Press Release August 25

Danish IT Conference Goes from Strength to Strength

There will be more participants than ever when JAOO opens its doors for the eighth time on September 20. The programme of the IT conference includes topical discussions of Open Source, platforms for the future and, unusually, a run for both conference participants and local runners. Louise Gade, the major of Aarhus, is enthusiastic about the event, saying that Aarhus and the IT industry have a lot to offer each other.

Many parts of the IT industry are hard-pressed. Large companies are concentrating on their core competencies - areas they know they can make money in. Even a well-established IT conference like Comdex has had to be postponed due to lack of interest. And yet there are pockets of optimism, where things are looking up. An impressive technical programme combined with untraditional elements is the recipe for the JAOO 2004 Conference in Aarhus September 20-24. The conference has increased its number of participants every year bar one since it was established.

"I'm very pleased that so many participants have chosen our conference. Starting with only 100 participants in 1997 we are expecting eight times as many this year", says Mai Skou Nielsen from EOS.

This year is the eighth time, that EOS is holding the conference, and the organisers can celebrate that with the highest number of participants ever. Around 800 are expected to attend, both to network, but also to take part in the ambitious technical programme - the mainstay of the conference throughout the years. The talks are well known for covering the state of the art, yet being free of advertisements and sales pitches.

Shedding light on important developments

With both Microsoft and Sun Microsystems taking part, the stage is set for discussions of the latest IT issues. For many years system development has been about the choice of platform, and that has hindered integration with systems based on other platforms. In this battle the users have often been the losers. Now system development is opening up with new standards: Modern system development is about integration rather than choosing your IT island. That takes both a new attitude and focus on methods and processes.

For example, the conference initially focussed on the Java technology, but now includes other technologies. This ensures both breadth and depth in the technical content. "I'm impressed with the backing the conference gets from industry", says Ole Lehrmann Madsen, a professor at the University of Aarhus, who specialises in system development. He is happy to see the big players in the industry represented in Aarhus: "The industry backing is one of the reasons that JAOO can attract more and more participants each year. I'm proud that Aarhus can host such a weighty conference. The contents are innovative and I always get something out of sending colleagues to the conference."

Top names on the podium

Certainly the list of speakers is filled with big names like Martin Fowler, Dave Thomas and Danish Anders Hejlsberg, who is Distinguished Engineer at Microsoft and chief designer of C# and Turbo Pascal as well as being one of the main architects of the .NET Framework.

But perhaps more surprising is the fact that the big speakers, instead of rushing out of the door after their talk, in past years have stayed the whole week to experience the rest of the conference. It's a sign of the strong and interesting programme, and it's a source of pride for Aarhus mayor Louise Gade that the software industry shows such an interest in a conference in Aarhus:

"Aarhus and the software industry have a lot to offer each other. The guests meet the innovative research community centred around the University of Aarhus and the Katrinebjerg IT Park. At the same time they can enjoy the many cultural resources Aarhus has to offer - the art museum ARoS will be the venue when the City of Aarhus welcomes the participants."

Participants get some excercise

Apart from the usual events at an IT conference, an untraditional addition is that of a run for the participants. The Bowerman JAOO IT-run deals a blow to the stereotypes of system developers as unhealthy people, who survive on a diet of cola, crisps and pizza, and at the same time it makes the connection between high technology and excercise and health. The participants have the opportunity to take part in a 7.5km run through the centre of Aarhus. Since the run is open, the IT runners are expected to be joined by a large number of sports runners from around Aarhus. This is the third time that the run is being arranged together with Aarhus 1900 and Nike. Last year almost 600 runners took part.

Kevlin Henney and Aino Corry

Kevlin Henney and Aino Corry at JAOO 2003 opening. (zip file for print)

Dave Ashley

Dave Ashley, Martin Fowler and other speakers signing books. (zip file for print)

Dave Ashley

Exhibition at JAOO Conference 2003. (zip file for print