Friday, January 30, 2009

Recap of 2nd Organizational ORF 2009 Meeting


MUCH better reception and participation this time thanks to Carole Ann. Here is a brief recap of what went on in case you missed it.

Location for this year will be Dallas and we will begin scheduling and promoting the Nice (or Southern France) location for 2010. This year we "probably" will return to the Sheraton and try to arrange for a quieter place for "Pub Nights" rather than a noisy bar that we had last year.

The dates will be the last week in October in order to allow European attendees to schedule one airfare for two conferences.

Monday will be tutorials ($100 - $200 extra charge) taught by various independent consultants thereby keeping it a vendor-neutral zone. Conference will begin on Tuesday morning and finish up on Friday noon. There will be either a 30 minute Q&A morning and evening of the speakers OR just one, one-hour Q&A each day as the final hour. (One session each day sounds good to me.)

Conference fee for attendees will be $500 with a $400 early sign up if done by August 15th. No charge for speakers. Each vendor/sponsor will be allowed two (and two only) attendees but will have a sliding scale reduced fee schedule for their "special" customers and attendees.

Meeting rooms will be one large room for main conference and a smaller room (about 1/2 of last year's meeting room) for Sponsor's booths where they can present their material and demos. Coffee and tea will be in the Sponsor room only to reduce congestion in the main room and allow time for Sponsors to meet with attendees. Bring your own bagels, cookies and/or donuts.

Presentations probably will be spaced so that we have one 30 minute break in the morning, about 2 hours for lunch, and one 30 minute break in the afternoons. If any Sponsor wishes we can arrange for an evening social hour with drinks for a nominal fee. There will be a map of available restaurants in the area from high-dollarup-scale places to quick-food mall-food-court places. All will be within a two-hour time frame to allow everyone to return in time for the afternoon sessions. (Let's face it, hotel food at these events is really terrible. A Big Mac and fries wold be much better.)

Diamond and Platinum vendor promotions will be on beer steins, T-Shirts, back packs, etc.

Presentations will be technical with the focus on applications; meaning, "How do you do..." Perhaps one on cyber security, another on bank loans, another on fraud detection, another on rule-based forecasting, another on transportation, another on constraint based programming, etc. However, these will be from the implementation point-of-view that explains in detail (without revealing intellectual property) showing code wherever possible and NOT a marketing presentation. Others will be on HOW to write a rulebase but not necessarily how to implement the Rete Algorithm. Hopefully Dr. Forgy will present something with more detail on parallel rulebased design and/or Edson Tirelli will explain parallel CEP implementation inside the rulebase.

At this time we have several committed speakers: Dr. Charles Forgy, Gary Riley, Jason Morris, James Owen, Larry Terrel, Greg Barton, Rolando Hernandez and Dr. Jacob Feldman.

Potentially, other speakers will be Carole Ann Berioz-Matignon (FIC), Edson Tirelli (Drools), Carlos Seranno-Morales (FIC), Daniel Selman (IBM/ILOG), Clive Spenser (LPA), Don Tallo (FIC), Dr. Ernest Friedman-Hill (Jess), Paul Haley (Haley Systems => Haley AI), Dr. Pedram Abrari, Paul Vincent (Tibco). John Zachman would be good. What we need are some folks from other disciplines such as RBF, CBP, etc. to add to our diversity. So far we still don't have active participation from Pega, Mind Box and other companies. It would be nice to have one theory presentation each day but that's just me talking.

Abstracts are due April 15th. The completed white paper (suitable for printing in a conference proceeding) is due June 30th. Slide presentations in PDF or PPT are due August 30th. Our Go/NoGo date is mid to late August.

So, that's it for now. Next organizational meeting (if there is one) will be in about two weeks. Comment on this blog unless you are an approved blogger for this space and then blog your thoughts. If you want to be a blogger, just send me an email and we'll set you up.


How about an expert panel discussion on the future of rules...

... on future innovations, applications, jobs, etc. in the rules business... i.e. whatever is on their minds? The idea is to have experts ask each other the questions that they ask themselves. Letting the audience listen in like flies on the wall could be eye-opening and informative.

All we need is a few speakers and a moderator for a 45"-1hour session. I vote for James to moderate and to bring the cane just in case.

This is a slight twist on the idea I mentioned on the call to have experts talk to each other about their biggest "challenges". Obviously vendors don't want to air their dirty laundry. Instead, why not put them on stage and hear their thoughts on the industry, future directions, challenges and opportunities we all face.

