Evening Panel Topics Confirmed

We have now confirmed details for the Monday, Wednesday, and Friday panels:

Monday 8:30pm: “Meet the Authors
Moderator: Chandler Carruth
Panelists: Ade Miller, Alex Allain, Kate Gregory, Pablo Halpern, Scott Meyers, Peter Sommerlad, Herb Sutter

Come to this panel to put your questions to many of the world’s top C++ published authors, and hear them discuss what they think is most important about C++ today. The CppCon 2014 program includes many of the world’s top C++ published authors, so we’re taking advantage of their being in town to bring them together in our opening panel for a discussion and Q&A session.

Wednesday 8:30pm: “Grill the Committee
Moderator: Jon Kalb
Panelists: Chandler Carruth, Nevin Liber, Alisdair Meredith, Herb Sutter, Michael Wong

What would you like to know about how the C++ Standard happens? The panel is made up of members of the C++ Standards Committee and the audience asks what’s on their mind.

Friday 2pm: “Paying for Lunch: C++ in the ManyCore Age
Moderator: Herb Sutter
Panelists: Jared Hoberock, Artur Laksberg, Ade Miller, Gor Nishanov, Michael Wong, Pablo Halpern

If you’re serious about efficient computation, from efficient battery-sipping apps on mobile devices to efficient use of compute cloud nodes, you need to know how to exploit the massive parallelism already available in all of today’s mainstream devices. Even small tablets and smartphones already contain multiple CPU/GPU cores and vector units. CppCon 2014 includes lots of talks about implementing such parallelism in C++ using existing products and techniques, and the standardization committee is actively working on standardizing several C++ extensions for concurrency and parallelism, including resumable functions, a Parallel STL, and transactional memory support. In this panel, we bring together several experts, including the primary authors of these products and standard specifications – in other words the who’s-who driving C++ parallelism forward – to discuss this topic across all devices and form factors, large and small.

Free Friday, Final Plenary Session

We previously announced that CppCon 2014 evening content (Mon-Thu 8:30pm onward) and early morning breakfast sessions (Tue-Fri 8:00-8:45) do not require registration. In addition, this year, we are making the whole of Friday free as well. If you’re in the Seattle area, you’ll want to swing by and enjoy the Friday end-note plenary session and the final panel with us. And the final plenary session will be:

Herb Sutter: “Back to the Basics! Essentials of Modern C++ Style

This talk revisits basic questions, such as how to declare and initialize a variable, how to pass a value to a function, how to write a simple loop, and how to use smart pointers, in the light of experience with C++11 and the latest C++14 refinements. This involves examining auto, rvalue references, range-for loops, uniform initialization, lambda expressions, unique_ptr and shared_ptr, and more.

CppCon 2014 Volunteers Wanted

If you would like to attend CppCon 2014, see great C++ content, and meet our speakers and attendees, but a week’s registration doesn’t fit your time or money budget, consider volunteering.

We are looking for volunteers to help run the conference. We need people to help assemble registration packets and badges, register attendees, assist speakers with Audio/Video, and in general be on hand to make things run smoothly. In exchange, we’ll see to it that you’ll spend at least half of your time in sessions. It would be great if you could join us for the whole week, but if you can only make it for one or two days, we can work with that. This is a particularly great opportunity for local students with an interest in C++. If you are interested or would like more information, please email volunteers@cppcon.org.

CppCon 2014 Call for Lightning Talks

On Tuesday, the evening program will include Lightning Talks – 4 talks of 15 minutes and 4 talks of 5 minutes. Expect fast paced fun with talks that are funny or intriguing from speakers at all experience levels.

If you’ve never seen a lighting talk before, check out this example (it’s just 4 and a half minutes long and funnier if you know Ruby or JavaScript) or search you tube for “lightning talk” to see a variety of examples. They cover a single topic and they start with the good stuff and make a point. Anyone can do one, but be sure to practice because 5 minutes goes by incredibly fast and 15 minutes isn’t much easier. If there’s one technique you wish everyone knew, one little known fact that should be well known, one tool that makes your life easier every day, or a collection of little things that you can fit into 5 or 15 minutes, you can propose a lighting talk, and you should.

We’ll be selecting the 8 sessions on Monday, Day 1 of the conference, from submissions we receive before and during the conference. Just email open-content@cppcon.org and tell us what you want to talk about, what length you need and a little bit about yourself. Even if you don’t plan to submit, plan to attend, it’s sure to be fun!

