YAPC::NA::2007 Boston Bid

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The Boston.pm bid follows:

Update: Applied some formatting updates from Bob Clancy to address cut-off columns on some tables.


YAPC::NA 2007 Proposal - Boston, MA


Boston is offering two possible venues for YAPC::NA::2007. In this proposal, we are using some of our research from our bid last
year, and have added an excellent new venue. Our new venue selection
is Northeastern University (NU). We have the support of a professor
and a Dean from the College of Computer and Information Sciences at NU.

We also have found support at MIT (like last year), but not yet at the same level as we currently have at Northeastern University.

No matter which venue we end up using, we plan to introduce a new ``Perl for Bioinformatics'' track.

We will continue seeking for additional participation from each university, as well as expanding the conference planning team for
the bioinformatics track among other academic institutions and
biotech companies in our area.

We feel bioinformatics is an area the Perl Foundation should begin focusing on. We need to work hand-in-hand with bioinformaticists
as a method of 1) promoting Perl, and 2) learning how Perl may
need to adapt as computational needs change in the 21st century.

The traditional needs for the YAPC::NA conference still exist. Boston and Cambridge have a high concentration of academic institutions
and is an area where we need to promote Perl among academics and
the influential computing scientists of tomorrow. Boston is also
an area with a concentrated and entrepeneurial high-tech industry.
Many startups make heavy use of Perl and open source software.
We have to provide an economical, high-content, qualiity Perl
conference in this area to keep Perl in the minds of those creating
these emerging opportunities, in medicine, academic research, and
tomorrow's high-tech companies. Boston is one of the few areas in
the country where all these forces intersect.


Going through the criteria from http://yapc.org/yapc-crit.txt.

Estimated Costs

We are confident we can run at $100/head. Estimates below amortize fixed costs across an audience of between 250 and 400 people. In
practice, we expect to exceed 250 people, and we are treating 400
as the upper bound of what our facilities can handle.

Site 1: Northeastern University

Northeastern is offering rates better than what we had last year for U-Mass-Boston while offering more flexibility in the rooms we
will use. They are definitely a good value, and with support of a
Dean and a Professor, we qualify for their internal rates.
Northeastern will also allow us to write up a formal justification
for lower rates, which we will investigate doing. If the boston.pm
proposal comes in at a significant;y higher per-person cost than
competing cities, we can use this as an argument in the formal
justification we submit to Northeastern University. (We plan on
doing this at the request of The Perl Foundation, after they
compare our bid with others, and before they make a final decision
on which city is chosen.) Since YAS and The Perl Foundation are
non-profits, and we have support of a dean at Northeastern
University, we believe we will stand a good chance at getting
competitive facility rates. Another idea we are considering in the
reduced cost justification, is to give some percentage of what we
save back to the academic community in the form of scholarships to
the conference.

We have spoken with the conference planning staff at NU, about how we would structure a conference based on min and max numbers of 250
and 400 attendees. Bascially we would design a contract planning
for the higher number, with a clause to renegotiate to a lower
number at a projected future date. Below is a best-effort
estimate using established rates and our experience in submitting
a bid for the second time. Actual plans for speific dates and
specific rooms cannot occur until we have an indication that we are
close to winning the bid.


The main costs in doing a conference are:

    Estimated meeting room Costs for 250 attendees        $12910.00
    Estimated meeting room Costs for 400 attendees        $17950.00
    Estimated Banquet Costs for 250 attendees              $8750.00
    Estimated Banquet Costs for 400 attendees             $14000.00
    Estimated University staff Costs                          $0.00
    Estimated A/V Costs                                     $360.00
    Estimated speaker Costs                                     TBD
    Estimated Signage Costs                                 $160.00
    Total Estimated Costs for 250 attendees  (88.72 ea.)  $22180.00

    Total Estimated Costs for 400 attendees  (81.175 ea.) $32470.00

The per-person price above is shown in parenthesis before the right-most column of the table above. If we charge $100 per person
as conference admission, we should be able to afford the conference
with a small margin of profit for The Perl Foundation. Costs that
we can probably further reduce are room costs and banquet costs.
We priced the banquet in the midpoint of the expected range. We
can reduce this to the lower end of the expected range. As
mentioned earlier, we can request lower room rates if competing
bids show that this is warranted. The above does not include any
continental breakfast or boxed lunches. The costs for these are as

    Continental breakfast    $5-6 per person
    Boxed Lunch              $10-12 per person

We can probably do without the continental breakfast, and sell tickets for boxed lunches as part of the registration package.

