Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Hosting DEBS 2011... In Westecheter County, NY

Yesterday evening the "open business meeting" of DEBS took place. This meeting is intended to draw lessons from the organizers of this year's conference, and obtain decisions about the next years' conferences. I participated in the business meeting two years ago in Toronto, where Mani Chandy and myself have challenged the DEBS organizers to extend the scope of the conference, and this seems to happen, the conference is shifting its focus from being mainly a "pub/sub" conference, to a conference that covers the entire aspects of event processing (I view pub/sub as an aspect). Last year in Rome, we suggested to host DEBS 2010 in Haifa, however, the decision was to do it in UK, and give us a chance to host DEBS 2011. Indeed, the next DEBS will take place in Cambridge, UK. In the meeting yesterday the decision about DEBS 2011 organization was to be decided. A day before, Arno Jacobsen, who is the person behind the DEBS conferences (chair of DEBS steering committee) addressed me and said that they still want me to organize DEBS 2011, but in the New York area instead of Haifa. He mentioned two reasons - the first one is that they want to rotate the conference between Europe and North-America, so in 2011, it should be held in North-America again, and the other reason is that people may be afraid to come to Israel, which will reduce the number of participants. This is an issue, since in Nashville we have a substantially less participants than we had last year in Rome, and they thought that NY is easily accessible place both to Americans and Europeans.

I think that the reason that there are less participants this time is a combination of the economic situation, which travel restrictions in many places (especially in industry), and the location, while the conference is in a nice setting, it needs connection flights even for some Americans. Another reason is that I think that most of the community in Europe is larger than the north american community, also a couple of participants had to cancel due to visa issues. We don't know what will be the economic atmosphere in 2011, but hope it will be changed. About the fact that the potential to have more participants in NY than in Haifa, I tend to agree. About the argument that people may be afraid to come to Israel, I stated my opinion publicly in the business meeting yesterday that this is a distorted perception that is a result of hostile media coverage in the western world. Personally I feel safer in Haifa than in Nashville and certainly safer than in London, New York, or Paris. Having said that, I am aware of the fact, that it is difficult to fight perceptions, see my posting (on another matter) about historic truth vs. archaeological truth

Bottom line -- together with my colleagues in IBM Watson Research Center, I agreed to organize DEBS 2o11, this will take place in one of the IBM sites in the NY areas, we still need to determine the exact location. Stay tuned.... Meanwhile, we still have to finish the DEBS 2009 and survive the next 2 years...


Rainer von Ammon said...

Some remarks regarding Haifa as a conference place: I visited IBM HRL this March 2009 together with 2 colleagues and we liked it very much.

It was my 3rd time in Israel since 2000.

I personally prefer new locations and not always the same.

I'm considering about organizing the 10th edBPM expert meeting in Haifa and I guess it would be as safe as in Regensburg.

Opher Etzion said...

Thanks Rainer. All people like you who visited us in the last few years admit that there is a distorted perception about how safe Israel is.

We should talk about doing an edBPM workshop in Israel, and try to involve the Israeli companies in this area.