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OOPSLA 2001 is fast approaching and it’s time to share some OOPSLA trivia to you get in the OOPSLA mood. If I got any of this wrong or if you have some other information about OOPSLA that you would like me to post please send email to chair@oopsla.acm.org

Linda Northrop
OOPSLA 2001 Conference Chair


  • OOPSLA stands for object-oriented programming, systems, languages, and applications.
  • OOPSLA is the premier conference for object technology and is unique in that is designed for object researchers and practitioners. It is neither a trade show nor strictly a research forum.
  • OOPSLA attendance over the last five years has ranged from 2256 to 2725.
  • OOPSLA has many technical event types that appeal to a broad range of interests and expertise. OOPSLA 2001 will feature 15 different event types.
  • OOPSLA provides unparalleled opportunities for networking — meeting new colleagues that share technical interests and socializing with old friends. OOPSLA 2001 will host three receptions and a special event at the Florida Aquarium.

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OOPSLA History

  • This is the sixteenth OOPSLA.
  • The first OOPSLA was held in Portland, Oregon in 1986. There were 50 technical papers. Among these pioneer authors were Allen Wirfs-Brock, Mario Tokoro, Ralph Johnson, Dave Thomas, John Pugh, Dan Ingalls, Kent Beck, Ward Cunningham, Ivar Jacobson, and Bertrand Meyer — all have played a major role in the OOPSLA’s that followed. There were six panels including "The Learnability of Object-Oriented Programming Systems" with Kent Beck as a panelist and "Object-Oriented Programming without an Object-Oriented Language," with Grady Booch as a panelist. Kent and Grady have expressed their views on many panels at subsequent OOPSLA’s. Kristen Nygaard, one of the inventors of Simula, was the opening keynote speaker. Kristen is an invited speaker at this year’s Educators’ Symposium.
  • Many object innovations had their roots and/or were first made public at OOPSLA. For example, the seminal patterns paper associated with object technology, "Using Pattern Languages for Object-Oriented Program," by Kent Beck and Ward Cunningham, was submitted to the OOPSLA ’87 workshop on the Specification and Design for Object-Oriented Programming.
  • At OOPSLA ’95, Grady Booch, Ivar Jacobson, and Jim Rumbough announced they were joining forces. Grady gave up his clouds, Jim sang a song, and they became the three amigos. UML was the eventual outcome.
  • There was one joint ECOOP and OOPSLA in Ottawa, Canada in 1990.
  • OOPSLA has been held in exactly two cities twice. OOPSLA ’86 and OOPSLA ’94 were in Portland, OR. OOPSLA ’92 and OOPSLA ’98 were in Vancouver, Canada.
  • OOPSLA has been held in different cities in the same US state in only one case — California. OOPSLA ’88 was in San Diego. OOPSLA ’96 was in San Jose. OOPSLA 2001 will make two cases because OOPSLA ’87 was in Orlando.
  • Ivar Jacobson has been a presenter in at least one event at every one of the past fifteen OOPSLA’s and will be both a tutorial presenter and a panelist at OOPSLA 2001.
  • Guy Steele’s invited talk, "Growing a Language," at OOPSLA ’98 was the only such talk that was actually given in a language that was developed concurrent with the talk.
