August 2011

What kind of person attends C++ and Beyond?  We wanted to know that before the event began, because we figured the more we knew about the attendees’ backgrounds, the better we could tailor our presentations to them.  Now that this year’s event is over, I thought you might be interested to see what we found out about the people who joined us in Banff.

Geographically, they came from nine countries. In no particular order, those countries were Taiwan, Germany, Canada, the United States, Brazil, Australia, England, Japan, and Sweden.  That means we drew people from five continents, which we were very excited about.  (Assuming we do another C&B, I’m going to press for free admission for the first resident from Antarctica to register.)

Our attendees’ years of experience with C++ vary, but the vast majority have between six and twenty years:

Their adoption of C++11 (nee C++0x) features in production code was surprisingly high, with over 20% permitted to use rvalue references, lambda expressions, auto variables, and regular expressions, and even more permitted to use unordered containers, std::function and std::bind, and std::shared_ptr and std::weak_ptr:

Because Herb was giving a talk on GPU programming and I was slated to explain the C++11 memory model, we asked a number of questions about people’s experience with concurrency and parallelism.  The first question asked for their years of experience with in-process concurrency (threads) other than GPU programming.  Over 60% had four or more years under their belts:

When it came to GPU programming, though, nearly 90% had no experience at all.  (This did not surprise us.)

The experience level picked up again when we asked about experience developing software using cross-process concurrency (separate processes) on a single machine, although nearly 20% had no experience with this kind of programming, a significantly higher value than for thread-based programming:

That number jumped to nearly 35% for cross-process concurrency (separate processes) on multiple machines (i.e., distributed computing), a sign that thread-based non-GPU concurrency is the most common form, at least among C&B attendees.

We were also curious about the size of the data sets C&B developers work with, so we asked.  The values were surprisingly distributed, with roughly 20% each typically working with tens, hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands, and hundreds of thousands of megabytes of data:

On the time front, over 70% of developers described their typical runtimes as being best measured in CPU-minutes, but there were a few whose runs corresponded to CPU-Months or CPU-Years.  (How’d you like to be the person responsible for a bug discovered near the end of a multiple CPU-year run?)

Finally, we asked about which of our books they’d read.  Contrary to what you might think, this had nothing to do with stroking our egos. Instead, we wanted to know what kind of information attendees were likely to have already absorbed.  Given a conference with the title “C++ and Beyond,” it’s not terribly surprising that Andrei’s book on D fared worse than the others. I was pleased to see that Effective C++, Third Edition got the highest ranking, because, you know, there’s something to be said for bragging rights over Herb and Andrei :-)

Microsoft’s Channel 9 just posted their first video from C++ and Beyond 2011. It’s a post-event interview that Charles Torre conducted with me, Herb, and Andrei, so even if you attended C&B in Banff, it’s something you have not seen. (Whether you want to see yet more of us is a different matter.) We hope you like it.

I mentioned in an earlier posting that we’d be posting photos from C&B in Banff, and those are now available at the C&B flickr site.  Some were taken at C&B itself, others are of the surrounding area.  If you have photos from C&B that you’d like to share, send them to us, and we’ll see that they get added to the collection.



Thanks to everybody for a very enjoyable and successful C++ and Beyond 2011 in Banff!   Andrei and Herb and I had a great time, and, judging by the evaluations, so did everyone who attended.

What’s next?, you may wonder.  Well:

  • Cover for C&B 2011 MaterialsWe’re in the process of preparing final PDF for all our talks, including slides we put together during C&B or pulled up on the fly.  You should also expect to see presentation materials with minor revisions, e.g., with bugs fixed that we found during the talks.  My revised double-checked locking code, for example, will now include, er, two checks and, um, a lock.  Ahem. We expect the final PDF to be available by the end of the week.  Look for email from Lisa telling you where to get it.
  • Lisa’s email will also tell you about a post-event survey that will give you an opportunity to tell us what worked at C&B, what didn’t, and give us feedback on the relative importance of various aspects of the event.  We hope we made clear during C&B that we take your feedback seriously, and we act on it whenever we can, so please take the time to fill out the survey.  It’s short, I promise.
  • Charles Torre from Microsoft’s Channel 9 as well as Ray Heath recorded the Q&A sessions at the end of each day, and Charles also recorded a post-event interview with Herb and Andrei and me, and our understanding is that Charles plans to take the raw videos and edit them into something suitable for human consumption, which he’ll then publish at Channel 9. When we get word that they are available, we’ll let you know, but note that Channel 9 also has its own RSS feed.
  • Andrei, Scott, Herb at the end of C&B

    Andrei, Scott, and Herb at the end of C&B. Photo courtesy of Alan Gray.