At NU, A/V facilities are included in the cost of the rooms. Classrooms average about $70/hr for a 40-50 person room. There
are similarly-priced rooms in the Curry Student Center which
houses two areas that could be used for the conference, The prices
for these rooms are:

VENUE                 SQ FT  L x W              THEATER  CLASSROOM   BANQUET RECEPTION
CSC      Ballroom          4,018  82'10" x 49'11"  300     150       200      325
CSC      West Addition     7,726  100'2" x 77'10"  350     n/a       300      500
CSC      Indoor Quad      11,314  139'4" x 79'     n/a     n/a       n/a      400
CSC      McLeod Suite      2,341  66' 9" x 35'     150     120       120      170
CSC          318             790  35' 1" x 22'5"    50      40        40       50
CSC          320             776  35' 1" x 22'11"   50      40        40       50
CSC          322             798  35' 3" x 22'6"    50      40        40       50

Meeting Room Costs

Assuming we book the Ballroom (4 hours on one day), plus for 3 days, we use the McLeod Suite (as 2-3 classrooms), and also use two
additional classrooms, our room costs for the conference would come
out to:

    McLeod Suite per hour (entire suite)
        $150.00/hr x 8 hrs X 3 days                        $4800.00
    Other Classrooms (for 130 additional people)
        (4 rooms @ 70/hr x 24h)                            $6720.00
    Other Classrooms (for 280 additional people)
        (7 rooms @ 70/hr x 24h)                           $11760.00
    Ballroom for 4 hours                                    $550.00
    Terminal Room and Staff area
        (lockable and alarmed, $35/hr x 24 h4)              $840.00
    Total Estimated meeting room Costs                    $12910.00

Banquet Costs

The Northeastern University Conference staff estimates that the banquet costs (including room) should run between $25 - $45 per
plate. Our estimates from last years planning/research bear this
out. We will choose the midpoint for our estimate:

    Total Estimated Banquet Costs
        (at $35/plate x 250 people)                        $8750.00
    Total Estimated Banquet Costs
        (at $35/plate x 400 people)                       $14000.00

Possible University Staff Costs

If we have the conference on a Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, University staff will be present and it will not cost us extra.
During the summers, NU gives their staff a day off on Fridays. If
alcohol were to be served, there would be additional costs such as
a police detail, but we not be doing that anyway in order to keep
the cost down. Other costs such as janitorial are already
included in the price of the room.

    Total Estimated University staff Costs                    $0.00

A/V costs

We expect our A/V costs to the University to be zero, but the university has a Media Studio (used by students). We may want to
hire some students to help with the media. In doing so, those
students will have access to the A/V-media equipment of the Media
Studio, and they will be able to use this equipment for free on our
behalf. Assuming we hire these students for 9 hours per day times
4 rooms, at $10/hr, the cost would be $360.00 for A/V.

    Total Estimated A/V Costs                               $360.00

Speaker Costs

Speaker costs are relatively constant for a given conference from year to year (after adjusting for inflation). Rather than include
a wrong guess, we will just ask The Perl Foundation to use
historical costs and deduct such costs from the difference of our
other costs and the conference price. There should be plenty of
wiggle-room in our budget for this item.

    Total Estimated speaker Costs                               TBD

Other Costs

Northeastern University has a sign shop which can produce signage for us at a reasonable rate. Indoor signs are $24/sign, and
outdoor (waterproof) signs are $40-$50 per sign. We may be able to
find ways to lower this cost, but for the purposes of estimation,
we will include one eternal and 5 internal signs as a
representative cost.