  • At early OOPSLA’s the main social event was a sit down banquet. This tradition ended at OOPSLA ’93 in Washington, DC when over exuberant OOPSLA attendees filled the air with the toots of plastic whistles (generously donated by Peter Coad) while the banquet speaker shared his views of technology from a US government perspective. As a matter of record, OOPSLA ’93 marked not only the last OOPSLA banquet but also the last invited government speaker.
  • Post 1993, OOPSLA’s hosted main social events where whistle blowing didn’t matter. For example, there was a rodeo at OOPSLA ’95 in Austin, TX where the conference chair, Rebecca Wirfs-Brock, displayed her horseback riding skills and where Jeff McKenna and Sam Adams took the prize for goat dressing.
  • Dancing became a main OOPSLA event in Atlanta, GA at OOPSLA ’97 when rocking, gyrating OOPSLA attendees and luminaries (including Kent Beck, Mary Loomis, Mario Tokoro, Mary Beth Rosson, and Brent Hailpern) packed a tiny dance floor, and wove through a stately Atlanta theatre in a conga line through the legs of a man on stilts dressed in mid-Eastern attire. . It turns out that Ivar Jacobson and Alistair Cockburn are noted for their expert dancing as well as for their technical expertise. Dave Thomas was seen rocking at the Holy Grail event in Minneapolis at OOPSLA 2000.
  • There have been special panels that became social events. In Denver at OOPSLA ’99, the gang of four, Gamma, Helm, Johnson, and Vlissides, were put on trial for crimes committed against the world of computer science by virtue of their famous Design Patterns. And who could forget Kent Beck in the Manager’s Game.
  • The OOPSLA ’94 Committee brewed their own OOPSLA beer. Both the brewers, including Jeff McKenna, and at a later date the bottlers, including Mamdouh Ibrahim, were known to do a lot of sampling to ensure the quality of the product. Curiously, beer has not been brewed for any OOPSLA since.
  • The first OOPSLA Educators’ Symposium was held at OOPSLA ’92. Mary Beth Rosson and Jim Heliotis were co-chairs. Wilf LaLonde and Linda Northrop were the keynote speakers.
  • The first OOPSLA Educators’ Scholarships were awarded for OOPSLA ’95. This program, now funded by SIGPLAN, was initiated by Rebecca Wirfs-Brock (OOPSLA ’95 Conference Chair) and Linda Northrop (OOPSLA ’95 Educators’ Symposium Chair).
  • The "I am special" category was added to the OOPSLA Registration Form in OOPSLA ’98 as a joke. 166 attendees checked the box and got ribbons designating their "specialness."
  • OOPSLA ’99 was the first to hold a Newcomers Session for first time OOPSLA attendees.
  • At OOPLSA ’94 the committee decided to forego the traditional OOPSLA T-shirts and instead sell bright blue OOPSLA sweatshirts. A few (hundred) too many were made and not sold. The extras were given away to the less fortunate in Portland. If you go to Portland you can still find scores of homeless people wearing bright blue OOPSLA sweatshirts.
  • Student volunteers have provided the backbone for operations at OOPSLA events. For their support they are given OOPSLA scholarships to defray expenses and OOPSLA apparel that puts them in a fashion league all of their own. In San Jose at OOPSLA ’96 student volunteers wore colorful (VERY colorful) jams. In Vancouver at OOPSLA ’98 they wore hockey shirts. In Denver at OOPSLA ’99 they wore fleece vests. What will they wear in Tampa????

