JISC Developer Days (aka dev8D) kicked off today at the University of London Union with an estimated 500 attendees. I don’t remember the number of attendees last year, but it feels much bigger this year. Spanning five rooms, I counted at least 27 different sessions, talks and workshops over the space of a single afternoon.
Linked Data was the dominant theme today, starting with the pre-conference Linked Data Meetup which included presentations and workshops from Tom Scott, Patrick Sinclair, and Silver Oliver of the BBC and John Sheridan & Jeni Tennison of data.gov.uk among many, many others.
Lin Clark of DERI ran a Drupal RDFa workshop in the afternoon. She demonstrated RDF Mapping, the RDF SPARQL Proxy, and the RDF SPARQL Endpoint modules and gave a preview of the RDF features to expect in Drupal 7 core.
One session I really wanted, but wasn’t able, to attend was Jim Downing’s Multicore Processing session. Not a terribly interesting title, but he worked through mining linked data from data.gov.uk, using the Clojure library Incanter to find correlations in the data, and finally, parallelizing the data processing.
The dev8D spirit of developer happiness was nowhere more evident than in this year’s new attention to electronics. I sat at a table watching Emma Tonkin build an electronic whiteboard with a nano-projector and Wiimote. Walking over to the projects room, I saw Ben O’Steen working with facial recognition software, Dave Tarrant turning off and dimming lights over the local network, Julian Cheal wiring each room’s entry with an RFID reader, and Ian Ibbotson programming an Arduino. Tomorrow, I’m told, we’ll have someone showing off a RepRap 3D printer.
I find the impromptu meetings as valuable as any of the structured components of dev8D. I sat down with Andy Turner, a researcher at the University of Leeds, who introduced me to GENeSIS, a mad-scientist level modeling and simulation project that I thought was absolutely fascinating. Just as serendipitously, as we wrapped up Day 1 of dev8D at the pub (where else?), I found myself drinking a pint with Scott Wilson and we got to talking about Apache Wookie and HTML 5.
See you tomorrow!