Rolando Hernandez

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

ORF and Sponsorship

Many years ago I co-ordinate the Practical Applications of Prolog conference with Al Roth [now sadly deceased]
For 4-5 years we build up the event and diversifed into Constraints, KM, and finally Agents.
PAAM was a big success.
We had reviewed submitted papers and a handful of selected invited keynote speakers with a Program Committee of the great and good etc.
We made money thru:
- sponsorship [I trawelled round all the vendors and some publishers and the European Commission]
- delegates [we ended up with three hundred plus over the week - they could mix and match events/tracks]
- proceedings [we printed and sold the proceedings and back copies]

Most were in London and one year we went to Paris.

Sadly, with Al's untimely death, his widow inherited the business, took it to Manchester and proceeded to kill it off quite successfully.

Lessons Learned:
Fix Dates as early as possible
Avoid Holidays
Choose convenient location for both delegates, sponsors and coordinators
Try and Keep Costs down and have ability to scale down as well as up
Don't print/mail anything if possible - use the internet and mail groups etc
People like to get away early on Fridays and arrive late on Mondays

In the old days, you used to have to back into a weekend to get reduced air-fares [Saturday night stay] - dunno to what extent this holds

Get sponsors to underwrite expenditure ASAP - early commitement should be rewarded thru preferential treatment and choice of slots, booths, spaces etc

Have a good budget model and try to stick to it! And have a contingency entry for the unforseen [expect the unexpected]

Understand who you audiences are [multiple audiences are OK] - and what they want out of such an event
a] techies deep into the exisiting technology and familiar with an existing product
b] vars/consultants already involved with technology thru one or more products
c] people who may want to get involved with the technology
d] potential end-users [prospects, suspects]
e] academics
f] industry commentators/analysts

Benefits and Objectives
a] let people mingle - its all about networking - create the room and environment and right mix of people
b] people want to talk to real practitioners [not theoreticians and not salespeople]
c] vendor indepedant ethos
d] hands-on tutorials if possible
e] keep attendance affordable and value-for-money

Sponsorship - 9 months is already tight
My focus was sponsorship - benefits were:
a] access to delegates at event
b] ability to help shape program - maybe nominate an invited speaker or two
c] visibility on event web-site
d] access to event mailing list /enquiry list
e] logo on proceedings
f] sponsor breakfasts, mugs, cups, delegate bag etc
g] press access - arrange strategy briefing
h] ability to invite delegates at a reduced rate
i] invitations for exhibition
j] 1 or 2 free delegate places - with/without lunch
k] option to organize satellite events

To me, vendors were always the key - after all they bankrolled the event - they could use the event as a springboard to meet with all sorts of people, launch/announce products and develop relationships ... with their help we were able to reach all sorts of people at various stages of exploring/exploiting the technology on show

Clive Spenser
Hope this is not too obvious and helps ...

ORF 2009 - Second Organizational Meeting


Fair Isaac has been kind enough to provide a clear land-line with an 800 number call-in for most countries. Please use the applicable 800 number below with the appropriate access code.

+ 800 867 8062 (USA)
+ 800 0030 6406 (International)
Access code for call in: 9187008
See for all of the call-in numbers

We're changing the time a bit to make it easier for our European counterparts to participate. Unfortunately, this makes it really early for AU, Japan, Hawaii, etc. but so far we haven't had anyone wanting to call in from there so until someone tells me differently, we don't have a problem.

Friday, January 30th
8:00 a.m. PST (San Jose etc)
10:00 a.m. CST (Chicago etc)
11:00 a.m. EST (NYC etc)
4:00 p.m. UK
5:00 p.m. France and Germany
3:00 a.m. Saturday (AU and parts of Asia)

Here's the problem: How technical can we become without losing attendees and/or sponsors? I would like to have seen more code and far less "typical PPT" screen presentations last time but that isn't what we got. Also, if we're going to have a Conference Proceedings publication, then we need "real" white papers. We need some talks on Prolog, Rete++, Hyper-Rete, performance enhancement methods, what makes life easier for the KE (Knowledge Engineer), etc. Rule-Based Forecasting will delve into what you forgot about statistics. What about Neural Nets married to a rulebase?

Also, the tutorial idea is good but we need to discuss if the vendors can do that or should we arrange for a separate time for that. Personally, I think that we can do the tutorial part with just Rolando, Larry, myself and one or two others on Monday morning, and start the "real" conference on Monday afternoon and finish up Friday noon. If the vendors want to do "full blown" demos then maybe we can arrange for them to be doing that in another room near the conference as a second "track" kind of thing.

Location: The votes are 11 for Dallas and 11 for France. (I voted for France.) However, from a practical point of view the exchange rate will probably put it back in Dallas. Also, if anyone so desires, they can go directly from ORF to BRF. This is especially helpful for our European attendees and it has been one of their many requests. (But, consider, that our conference is for the technical guys and BRF is more for business guys - not the same audience at all.)

