A computing conference hosted in Aberdeen attracted a record number of delegates earlier this month.

The University of Aberdeen hosted over 300 delegates at the 24th Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education (ITiCSE) Conference.

The event, sponsored by the main computing science society (the Association for Computing Machinery – ACM) Special Interest Group on Computer Science Education (SIGCSE), along with the Scottish Informatics & Computer Science Alliance – SICSA, and a number of industry sponsors, originally expected to attract up to 180 delegates but have more than exceeded expectations with numbers rising to over 300. This broke new records for paper submissions, and has easily broken the record for ITiCSE conference registrations too.

Dr Bruce Scharlau, Event Chair and Lecturer in Computing Science, School of Natural & Computer Sciences at the University of Aberdeen, said: “The most important part of the conference is the ability for us to create opportunities for discussion and debate between participants. We make the space for people to hear and discuss ideas, which they can take back to their classrooms, while also providing social situations for friendships to form, and collaborations to emerge.”

The event featured two female keynote speakers from the world of software design. Kate Stone has created experiences for large brands as part of advertising campaigns, working with Pizza Hut, McDonalds, Bud Light, Hersheys and IKEA. And Marian Petre, Professor of Computing at the Open University, held a Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award in recognition of her research on the nature of expertise in software design.  

Julie Dixon, Business Development Officer, and Event Organiser at the University of Aberdeen, said “We are thrilled to have exceeded our delegate numbers. This meant we had to make a few last minute changes to venues etc but it’s a great position to be in and it was fantastic event! This increase not only impacts organisational logistics, but also increases our revenue, reputation, uptake on hotels and excursions and ultimately boosting Aberdeen City economy which is amazing. We love to give delegates a Scottish Experience which is very attractive, particularly to an international audience, and it’s given us a great opportunity to show case Aberdeen city’s facilities and attractions.”

She added: “We’re delighted to have had sponsorship and exhibitions from companies such as GitHub, Google, Springer and Mendix, as well as travel and subsistence grants for some students from SICSA. We have also had great local support; a civic reception, hosted by the Lord Provost, which was held at the city’s Beach Ballroom to officially welcome delegates and speakers, and the University Principal officially opened the event using the University’s largest lecture theatre, Arts Lecture theatre.”

The main hub for the conference was Elphinstone Hall at the university but the event was spread out across 15 parallel sessions. In terms of the delegate programme, Grampian Escapes and Tours operator ran afternoon excursions.CPD & Event Services organised the conference in terms of overall event management, budgets, venues and delegate registrations.