14 April 2010
Updated 16 February 2012
Herb, Andrei, and I tend to refer to C++ and Beyond (C&B) as an “event” rather than a conference, because conferences are generally big, impersonal things organized around the principle that speakers stand and talk and attendees sit and listen. That’s not what we want for C&B, and the structure of the event reflects that.
First, attendance is limited. We want a group small enough that we can spend time talking with each of you, and we want everybody to have a chance to talk with everybody else. Truly successful events are built around opportunities for people to make connections and exchange ideas, and we want to set up that kind of success. A smallish group helps us do that.
Second, breakfasts and lunches are included. We’re not talking dry rolls and lukewarm coffee here, we’re talking a full-blown sit-at-a-table-and-eat-with-fellow-C&Bers first thing in the morning and again in the middle of the day. Okay, “full-blown” means you get your food from a buffet, but it’s real food (you know, warm and requiring the use of silverware and everything!), and few things facilitate table conversation like standing in line with an empty plate and a healthy appetite.
Third, we believe informal discussion time is important, so we’ve incorporated it into the lunch break. A significant block of time (at least two hours) is set aside each afternoon for lunch and a “post-lunch activity.” The activity might be informally talking with C&Bers who face the same challenges you do, it might be going back to your room to catch up on email or to conference with remote colleagues (let’s face it, your work responsibilities won’t stop just because you’re at C&B), or it might be taking advantage of the on-site or nearby athletic opportunities to get your blood flowing again.
Herb, Andrei, and I take advantage of that blood flow during our technical sessions, which take place in the mornings and afternoons. These sessions focus on topics of special interest to professional developers and typically comprise new material, i.e., information we have never publicly presented or published. Topics at past C&Bs have included CPU caches, lambda expressions, CAS-based concurrency, the C++11 memory model, GPGPU programming, contemporary approaches to teaching C++, and more. (For details, consult the full schedules for C&B 2010, C&B 2011, and C&B 2012, as well as the selected videos from prior C++ and Beyonds.) Your suggestions for topics to be addressed are always welcome.