CppCon 2014 Open Content

Each evening the conference activities will break for dinner from 5:45 to 8:30, giving you time to head out and enjoy a meal with fellow attendees. But after eating, don’t head back for a boring night in your hotel room – come back to the venue for another 90 minutes of learning and networking!

Monday through Thursday from 8:30 pm to 10 pm is the evening program. Looser and less structured than the daytime program, it’s designed to get you engaged and give you opportunities that traditional sessions can’t offer. In our six rooms, one will hold a single “conference planned” session that spans the full 90 minutes, and the other five will hold open content, two 45-minute sessions per room. There will also be open content in all 6 rooms from 8:00am to 8:45 Tuesday through Friday.

The “conference planned” sessions are Meet the Authors Monday, Lightning Talks Tuesday, Grill the Committee Wednesday and Conference Planning Thursday. More details on each of these will be coming shortly.

Open content is just that, open! Attendees and speakers alike can propose sessions on anything that interests them. These might be a single facilitator leading a room through an exercise, activity or demo, a panel of 3-5 people taking questions from the room and answering them, a “hackathon” on a specific project, or an open conversation among the whole room. The projector is available (possibly to take collaborative notes, possibly to display content related to the exercise; typical slide presentations are not the best fit for open content sessions.)

Many of these “Birds of a Feather” talks will be proposed on site as the conference progresses. A speaker who gets a lot of post-talk questions may agree to host a Q&A session in the open content time. An attendee inspired by a session may host a session to explore a topic further or start on a group implementation of something. Some can be proposed in advance and with 64 slots to fill, our job will be easier if many of them are. To propose a session, simply email open-content@cppcon.org and tell us who you are and what you want a session about. If you have time constraints such as “after a specific session” or “not on the same day as a specific session” let us know in the email. (For example, someone who will be grilled at Grill The Committee Wednesday can’t do an open session Wednesday evening.)

These sessions will be open in another way too – evening content does not require conference registration. That’s right, everyone who is in the area is welcome to come and join us for all the evening sessions, including to propose or lead a session. This is part of our goal to be an inclusive conference for the entire C++ community.

Attendees will be able to express their interest in these sessions in advance, enabling us to schedule them and to select the most popular if we have more submissions than slots. More details on that will follow soon. For now, please email your submissions as soon as you can so that our planning work can get underway. See you in Bellevue!

Third Keynote

We have finalized the third keynote for CppCon 2014:

Mike Acton

Mike Acton: “Data-Oriented Design and C++

The transformation of data is the only purpose of any program. Common approaches in C++ which are antithetical to this goal will be presented in the context of a performance-critical domain (console game development). Additionally, limitations inherent in any C++ compiler and how that affects the practical use of the language when transforming that data will be demonstrated.

Speaker’s bio: Mike Acton is Engine Director at Insomniac Games. When he’s not searching for new ways to optimize Insomniac’s engine, he dreams up new ways to help the development community. Mike can often be found extolling the virtues of understanding the data and hardware first along with programming for performance.

Bonus Talk: C++ in MS Office

Tony Antoun, Igor Zaika: “How Microsoft Uses C++ to Deliver Office (and More) Across iOS, Android, Windows, and Mac

What does it take to target multiple major mobile devices (as well as traditional environments) with portable, efficient, single-source code? This talk demonstrates architectures, techniques, and lessons learned rooted in actual experience with using C++ to deliver several major cross-platform projects across iOS, Android, Windows, and Mac: Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote) and the SQL Server PowerBI. Each presents a different case study: For example, Office already used C++, whereas PowerBI was originally written in Silverlight and then rewritten in C++; Office is a set of user-facing apps, whereas PowerBI is a system component. Although some of these are demanding first-tier “Cadillac” applications, we expect this experience to be a model for the future as more and more apps fall into this category and use C++ to target many popular platforms from (mostly) a single source base.

This talk covers the following key topics and tradeoffs: Rich vs. reach, including access to latest OS features (e.g., iOS 8 additions) and hardware features (e.g., vector units, GPUs). Consistency of functionality. Client code vs. server/service web code. Sharing vs. quality, including dialing appropriately between more shared code and high quality code. Drawing the line between the bulk of C++ code and interfacing with non-C++ for UX and PALs (platform adaptation/abstraction layers) for target-specific user interface and system services. Architecting PALs, including why “mini-PALs” rather than an “über-PAL.” Forcing “doing the right thing” and good architecture with composable components. How C++ enables things not feasible using other technologies. Velocity and enabling faster cross-platform development and deployment. Cost of maintenance, including time, size, and complexity (both breadth and depth). And, last but not least, developing in a single modern C++ source base built with different evolving C++ compilers, including VC++ and Clang/LLVM.