    We’ve received photos taken by various people, and we plan to make at least some of those available.  If you took photos at C&B that you’d be willing to share, please send them to Lisa.  We’ll post about where to find the photos when we’ve got a place for them.

A number of people asked whether there will be another C&B next year, and Andrei, Herb, and I are already talking about the possibility.  We’re not making any promises, but you’ll notice that some of the questions on the post-event survey ask about when and where you’d like to see future events, so draw your own conclusions :-)



As we’d hoped, we were able to prevail upon the Banff Springs Hotel to extend free internet access to C&B attendees without requiring that you sign up for anything.  The details will be conveyed to you when you check in to the hotel. If you’re not staying at the hotel, track our C&B Concierge, Lisa Wells, down (she’s the one demonstrating enviable social skills and wearing the name tag that says “Lisa Wells, C&B Concierge”), and she’ll get you set up.

We apologize for this logistical hiccup.  The underlying problem was that our contact people at the hotel changed between our initial work with them in February and recent weeks, and the hotel’s information on our internet access agreement got lost during the transition.  This didn’t become apparent until a few days ago when we were triple-checking everything, and their response to our request to confirm terms for internet access was met with, “What?”



There appears to have been a miscommunication between the Banff Springs Hotel and us regarding how to get free access to wi-fi throughout the hotel.  We are still trying to resolve things in accord with our promise that you’d get access without the usual requirement of having to sign up for the Fairmont President’s Club. But if you want to ensure that you will have hassle-free no-cost wi-fi, we suggest you enroll in their President’s Club (a fairly painless and free process—it literally took me 3 minutes to join) before you check in to the hotel.

I sincerely hope that signing up will turn out to be superfluous, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Lisa Wells

C++ and Beyond 2011 begins on Sunday evening, and Andrei, Herb, and I are very much looking forward to it (as is Lisa Wells, our assistant, concierge, customer service representative, and all-around Awesome Person Who Helps Us Out).  What follows is information we think you’ll find useful as C&B draws near:

  • Handouts’ PDF. You should have received an email message earlier today telling you how to download the PDF version of the presentation materials.  If you didn’t receive the message, please let us know.
  • Background Survey. The same email that told you about the presentations’ PDF will have told you about a brief survey we’d like you to fill out so that we can better understand your backgrounds and interests.  We take this information into account when making our presentations, so please invest the minute or two needed to answer the questions.
  • Hardcopy Handouts and Name Badges. If you’re staying at the Banff Springs Hotel and you check in Saturday night or Sunday, you should receive a notebook and a name badge when you check in. If you check in before the notebooks and badges arrive or if you’re not staying at the hotel, ask for a notebook and badge on Sunday evening or Monday morning at the table outside the Conservatory (for the Reception) or Van Horne Ballroom (for the C&B technical sessions).  If you elected the PDF-only handouts option, please don’t accept a notebook, even if the  hotel mistakenly offers you one.  We didn’t prepare notebooks for PDF-only people.
  • Sunday Evening Reception. It will take place 7:30PM-9:30PM in the Conservatory. Light refreshments and soft drinks will be served, so come with an appetite, but not too big a one :-). Please wear your name badge where we can see it. You may know who we are, but we don’t always know who you are, and we’d like to.
  • Tipping. The Banff Springs Hotel has a no-tipping policy.  If you’re staying at the hotel, tips are one of the things included in your daily service charge.  If you’re not staying at the hotel, your tips are covered by the daily service charge your colleagues are paying :-)
  • Weather. The current forecast calls for showers, with high temperatures of around 70F.  I suggest you check the latest forecast before you pack in order to decide what to bring with you.

Finally, now that C&B is almost upon us, please let us know if you have any comments on the registration process or on any aspect of the service you received prior to the event. We’ve done the best we can, and while we know we can do better, we don’t necessarily know how. Please tell us, either on the comments section of the background survey or via email.

We’ll see you soon!


C++ & Beyond is Almost Here!

Tomorrow I will be sending an e-mail to all registered delegates that will contain a link to presentation materials as well as other last-minute information about C&B that I think you’ll find useful. This will give you all a chance to acquaint yourselves with the materials beforehand. Keep an eye out for the e-mail which I will send tomorrow evening.