Is your next technical conference going to be virtual?

April 08, 2020 //By William G. Wong
technical conference
Covid-19 has turned the technical conference on its ear, making online alternatives the norm.

Covid-19’s social distancing has essentially put an end to in-person technical conferences for now and many are scrambling to turn these events into online extravaganzas. It'not quite the same watching Nvidia’s Jensen Huang reveal their ray-tracing support (Fig. 1), even on a large 4K screen. The lights and sound and scope aren't quite the same.

1. NVIDIA’s Jensen Huang presented the 6-GPGPU DGX-2
system and real-time ray-tracing at the 2018 GTC show.

On the other hand, watching the technical conferences from home can be easier on the feet, the schedule, and the mind. This year’s GPU Technology Conference (GTC) lets you watch presentations, demos, and labs at your leisure.

GTC was very popular, even at a significant cost as most technical conferences are these days. Because of the fast turnaround, it's free this year, which is a boon to new virtual attendees as well as saving money and travel time for real attendees. It doesn't have the same level of interaction with the sponsors that would have booths to visit, but it's a start. Transitioning to a virtual conference isn't easy. I helped make our regional science fair a virtual conference this year when Rider University shut down, as did every other school in New Jersey.

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