This week I had the opportunity to attend ACM SIGOPS HotOS ’17. This is a workshop that focuses on discussing work in some stage of progress. The papers are not as polished as one would find at a full conference and in some cases they are more about being provocative – encouraging the reader to consider some existing problem in a new light.
It is a small function, with a limited number of people invited. Because I am working with one of the people involved in organizing it, when an opportunity to help out arose I was invited to attend. My role was to help out with various functions, including assisting in the live blogging of the workshop (hotos17.tumblr.com) as well as leading tours, handling registration, and generally being part of making the participants feel welcome.
It also provided an opportunity to begin learning more about members of the research community. Several things surprised me somewhat: (1) these are highly specialized researchers. The field is broad enough that there were only ever a handful of experts in any one aspect of it as the discussions and papers flowed around. (2) I was able to actually really understand a couple of the talks. One of them made me angry, partially because it was an attack on people not present that I know. Still, many of the talks were in areas where I only had general understanding, not a specific understanding of the subject matter.
The one talk that annoyed me? Transactional file systems!