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The Conference of the Association for Software Testing (CAST)

Why aren’t there testing conferences in Seattle?

There are workgroups like QASIG, SASQAG, ASQ, SPIN, and OWASP, but no full-on conferences.

So, I decided to have one.

I’m a member of the Association of Software Testing. It’s a non-profit organization started two years ago by Cem Kaner and a handful of other software testing luminaries. There’s more than a handful of us now (about 180 members) and last year we had our first conference in Indianapolis. One hundred people attended the three-day program.

I was Program Chairman last year, helping to review papers and decide the conference schedule. But this year, I told the Association that I’d run for Conference President if they’d let me host the conference in Seattle. They agreed.

So, here we are, 9 months later, and we did it. We had a testing conference! Ok, it was in Bellevue, not Seattle, but it’s the thought that counts.

From July 9 – 11 at the Meydenbauer Center, members of the AST gathered along with anyone else who wanted to discuss this year’s theme: “Testing Techniques: Innovations and Applications.”

Highlights:

  • 176 attendees, featuring 18 sponsors
  • We held the second annual AST tester competition, sponsored by Microsoft. Thirteen teams competed for cash prizes totaling $2500. Each of the teams’ bugs was videotaped and categorized to post later on the CAST site.
  • We held the first Tester Exhibition, sponsored by Google and the brainchild of Google Software Test Engineer and noted Model-Based Testing expert Harry Robinson. The exhibition featured me, Harry, James Bach, Lydia Ash, Robert Sabourin, Danny Faught, Doug Hoffman, Mike Kelly and Scott Barber, assembled as a team to approach and discuss the testing of the CAST 2007 registration page. The aim was to show the audience how us so-called “experts” would handle a real testing problem, and invite them to play along.
  • Q and A sessions for each speaker during the conference were led by a trained facilitators, and each attendee had numbered, colored placards to raise when they either had a new question or wanted to add something to a question raised by another attendee.
  • The program featured 5-minute preambles for each speaker for the audience to get an idea of which talk they wanted to attend next.
  • There was a separate breakout room for conferring, in case a talk ran long and the speaker still had questions to answer.

In the next few weeks, the conference program will be published on the CAST site as well as artifacts from the testing competition. For details, go to http://www.associationforsoftwaretesting.org/conference/

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