I had the chance to attend the Canadian Undergraduate Technology Conference 2007 this year, in Toronto, and it was one of the most entertaining, informative and enjoyable event I’ve ever been to lately. Apart from the wonderful keynotes (one of them was by a Nobel laureate), the competitions, tech shows and sessions were extremly useful. I was extremly impressed by Apple’s Shark and Quartz Composer tools. I always imagined Mac development was a bit of a mystery and all command-line based magic, but their tools are a serious threat to Windows development. Windows doesn’t even have a tool that comes close to what Quartz Composer can do, and although tools like Shark already exist, none of them are so seamless, easy to use, and powerful. In 20 minutes we took code that we had never seen before, and optimized it from 900 ‘thoughts per second’ (a metric in an AI test case) to over 5000. The entire platform is built on open source tools (such as GCC), and even Shark is based on the Linux code analysis/profiling tool called DTrace (I believe that’s the name). But it’s the Apple UI and integration that makes it all worth it.
Meeting with various company executives, managers and engineers was great too, and they had a lot of insight into their experience working in the industry.
To make things even better, my team also won the “CUTC 2007 Best Design Award” in the AMD/ATI Tech Team competition. All our team members (five) received an ATI Radeon video card. This week I’ll be attending CUSEC, the Canadian Undergraduate Software Engineering Society, which, thankfully, is in Montreal. I will most probably be doing a demo of ReactOS as well.