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OOPSLA Attendees

  • OOPSLA is unique in that it always draws a healthy blend of practitioners and researchers.
  • Though the exact percentages have varied slightly over the years, typically 45-55% of attendees classifies themselves as developers, 15-25% as academics, 15-25% as managers, and the rest as software users.
  • Object technologists from all over the world come to OOPSLA.
  • The majority of attendees come from North America and Europe, with the largest percentage (typically 50-55%) from the United States. But there is always solid representation from Asia and South America and at least a few dozen from Australia and Africa.
  • In 1998 there were OOPSLA attendees from 35 different countries.
  • Among attendees from the United States, the state hosting OOPSLA always has the greatest representation.
  • States other than the hosting state with traditional high representation are California, Washington, Massachusetts, New York, Illinois, and Texas.
  • There were four states with no representative attendees in 1999 and three in 2000 with only one repeat.
  • There was no one at OOPSLA from Arkansas in either 1999 or 2000.
  • Roughly one third of the OOPSLA 2000 attendees were new to OOPSLA.
  • Most OOPSLA attendees hear about OOPSLA from friends and associates.
  • Many people (including Brian Foote, Ivar Jacobson, and Ralph Johnson) have attended all 15 previous OOPSLA’s. We hope they all make it 16!

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Behind The OOPSLA Scenes

  • There are 26 who serve on the OOPSLA 2001 Conference Committee. 19 of these are volunteers who give their time and talent to make OOPSLA happen. In addition, there are more than 180 other volunteers who have worked with the committee to review submissions, plan the program, and orchestrate OOPSLA.
  • OOPSLA preparation begins at least three years in advance, when the host city is selected. The conference chair is selected at least two years in advance.
  • Each OOPSLA Conference Committee includes new members to guarantee fresh ideas and previous members to ensure continuity.
  • There is an OOPSLA Steering Committee made up of past OOPSLA Conference Chairs that provides support and guidance.
  • Each year an effort is made to balance industry and academic representation on the OOPSLA Program Committee and to guarantee a spread of expertise across the topics important to OOPSLA technologists.
  • An average OOPSLA, where attendees enjoy a continental breakfast, two breaks, lunch and an evening reception daily, uses 62,500 plates, 87,500 napkins, 75,000 cups or glasses, and 90,000 cans or bottles (at a minimum :^).
  • It is an OOPSLA rule that all catering plates, cups, and glasses be china or glass (non-disposable). If plastic, these items must be washable. Styrofoam is not used under any circumstances!
  • There are separate recycling bins for attendees to use at all catered functions, at registration, and on the exhibit floor.
  • All OOPSLA handouts are printed on two sides using post-consumer recycled paper.
  • All food left over from OOPSLA receptions and meals are donated to a local food bank.

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  • There will be 31 workshops, 70 tutorials, 27 refereed technical paper presentations, nine practitioners’ reports, seven panels, and five invited speakers.
  • NEW: There will be two new sessions called "Intriguing Technology Papers," where papers that promise to be of interest to both researchers and practitioners will be presented.
  • The OOPSLA Courtyard, initiated last year, will be continued as the place for exhibits, posters, job and message boards, and impromptu discussions. Camp Smalltalk will hold court there. NEW: There will be a "geek alley" where participants can pick up favorite personal devices and software.
  • NEW: The OOPSLA program will be offered in a downloadable/beamable version stored as a Metaguide. Metaguide is a customizable event guide designed specifically for handheld computers using the Palm OSÒ . Watch this site for details.
  • NEW: Scholarships are available for academic faculty to support 50% of lodging at the conference hotel.
  • NEW: Several ping-pong tables will be available in the conference center during OOPSLA hours for OOPSLA attendees who need a break from sitting.
  • NEW: There will be an award for the best student paper and prizes for the winning CodeFest team.

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  • Florida is known for its miles of sandy beaches, rolling waves, swaying palm trees, "piercing rays of sunlight reflecting off the surface of the ocean," towering pines, prairies of sawgrass, swampland, sharks, and theme parks.
  • The early explorer Juan Ponce de Leon came to Florida in 1513 in search of the legendary Fountain of Youth.
  • Spain sold Florida to the United States in 1819.
  • Florida became one of the United States in 1845.
  • Tampa is the foremost port of Florida’s west coast.
  • The name "Tampa" is a cartographic typo. Local American Indians called their village "tanpa," meaning "sticks of fire" for the lightening so common in central Florida, but the area’s first maps read "Tampa."
  • Railroad tycoon, Henry B. Plant, brought his South Florida Railroad to Tampa in 1884. By 1890 the Ybor City cigar industry was booming in Tampa. Cigars became Tampa’s mainstay.
  • Today Ybor City is famous for shopping, nightlife, and a refurbished former cigar factory.
  • The Florida locals include some special creatures including crocodiles and alligators. A crocodile is not the same as an alligator. In Florida, there are mostly alligators, but there are some crocodiles to be found at the southern tip of Florida. This distance between the nose of an alligator and its eyes, measured in inches, is an indication of the length of the alligator from nose to tip of the tail, measured in feet.
  • Florida is famous for air flight of all sorts. The world’s first scheduled airline passenger flight took place on New Year’s Day 1914, from Tampa to St. Petersburg. The first PanAm office was in Key West. The first scheduled PanAm flight was out of Key West to Havana. The Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Station, on the eastern coast of Florida, are the United States’ centers of space operations. Early launches from Cape Canaveral included the May 5, 1961, suborbital space flight of Alan Shepard and America’s first manned orbital flight by John Glenn.

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  • OOPSLA 2002 will be held in Seattle, Washington. Mamdouh Ibrahim is the OOPSLA 2002 Conference Chair. Satoshi Matsuoka is Program Chair.
  • OOPSLA 2003 will be held in Anaheim, California. Ron Crocker will be the Conference Chair.
  • OOPSA 2004 will be held in Vancouver, Canada, making Vancouver the only city to host OOPSLA three times.

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