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A Tale of Two Technology Conferences
Last week was a busy one
Last week I managed to find myself presenting at two different technology conferences within 24 hrs of each another. Couple that with a few massive IT issues I was dealing, and it was an interesting week to say the least.
The first conference was the KBC user group meeting and the second was the Wolfram Technology conference.
So how did these conferences stack up? Well here’s a quick rundown with some more details further below on each.
In-Person (KBC) vs. Virtual (WTC) - advantage KBC, virtual has some nice perks, but in person ensures everyone’s attention is truly on the conference
Technical depth - advantage KBC, as KBC’s focus is more nuanced and energy industry specific, presentation topics could dive deep
Technical breadth - advantage WTC, as Wolfram’s software is industry agnostic, the vast array of topics covered was significant and reached across health, energy, and everywhere in between
Overall size - advantage WTC, Wolfram’s conference lasts for 3 days and with presentations going for only 25 minutes each across multiple simultaneous tracks, the amount of information to try and obtain is massive (luckily they are all recorded and being virtual you can catch up on all of them at your own pace)
Overall direction - advantage both, KBC and Wolfram both placed a significant emphasis on embracing digital tools in the form of cloud deployments and machine learning to bring solutions to market
KBC User Group Meeting
It was my first time attending the KBC User Group Meeting actually, despite using many KBC products for well over a decade now. This conference was also in-person (Houston) and it was their first in-person meeting since before COVID.
In terms of what I presented on, a few years ago we had the unique opportunity to collaborate with KBC on their brand new (still in beta at the time) web framework for calling Multiflash via a web REST API. The focus of my presentation was around a flow assurance dashboard that we developed for a client that leveraged that API on the backend for several utilities to perform PVT type calculations related to hydrate dosing and overall fluid characteristics.
As I zoomed out from our specific use of the Multiflash API, I also touched on broad topics like digital transformation, even sharing an example of how PING (yes, the golf club manufacturing) is approaching digital transformation. This was then tied together with how the Multiflash API (and the other technology KBC is moving to be supported by APIs) can be used to obtain powerful digital solutions as part of a broader digital transformation strategy.
Moving past my own talk, there were a lot of other interesting ones as well. Some presented on enhancements to various equations-of-states (EoS) or novel uses of KBC’s technologies within industry, while KBC themselves gave numerous presentations talking about their cloud roadmap and what other capabilities were coming to easily create digital twins, monitor emissions, etc.
Wolfram Technology Conference
Less than 24 hrs later, I gave a presentation at the Wolfram Technology Conference. As mentioned above, this was my 6th time attending this awesome conference which is one of my favorites to try and attend every year. However, despite being great again this year, it will never be able to beat 2017 when I won their Wolfram Innovator of the Year award (and still had hair).
This year the conference was virtual as many have been since COVID. In fact, my understanding from talking with employees of Wolfram is that they plan to go with alternating in-person and virtual every other year for the foreseeable future. Certainly attending or presenting at a virtual conference isn’t quite as personal, but considering that I was able to give this presentation from a Starbucks while traveling from Houston up to Dallas, there are some benefits to virtual as well.
So what did I present? I actually presented on a topic that I have written about on this Substack before discussing our creation and deployment of a machine learning model to assist in real-time hydrate monitoring for an LNG facility. You can check out a quick recap below.
As for the rest of the presentations, there were some very interesting ones. As is typical of WTC, the majority of the presentations were from Wolfram staff discussing some of the more minute details of various frameworks within the language and what new capabilities have recently come out or are planning to come out soon. A few of my favorites were on the visualization and LLM capabilities. There were also some very neat talks from industry professionals, some of whom are using Wolfram technologies to help improve disease diagnosis and even create better learning environments for students.
It was a busy week, but a good one. Both of these conferences were exciting and shared many common themes despite being so seemingly different. Embracing digital strategies, machine learning, and data as whole is a powerful paradigm that appears to be here to stay. I’m looking forward to continuing to use the technologies offered from both of these companies as we supply our clients with key solutions to the technical challenges they face.