Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Europython 2005

I transitioned from our weekend Wanderers retreat, at the Linus Pauling house on Hawthorne (PDX), to Europython in Göteborg, Sweden (GOT). I'm currently blogging from our venue, the Architecture building at Chalmers using a guest account on the university's Nomad wireless network, with the 3rd and final day of the conference in progress (we're doing a coffee break at the moment).

I got invited to this conference on the basis of my Python in Education initiatives. My talk, entitled Pythonic Mathematics, was about infusing various college and pre-college math curricula with a computer programming component, including doing more with polyhedra (per slides).

The conferees here come from all over Europe, and of course speak a variety of languages. Fortunately for me, English is the medium for presentations.

At the dinner last night I sat next to Mr. Volkmer from the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics in Dresden. His team uses Python around databases containing the gene sequences of axolotls, frogs and such.

The night before, I had dinner by the student center indoor pool with Guido (Python's creator) and a gent from CERN, the venue for Europython next year.

A lot of these folks are Zope and Plone developers, some of whom I've met in other venues. Oxfam, GB is coordinating tsunami relief and other projects through an elaborate network of interconnected Plone sites.

Laura gave us updates on the political situation regarding the prospect of software patents in the EU, which the programmers here are pretty much uniformly against, even though their work is highly inventive and original.

A large conference on nanotubes (aka buckytubes) is taking place in parallel. Wandering amidst the posters brings back memories of the First International Conference on Fullerenes in Santa Barbara (1993), which I attended as a rep from the BFI, thanks to encourgement from Ed Applewhite.