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The World (of IT) Heads To Austin

Posted by johnreynolds on April 28, 2006 at 11:17 AM PDT

The World Conference on Information Technology (WCIT) is coming to Austin this year... and it should be a lot of fun. This event is held every other year in a different locale (this is the 15th edition). The last conference was held in Greece and the next (2008) will be held in Malaysia.

I've been volunteering for the event over the past week or so (doing some mundane tasks that just have to get done) and I will be helping out during the event itself. There is a tremendous amount of work that goes on behind the scenes... WCIT2006 professional staffers have been working on this event for two years and there are still a million little loose ends to tie up.

The logistics for WCIT2006 are being spear-headed by the brother and sister team of Lucas and Courtenay Daniels... they've got a handful of full-time staff to help them, and they've got an unruly band of volunteers like me to contend with (the phrase "herding cats" comes to mind).

Lucas and Courtenay have been in the convention business for many years, but Lucas confided in me that this event is in a league of its own... over 2,000 delegates are coming from over 80 countries.

The WCIT 2006 speaker roster includes the following:

  • Steve Ballmer, CEO, Microsoft
  • John S. Chen, Chairman, CEO and president of Sybase, Inc.
  • Dato’ Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Prime Minister of Malaysia
  • Michael Dell, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Dell Inc.
  • Anne M. Mulcahy, Chairman and CEO, Xerox Corporation
  • Professor Nicholas Negroponte, co-founder and chairman Emeritus, MIT Media Laboratory and Chairman, One Laptop per Child
  • Paul Otellini, CEO of Intel
  • Gen. Colin Powell (ret.), former United States Secretary of State
  • Hector Ruiz, Chairman of the Board, President and CEO of AMD
  • John W. Thompson, chairman of the board of directors and chief executive officer of Symantec Corporation

This is an impressive list of speakers, but what's really neat are the topics they will be focussing on:

  1. Privacy and security in an increasingly un-private world
  2. Digital access for everyone
  3. Improved heathcare through IT

All three tracks are of interest, but I have to admit that the "coolness" factor goes to the "digital access" track: Nicholas Negroponte will be plugging his $100 laptop and (really cool) AMD is giving away Personal Internet Communicators (PIC) to every delegate.

AMD PIC (I'm hoping that volunteers get one too)

It is going to be a busy week... with many sessions, keynotes, and even parties to attend, but hopefully I'll be able to blog the highlights from down here in Austin ;-)

(cross posted at The Thoughtful Programmer)

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