produced, and the twelfth to be held at Keystone Resort. Until 1995 we produced a very well known OS/2 programming conference, ColoradOS/2. The 1996 ColoradOS/2 conference featured Java prominently, and since 1997 (when we changed the name to Colorado Software Summit) we have focused on Java, XML, Web Services and other important technologies.

Our Speakers Are Programmers Themselves

Colorado Software Summit (and its predecessor, ColoradOS/2) has earned a reputation as one of the best technical conferences in the world. At our earlier conferences we have featured some great speakers, many of whom are very well known. We have had speakers such as Bill Joy (then Chief Scientist of Sun Microsystems, Inc.), Bjarne Stroustrup (creator of the C++ language), Grady Booch (very well known for his work in object oriented design and design patterns), Tim Bray (a principal creator of XML), Simon Phipps (Chief Software Evangelist at Sun Microsystems, Inc.), Mike Cowlishaw (creator of Rexx and NetRexx), Dan Harkey and Bob Orfali (authors of several highly regarded books, especially their book on Java and CORBA), George Radin (architect of the first RISC computer), and many others. However, the majority of our speakers are not (yet) famous; instead, they are working software engineers who want to communicate what they know to other working software engineers, with the ultimate objective being that we all become better programmers for having spent a week here.

Not a "Show," It Is a Serious Programming Conference

There is no "show" aspect to the conference at all, no booths, no marketing, no sales, no hype. We make every effort to attract only professional programmers, or at least people who are very directly involved with programming; if anyone else sneaks in, it is because we haven't communicated to them clearly enough what we do here. But, to go along with the "serious" nature of the conference, it is also a great deal of fun! Many of our attendees come back year after year, and they contribute a great deal to the friendly and fun atmosphere of the conference.

How Is Each Day Scheduled?

We divide the day into 90-minute blocks of time (with breaks in between), and we typically have eight sessions running concurrently throughout the day, while our attendees make their way through the week with a schedule that they choose for themselves. All of our tutorial sessions are repeated three times during the week, so if one session is crowded, there are two more chances to see it during the week. When there are topics that we expect to be in unusually high demand, we schedule them for even more repetitions during the week, but that is somewhat rare.

Is This Just Another Enormous Conference?

Importantly, this conference is intentionally small. Keystone's conference facilities can handle about 600 people very comfortably (and with the level of quality we insist on), so that number is our upper limit. Our rooms are set in classroom style — not just rows and rows of chairs, but chairs and tables, and "elbow room," to make it easy to take notes, hold water glasses, etc. We will have a couple of our "larger" rooms (small by most conference standards) set for 150-200 people, but the majority of the rooms will be set for about 40-50 people. With these small session sizes, the presentations can be as interactive as any individual speaker is comfortable with, while our attendees can derive the greatest benefit from each session.

A Truly International Conference

Also importantly, our conferences have always attracted a strongly international audience. Each one of our first nine conferences has had approximately one-third of its attendees from outside the U.S.A., not only from the expected European and Asian countries, but also from more exotic and/or distant locations such as China, India, Israel, South Africa, Brazil, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Argentina, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Egypt, Turkey, etc. We always ask our speakers to keep this international audience in mind as they prepare their presentations. We think the investment in time and money that these international attendees make each year is a strong endorsement of the quality of the conference.

Who Should Attend?

Our audience is comprised largely (probably at least 80%) of professional programmers working for large corporations who are writing applications that run over large networks; consultants, entrepreneurs, small business owners, VARs, teachers, etc., comprise the remainder of the attendees. This audience is seeking very practical, "Wow, I can use this as soon as I get home!" information on Java programming topics; that is exactly what we try to provide.

The Most Valuable Week of Your Year

In this single week, new Java programmers will acquire skills that otherwise might have required months of tedious trial and error, while experienced Java programmers will enhance their skills and learn the more advanced features of and the latest additions to Java. Colorado Software Summit has been described as "Like getting a Master's Degree in Java programming — in a week!" We would add to that, "... while having a wonderful time and making friends with Java programmers from around the world."

Colorado Software Summit
The very best technical conference anywhere!

Here are a few comments to illustrate what our 2004 attendees liked about Colorado Software Summit:
  • It's simply the best I ever attended.
  • I learned a tremendous amount from the conference. It was organized in a very efficient manner. The conference setting and meals were very good and added to the enjoyment of the learning experience.
  • As usual, my brain is full and I am exhausted, but it has been another rewarding experience at Colorado Software Summit.
  • I've got 12 months of stuff to look at - enough until the next conference!
  • There were some interesting casual lunch-time talks with some of the "giants" of the industry.
  • Everyone presented great material, was well-prepared, and was genuinely interested in helping us learn. They were great in the classroom, and in the hallways!
  • The classes are so interesting, I don't get to enjoy Keystone as much as I would like!