    Total Estimated Signage Costs                           $160.00

Site 2: Massachusetts Institute of Technology

We are in discussion with a couple of MIT faculty/affiliates. MIT would be a great location for YAPC. But we do not yet
have enough information to form a budget for this
site possibility. (We were thinking we had another month to
get this information in the bid,) We'll offer a good-faith
promise to continue persuing MIT upon request of The Perl
Foundation (and before any other contract would be signed).

Readily Accessible Location

Logan airport is served by almost every major US airline. (The exception, Southwest, serves two nearby airports: Manchester, NH
and Providence, RI.) There is good coverage of international

For east-coasters, Amtrak provides service. For much of the rest of the country, Amtrak pretends to provide service.

For the car-bound, it is easily possible to drive into Boston. Parking is pricey, but available.

Public Transportation

Boston has one of the better public transportation systems in the US. The MBTA, http://www.mbta.com, (``the T'' for short)
provides subway and bus service throughout eastern Massachusetts.

All of the sites we are considering have one or more subway lines within a 5 minute or less walk from the conference/dorm locations.
The airport and train stations have good connections to the subway.
There are also T-busses running directly through each campus, and
a T-bus station at Northeastern University.


Northeastern University

Northeastern University has two major areas on campus where we could hold the conference. The most likely place is in the Curry
Student Center (hereafter referred to as ``CSC'') which was
explicitly designed for this purpose. The CSC has a ballroom,
another area capable of seating 150 or dividable into three
50-seat classrooms, plus another 40-seat classroom. There is also
an area downstairs that can be set up for our dinner, and we have
the option of holding the dinner off-site. There are also
classrooms in buildings adjacent to the CSC and these are all
connected underground via a tunnel system. A/V facilities are


MIT will not commit at this time to what facilities would be available in summer 2007. The most likely scenario would be to
hold plenary sessions in one of the lecture halls (there are at
least five candidates that can hold over 300) and tracks in small
lecture halls or large classrooms. There will probably be a bit of
walking from one room to the other, depending on exactly what is
available to us.

The rooms we would use have A/V and internet connections. Most are air-conditioned, or in buildings with heavy thermal mass that stay
cool on their own.

The student center has a large space that can easily accommodate the banquet. We also have the possibility of holding the banquet
at a corporate site in Kendall Square, adjacent to campus.

MIT has a variety of interesting displays on campus, plus the MIT Museum. It is a short walk to the Boston Science Museum. The
Kendall Square restaurant district is a short walk, and the Central
Square restaurant/club district is a bit further.

Internet Access

MIT has free wi-fi access everywhere on the campus. Northeastern has internet access everywhere but not wi-fi everywhere. They
are not as restrictive as U-Mass was regarding us providing our
own wi-fi access, for example in the terminal room. During our
conversations with the NU conference staff, we did not discuss
whether wi-fi exists in the classrooms. We should be able to
get wi-fi where it is currently available without any cost.
In the dorms, there will be wired and wi-fi access. Not sure
which are in which dorms, but we'll get wi-fi if/where we can.
If we know ahead of time that there will be dorms without
wi-fi access we will alert some Perl Mongers who will be
attending to bring some wi-fi routers.

New Location


Affordable Dorms and Hotels

For the Northeastern University site, we can use NU dorms during the summer. They have single dorms at $55/day, and doubles at
$42/person per day. They also have apartments with 2 and 3 single
bedrooms, which rent out at $130 and $195 per apartment per day,
with the option of adding additional people (up to 5 total) in
each apartment. As an example: putting 4 in a double apartment,
or 5 in a triple apartment, the cost would $47.50 or $51 per
person/day. This averages out to around $50 with early-birds
sharing a double getting the best rate,

If we need to, we can arrange for overflow housing using Lesley College dorms if we choose MIT as the venue, or Simmons College if
we choose Northeastern University as the venue, Both MIT and
Lesley are on the MBTA red-line, an both Northeastern and Simmons
are on the green-line. Each are only a few stops away on a single
train with no changing trains. Last year's rates for each of these
alternate housing choices ranged between $45-60 per person per
night. Beyond this, there are Boston area hotels, which are
pricey, but there should be plenty of capacity for last minute
registrants. If need be, some boston.pm members can keep some
people in our homes/apartments.

