2020
technology
and beyond
Online edition
6 - 9 October
Creating
top quality
software
is
much more
than writing
code
About the conference

For the fifth edition of the Astea Conference we went beyond technology and looked at the whole spectrum of software development. There are no precise boundaries: it all starts with Analysis, then comes Design and Implementation, and finally there is Testing and Maintenance. No wonder that behind every great software product is a great multifaceted team responsible for project development, management, and communication.

Thank you for joining us on our journey beyond technology where leading IT experts shared their experience and best practices.

2020 - Online Edition

The Astea Conference came back in October in online mode. đź’»

(For the first time) this event was held over 4 sessions of 120 minutes each (11am - 1pm EDT) from 6 through 9 October.

This new and more flexible format allowed us to make the experience more accessible, comfortable, and enjoyable for all participants. The lecturers had full control over the quality of their presentations, and the audience had the opportunity to participate in virtual games and networking.

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Who is it for?

Developers
QA Engineers
Business Analysts
UX/UI Designers
Team Leads
Project Managers

Speakers

Schedule

06 October
06 Oct
Opening address
Cognitive Engineering: Reverse-Engineering the Mind to Fit It and Extend It

Brad Paley

Cognitive Engineering is the application of scientific findings and engineering principles and patterns to cognition. If we understand how people perceive and think we can engineer interfaces that engage minds in a more natural and effective manner. The Cognitive Engineering Design Methodology, parallel to and distinct from convention-driven UX and commercially-driven branding, have resulted in significant--almost--paradoxical improvements: 6,000 nodes and 20,000 links in a digraph that shows both global trends and individual connections; 20:1 speedups that people find more comfortable; 50x the data density in visual representations which nonetheless evoke insights better; data tools that telegraph meaning yet draw crowds in art museums

This talk will show examples of these results and teach a bit of how they work. It will also present a case that coupling human minds with computers this tightly extends our intellectual reach--perhaps to problems we currently think intractable--much as a geometer's pencil enables solutions the geometer (and the pencil!) could not arrive at alone.

Digital Pearl Harbor and why information security is so important

Bozhidar Bozhanov

We will examine why the level of information security is so important not only for specific organizations but for the development of our digital society as a whole. Is there a digital “Pearl Harbor” and will it take a catastrophic event with physical damages to realize that we are building the digital future on unstable foundations. The presentation will also contain technical specifics about the components we can improve in the systems we create and use.

07 October
07 Oct
Escape-Driven Development

Nadezhda Danabasheva

Escape room games are like a concise crash course on product development. In one hour you can quickly spot the strengths and weaknesses of your team and the process you are all used to, as well as how to improve it and make it easier and more engaging. Is there a weak link in your team, do you all know your personal strengths, why do you fail to deliver the product on time, how do you perform under pressure… You can find all the answers after spending an hour trying to escape from a dark room by solving puzzles and riddles. Nadezhda will share why her experience with escape rooms makes her a better manager, professional and a better human being in general.

Floating through the clouds

Nikolay Tsvetinov

From the basement filled with servers and switches we somehow rose into the clouds. And we float amidst them, and we scale and design… We as programmers, theoreticians and mathematicians had to learn how to fly and evolve into the mythical creature “DevOps”- someone who floats in the clouds and fixes various cloud issues while companies spend crazy amounts of money on Amazon, for example. I want to talk about AWS and the utility of such services, like Azure and Google Cloud. I want to talk about the path a programmer takes to become a DevOps (as there is no other starting point) and which one is more difficult. Truth is, manual server maintenance can be challenging if the system is gigantic. But there is no silver bullet and sometimes cloud services are not suitable. All in all, this talk will be about my personal floating in the clouds as that is all I have been doing lately (apart from staring at the wall in the meantime).

The State of Angular

Minko Gechev

In this talk we'll look at the theory behind Angular. At the beginning of the presentation we'll focus on static versus dynamic systems and explain what place Angular takes in the entire spectrum. We'll discuss different processes involved in the development of open source software, and look into the motivation behind technical decisions shaping the direction of the framework.

08 October
08 Oct
Why do we actually study?

Atanas Semerdzhiev

We live in a time where access to facts and information is becoming easier and faster. Sometimes people are getting the feeling that the time they spend studying is “lost” because everything they will ever need is just a few clicks away. Is this really the case? Or is it not that simple and people are actually required to invest more time in their preparation in order to operate efficiently and effectively in the new world?

Multitasking - Processes, Threads and Fibers

Marian Marinov

Multitasking is hard and if possible should be avoided. This is something that experienced devs and architects know quite well. In this talk Marian will present the difference between implementing multitasking with multiple processes, multiple threads in a single process or with fibers (coroutines) in a single process. You will learn about the benefits, problems and locking issues with each of them. Example programs will be provided in Marian's github account.

How does data distort education?

Ivan Gospodinov

The accumulation of more and more data about the usage of educational software by modern students contributes to the changes in teaching methods. However, in some cases introduction of technology can lead to reduced student performance. In his talk Ivan Gospodinov will present some contemporary academic critiques on the use of digital tools and the so called datafication of education. When does the digital learning environment support self-education and when does it simplify the learning process and reduce its quality? What principles must an educational software adopt in order to meet the criteria for quality education?

09 October
09 Oct
Are you flexible or are you Agile?

Kalin Georgiev, Trifon Trifonov

Thirty years ago, the concept of Agile software development was revolutionary. Today it is so widespread that it is almost considered an industry standard. Immersed in processes, frameworks, and methodologies we sometimes tend to forget what it really means to be Agile. We will explore an approach for establishing the “Spirit of Agile” as a core value even in a strict environment with seemingly inflexible constraints on the process, time, and budget, and hopefully make the experience and collaboration of teams and clients more successful and enjoyable.
Market Validation at the Early Stage: a Venture Capital Perspective

David Cremin

David Cremin has been a venture capital fund manager for 22 years. Having funded over 100 businesses during his career, he has developed a perspective on how early stage companies can assess market opportunities for products or services. How do you design your product? Why do you decide to build it? How do you sell it? What processes should you use? Should you even decide to launch this effort?

Closing

Frequently Asked Questions

Why online?
After the first four physical editions of the conference, we decided to try out an online format given its potential; specifically, to organize an event that is accessible, comfortable, and enjoyable for all participants. We made an event that was far more than just a video series to watch while cooking.
Did COVID-19 make you rethink the conference format?
The social distancing measures imposed by COVID-19 gave us a reason to consider the online format, but we also took into account many other factors. Indeed, COVID-19 has changed the way public events are held.
How will you make up for the lack of personal contact in online events?
In our previous editions of the Astea Conference, we demonstrated that we have plenty of ideas on how to turn a conference into a fun experience - such as the CSS Challenge, the Conference Bingo game, the piece-together-strings-of-code game… We introduced such interactive elements for the online edition as well. They were accepted with great interest by the audience.
How will you guarantee the audio and video quality?
We broadcasted the lectures from a preset location using reliable audio and video equipment. This minimized the risk of Internet connection interruptions, poor microphone sound, and cats passing in front of the monitor. For the latter we were not sure that it was a good idea.