YAPC::NA::2007 Boston Bid

Category: Conferences

Comments (1)

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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