Quality of Host Committee

Uri Guttman has been Socialist Czar for the last 4 YAPCs. Our committee has about 5-7 members who have been working on the YAPC
proposals. We have learned how to distribute the work and call for
additional volunteers as the workload gets heavier our outside the
capacity of any current volunteer. Boston.pm has over 50 members
and is very active with monthly technical meetings and regular
social meetings. We will be drawing on our members for help in
running YAPC. We will also attempt to find volunteers from outside
of boston.pm with computational biology experience to help with
the bioinformatics track. We have several leads already, but we do
not want to solicit this support before winning the bid. Our team
is also smart enough to research past YAPC's and to seek advice
from past organizers as a way to learn how to make YAPC better.

Tourist Activities

Boston is famous for its tea parties, and for its shots heard around the world. Boston used to be :-) home to the World
Champions in baseball, for a sufficiently narrow definition of the
world. Eastern Massachusetts is geek heaven, as measured by the
``Historic Universities per Square Mile'' index. MIT and Harvard
start the list, and the runners-up are not too shabby either.

Tourism name-dropping is easy in Boston: Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket, Kennebunk, Providence, White Mountains, etc.
For those who have more time on their hands, many excellent
locations are available within a two-hour drive of Boston.

Upon winning this bid, we will enlist volunteers to build links for tourism ideas on our wiki page, so that potential conference-goers
can plan an itinerary well in advance of next June.


The Boston.PM YAPC Committee currently consists of

  Bob Clancy <bob dot clancy at verizon dot net>
  Emily Chew <threexonefourone at gmail dot com>
  John Macdonald <john at perlwolf dot com>
  john saylor <johns at worldwinner dot com>
  Kenneth A Graves <kag at citysource dot com>
  Kripa Sundar <ksundar at synopsys dot COM>
  Ronald J Kimball <rjk-bostonpm at tamias dot net>
  Uri Guttman <uri at stemsystems dot com>
  William Ricker <William dot Ricker at FMR dot COM> aka qw{wdr n1vux BillRicker}

We can collectively be reached at boston-pm-yapc-vol at six.pairlist.net

1 Comment

I don't know if there's any "official" way to give input and I'm still really new to the Perl community, so hopefully I'm not over-stepping my bounds. I looked at all the proposals and I think all of them are really good. However, I liked Boston's proposal most because I agree that "we need to promote Perl among academics and the influential computing scientists of tomorrow."

I graduated with Linguistics at UC San Diego a year ago, and now work for a company founded by some CS people from UCSD. While I use Perl to create tools to make my life easier at work, it has been hard to get through to my co-workers (all CS people) that Perl is also useful for building large applications and solving many different kinds of problems, including those at work. I have been somewhat successful in showing Perl's versatility (showing off my one-liner skills, mostly), but there's a long way to go before it would be considered by my company, a data mining company which currently uses Java.

Since virtually everyone I work with is either a CS major, grad, or affiliate, I think that focusing on academia is a good way to influence the presence of Perl in the workplace. I took about five CS courses at UCSD (which isn't much, I know) and Perl wasn't mentioned in any of them. When I did mention it to others in CS classes, it was categorized the same way I later saw at work: only a scripting language, not capable of "real work". In the Ling Dept, there's only one computational linguistics class, and that's taught using Python. Talking with my Ling professors, some of them have heard of Perl, but I don't know any who use it. I believe this lack of visibility and understanding of Perl isn't because of Perl's capabilities. I know Perl can be used successfully for pedagogical and research purposes in both departments, but it hasn't been.

Perl can gain a foothold in many different departments (including the two I mentioned) by showing its usefulness in solving research problems. Since Boston's proposal shows strong support from an institution of higher learning, I think that this would be a good opportunity to do so.

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This page contains a single entry by Jim Brandt published on August 4, 2006 6:00 PM.

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