Conference of the Association of Software Testing 2008

The third annual Conference of the Association of Software Testing (CAST) 2008 in Toronto, July 14-16. Early bird registration ends May 30. Here’s what Michael Bolton has written about it:

A colleague recently pointed out that an important mission of our community is to remind people–and ourselves–that testing doesn’t have to suck.

Well, neither do testing conferences. CAST 2008 is the kind of conference that I’ve always wanted to attend. The theme is “Beyond the Boundaries: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Software Testing”, and the program is incredibly eclectic and diverse. Start with the keynotes: Jerry Weinberg on Lessons from the Past to Carry into the Future; Cem Kaner on The Value of Checklists and the Danger of Scripts: What Legal Training Suggests for Testers; Robert Sabourin (with Anne Sabourin) on Applied Testing Lessons from Delivery Room Labor Triage (there’s a related article in this month’s Better Software magazine); and Brian Fisher on The New Science of Visual Analytics. Track sessions include talks relating testing to improv theatre (Adam White), to music (yours truly and Jonathan Kohl), to finance and accounting (Doug Hoffman), to wargaming and Darwinian evolution (Bart Brokeman, author of /Testing Embedded Software/ and one of the co-authors of the /TMap Next/ book); to civil engineering (Scott Barber), to scientific software (Diane Kelly and Rebecca Sanders), to magic (Jeremy Kominar), to file systems (Morven Gentleman), and to data warehousing (Steve Richardson and Adam Geras), and to data visualization (Martin Taylor)… to four-year-olds playing lacrosse (Adam Goucher). There will be lightning talks and a tester competition. Jerry Weinberg will be doing a one-day tutorial workshop, as will Hung Nguyen, Scott Barber, and Julian Harty.

Yet another feature of the conference is that Jerry is launching his book on testing, /Perfect Software and Other Testing Myths/. I read an early version of it, and I’m waiting for it with bated breath. It’s a book that we’ll all want to read, and after we’re done, we’ll want to hand to people who are customers of testing. For some, we’ll want to tie them to a chair and /read it to them/.

The conference hotel is inexpensive, the food in Toronto is great, the nightlife is wonderful, the music is excellent…

More Information
You can find details on the program at

You can find information on the venue and logistics at

Those from outside Canada should look at

You can get registration information at

Paying the Way

If you need help persuading your company to send you to the conference, check out this:

And if all that fails, you can likely write off the cost of the conference against your taxes, even if you’re an employee. (I am not a tax professional, but INC magazine reports that you can write off expenses to “maintain or improve skills required in your present employment”. Americans should see IRS Publication 970 (, Section 12, and ask your accountant!)

Come Along and Spread The Word!


So (if necessary) get your passports in order, take advantage of early bird registration (if you register in the next two weeks), and come join us. In addition (and I’m asking a favour here), please please /please/ tell your colleagues, both in your company and outside, about CAST. We want to share some great ideas on testing and other disciplines, and we want to make this the best CAST ever. And the event will only be improved by your presence.

So again, please spread the word, and come if you can.

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