Can you think of an event that sold out months ahead of time in Montreal and is the hottest ticket in town this weekend? Perhaps you’re thinking Arcade Fire concert acoustic in Casa del Popolo or Daft Punk at New City Gas… turns out (get ready)… its PyCon, a conference dedicated to the Python programming language.
Python is a programming language that started in the 1980s and takes its name from Monty Python. I’m sure you can see why Python is so popular, based on this fact alone. It emphasizes simplicity and beauty and is used (alongside other languages, of course) by Google, Yahoo, CERN, and NASA. Furthermore, it’s the main language for the Raspberry Pi.
Python users of all shapes and sizes rolled into Montreal this past week for the annual conference — PyCon 2014. This is the largest annual gathering for the Python community that uses and develops the Python programming language. The conference includes tutorial days (now over); the conference itself with talks, poster sessions, a job fair, and an expo (April 11-13); development sprints for different projects (April 14-17); and invitation only summits.
A number of keynote speakers are appearing at the conference. The creator of Python, Guido van Rossum, is speaking. Currently, he’s part of the team behind that ever useful software Dropbox. Another speaker is John Perry Barlow, who among other things was a songwriter for the Grateful Dead and a rancher. Currently, he runs the Electronic Frontier Foundation, an organization dedicated to protecting the free flow of information on the internet. A third keynote speaker, Jessica McKellar organizes the Boston Python User group, the largest Python user group in the world. Other speakers include Fernando Pérez and Van Lindberg.
PyCon talk sessions are obviously geared to those in the know, at least minimally. They address topics like scripting, computer servers, tools that one uses with Python, as well as some projects undertaken like programming an autonomous 20 foot blimp with Python. There are, of course, a few talks on bringing women into the fold. I’m not sure of the gender ratio at PyCon, but I’m guessing there will be significantly more men than women at the conference. The poster sessions similarly range from topics that focus on programming to the results of some Python projects… teaching Braille, music projects, and a recreation of the Battle of Trafalgar.
PyCon takes place at the Palais des congrès de Montréal (201 Viger Ave W) from April 9-17. Seems like the brew of choice is Dieu du Ciel.