For years, we’ve heard that in the future, our computers will be built from subatomic particles, using the rules of quantum mechanics. Things will run faster, in parallel, at lower cost… but to be honest, I’ve usually chalked this discussion up as fantasy, or something that we might, one day, see happen, but that I won’t see in the near future. However, it turns out that quantum computing is an active area of research, one in which there have been some promising results. In this talk, William Oliver tells us about the state of quantum computing, what sorts of problems it can (or might) be used to solve, and what the challenges are moving forward.
Security has always been an important consideration for Web developers. However, in the last few years, many sites have been pushing (or been pushed) to use only HTTPS (a secure version of HTTP) for their site. PCI regulations effectively require that a site only use HTTPS, and large sites such as Google and Facebook encourage (and sometimes demand) that a site refuse unencrypted HTTP requests. This means that many sites which could previously ignore the calls for HTTPS now need to use and install it. In this talk, Nick Sullivan introduces the ideas behind HTTPS, and walks new developers/administrators through the process of making an nginx-backed site HTTPS-compliant.
Computing architecture, while improved over the last few decades, hasn’t fundamentally changed. What would happen if we took all of our modern advances, and used them to create a new type of architecture? Well, some engineers have done that; “the machine” is a project from Hewlett Packard Enterprise, which aims to demonstrate just that sort of thing. How does it work, and how is it different from other computer architectures? In this talk, Keith Packard introduces The Machine, and describes how it differs from other computer architectures in hardware and software.
Alan Turing is one of the most famous early computer scientists: He provided us with many of the theories of computation (e.g., so-called “Turing machines“) that are seen as fundamental to computer science. But beyond the headlines, stories, and even a movie about Turing’s life, there is much that many of us don’t know. In this talk, Demont Turing — Alan Turing’s nephew — provides insights, depth, and stories about his uncle, including both professional and personal information.
One of the great advances in Python over the last few years has been the maturation of generators — starting as an alternative way to create an iterator, then as the basis for coroutines, and now as the basis for asynchronous programming. But just what are coroutines, and how do they allow us to write asynchronous code? In this talk, A. Jesse Jiryu Davis walks us through the creation of a simple HTTP client, first without coroutines, then with them, and then using asynchronous techniques. If you’ve often wondered how these additions to Python might be useful in your work, or how the asynchronous additions to Python 3 are used, this talk should be of great interest to you.
Databases form the cornerstone of many applications, Web sites, and platforms. A huge amount of time, money, and research has been poured into databases over the last few decades. But our thirst for data, and the quantities that we’re trying to read and analyze, continue to grow. What can and should we do? How can we ensure reliability? How can we communicate with a growing number of other systems? And where does PostgreSQL, an open-source relational database with a growing number of features, fit into this trend? In this talk, Siimon Riggs answers all of these questions, and describes how PostgreSQL’s developers are working to keep as many of these questions in mind as they continue to improve their contribution to the world of databases.
Time: 22 minutes
As you might have heard, Volkswagen was recently caught in quite a scandal: Its diesel-powered cars would report one (legal, standard) pollution number when the car was being inspected, but quite another number (illegal and nonstandard) when it was actually being driven and on the road. This scandal, sometimes called “Dieselgate,” has had many implications for VW as a company, and for the car industry in general, But how did VW manage to fool so many people for so long? What did the car’s software and hardware do (and not do) in order to trick emissions inspectors? In this talk, Felix Domke and Daniel Lange report what they have each found, providing us with a fascinating introduction into the intersection of cars, computers, regulations, and scandals.
We often talk about “software engineering,” rather than just “programming” — but that implies that we are acting and working as engineers. The thing is, what does it mean to be an engineer, and to have that kind of discipline? And do we, in the software world, really use engineering in our work? In this talk, Mary Shaw describes what it means to be an engineer, comparing software with such disciplines as civil engineering. She then raises many questions about what we’re doing, and how we’re doing it — and how we can do it even better in the future.
Containers are a big thing in IT and devops — the idea that you can have lightweight virtual machines that can be launched, duplicated, copied, and scaled up is very attractive, and for good reason. But what happens when you have a very large number of containers? Have you simply exchanged one problem for another? Or are there methods and systems you can use to manage your containers? In this talk, Mandy Waite describes what she and others at Google are doing to make it easier to work with containers, and how you should start to look at containers if you’re to use them most effectively.