Speakers’ bio: Tony Antoun is Director of Development for APEX, focusing on delivering Office on all Apple platforms and form factors (iPhone, iPad, Mac), as well as aligning the Office experience on other major platforms (Win32, WinRT, Android). Before that, Dev Manager for SQL PowerBI – a cross-platform interactive client data visualization solution (iOS, WinRT, Web) connected to the SQL Reporting cloud service. Before that, Dev Manager for HD-DVD, cross-platform client solution for High Definition interactivity of media experiences (Win32, WinCE, Linux, Xbox).

Igor Zaika is the Development Manager for the Office Core Experience team at Microsoft, responsible for shared UX components and application framework used by Office applications. Before that, Igor worked in various areas related to Office client applications, ranging from building Word Object Model and integrating VBA (Visual Basic for Applications) with Office, to shipping first version of OneNote for the WinRT platform. Before joining Microsoft, Igor worked on 3D CAD application and contributed to the Kronos project.

Bonus Talks: C++ at Facebook

We left a few slots in the CppCon 2014 program for what we call “invited talks”. They are used to fill in important but otherwise under-represented topics (such as game development, mobile and embedded systems, etc) or generally interesting and unusual uses of C++. Today we are ready to announce the first two invited talks which are on Facebook’s heavy use of C++ in their server infrastructure:

Marcelo Juchem: “Meta Techniques: Heterogeneous Polymorphism and Fast Prototyping at Facebook

As data driven systems evolve there’s an ever growing demand for bringing new functionality into existing systems in an efficient, maintainable and least intrusive manner. When implementing features with different semantics or interfaces, virtual inheritance requires a compromise between design simplicity and performance. This implies a need for new techniques to achieve heterogeneous polymorphism efficiently. With C++11 and 14, type lists, type maps and variants can now be trivially implemented by the initiated. Facebook moves fast so we quickly adopted the new standards to further explore the capabilities of the type system. This talk demonstrates some meta-programming techniques like reflection and compile-time built structures to achieve heterogeneous polymorphism and fast prototyping.

Speaker’s bio: Marcelo Juchem is a Software Engineer at Facebook, working in stream processing and spam fighting systems. Fascinated by template meta-programming, he sees the C++ compiler as a powerful type juggler and programmable code generator. Such capabilities allow the combinatoric composition of types into efficient abstractions, reducing code duplication and enabling non-library writers to design logical components interaction and semantics rather than deal with low level details.

Drew Paroski: “C++@Facebook: How HHVM Uses Modern C++ for Fun and Profit (Both Literally)

After an overview of HHVM’s architecture and history, this talk delves into what made C++ the language of choice when writing VMs and execution engines, including performance, benefits over assembly, and enabling C++ to call into JIT’d code. We cover the importance of control over ‘unsafe’ details: for memory layout, unions, casting, and bit-stealing. HHVM found important wins from being able to ensure that certain structures (Classes) are allocated in low-memory (i.e. addresses that fit within 32-bits) which allowed use of 32-bit immediates in machine code and 32-bit fields in objects. Also, being able to have fine control over memory allocation enabled having “huge pages”, a feature exposed in Linux (and other OSes) that allowed using fewer iTLB entries which gave a significant boost for Facebook’s PHP codebase. The talk will also mention some things that got in the way and how they were dealt with. Some were language features, such as virtual functions, member pointers. Before move constructors and rvalues were introduced in C++11, there were performance issues with returning smart pointers. While these were things that got in the way, it’s a testament to C++’s flexibility that there were always ways to work around these things in a stable fashion.

Speaker’s bio: Drew Paroski is a Software Engineer at Facebook and a co-creator of the HipHop Virtual Machine (HHVM) and the Hack programming language. Among other things, Drew is the primary designer and implementor of HHVM’s virtual instruction set architecture and Hack’s Collections framework, and he was a core contributor to HHVM’s JIT compiler in the early days of the project. Before Facebook, Drew worked at Microsoft helping improve the performance of Microsoft’s virtual machine for .NET languages (C#, VB.NET, F#, and more) known as the Common Language Runtime. Drew has been coding in C++ for over 10 years, and he enjoys designing and optimizing complex low-level systems.