We expect the group call this Friday to last only about an hour but here is a tentative agenda of topics:

Start on Monday with Tutorials and Monday afternoon with Conference?
Conference on TWT or WTF
(TWTF stopping Friday Noon?)
Abstracts are due April 15th
Papers are due June 15th
Conference Proceedings to be published (paper or on-line only?)
Sponsor Demos in another room on Tuesday
Sponsors (who?) need to sign up now
Where (It's beginning to look a lot like Dallas)
Promotions (T-shirts, mugs, etc.?)
Pub Nights (any preferences? Hotel room, conference room, what?)

Anyway, this might be the last (or penultimate) group call since most of the arrangements. Whatever we decide has to be done before the end of February.


Friday, January 23, 2009

1st ORF 2009 Organization Meeting


In a word, SUCKS! Skype can't handle the few number (15 or so in the beginning) that we had. BUT, next time Carole Ann at Fair Isaac has a 150 dial-in 800 number that we can use. So, we'll return to using POT (Plain Old Telephone) protocol. :-)

This week:

Tutorial: Details still sketchy but we agreed to having them on Tuesday, maybe just Tuesday morning and beginning the conference at noon on Tuesday.

One-session track agreed upon. (Wasn't it?)

Sponsorship: We need a listing of what sponsors can get other than the email addresses of all attendees. After all, even though we are cheap compared to other conferences, it is still a chunk of change for a company to put up just to have a booth and tell folks about their product. We're open to suggestions...

Stop on Friday at noon so folks can be home for Friday Night Lights. :-)

Q&A eiher:
45 minutes every morning just before lunch and every evening before quitting
60 - 75 minutes everyday as the last session

White Papers to be bound and sold to help finance the conference. Not much but something.

Perhaps get an independent organization to handle everything for us since most of us now have full-time jobs. Well, almost everyone.

Next time: Carole Ann has an 800 number dial-in that will handle up to 150 call-ins. I'll let her blog here about the details about when, numbers, etc.

So, if you HAD to miss one, then this one was the one to miss. :-)


Thursday, January 22, 2009

Organizational Skype Call for ORF 2009


If you follow this blog, and you want to be an integral part of helping to organize October Rules Fest for 2009, then you should send me an email with your Skype ID. We're planning on having our first organizational meeting on Friday at 2:00 p.m. CST. That's 12:00 p.m. PST, 3:00 EST, 8:00 p.m. in the UK and parts of Ireland, 9:00 in France and Germany and 7:00 a.m. in Australia. This "seems" to be the best time in order to have everyone participate.

So, send me your Skype ID and we'll see what we can do. Skype will handle 25 at one time so let me know when you decide to participate. Thanks,


Monday, January 19, 2009

Interactive Workshops

I like the idea of BR experts running workshops that deal with different rules representation and management problems. I volunteer to run a 2-hours workshop during ORF2009. I will take a half-page example with relatively simple loan verification rules that include mitigations (I received these rules from a major financial institution). Together with the audience we will develop 4 different representations of these rules using simple Excel tables and discuss pros and cons of each implementation. We may run the rules against different test scenarios using OpenRules or another BR product (it is really not so important). Hopefully, it would be a practical exercise that will demonstrate serious rules representation problems that come directly "from the trenches". Hopefully other people would suggest their own workshops. The ORF audience may appreciate interactive workshops more than standard presentations.


Friday, January 16, 2009


Hi everyone! I'm sorry I'm late to the show, it's been very busy for us!

I have a few ideas that I thought I would run by the group. Feedback is always welcome.

I'd love to see the vendors sponsor a "bake off" of sorts, where a reasonable (for the time alloted) use case is kept private. The morning of the bake-off, each vendor will get an hour to study the use case and then have a few hours to use their respective tools and then present their solution to the attendees. (You may get more vendors as sponsors this way as well.)

The use case should be one that is applicable to all of the BRMS products on the market, and can be extremely technical. Perhaps you could provide a SOA infrastructure for web services calls, database, etc. I think if you get one vendor to bring down a server running VMWare, you can have various instances of a database, application server, etc... all running on one well equipped machine.

Points will be given on various criteria, as determined by the judges or panel, etc. Every vendor will be given an opportunity to showcase their solution and execute it, metrics can be taken (if reasonable considering the environment), etc.

Given the amount of time, I don't think that having a sequential bake-off and RETE-based bake-off is possible. The use case should be able to be solved both sequentially or by RETE.

(Sorry James, but the 64 queens contest isn't a real business use case.) :)

There is so much marketing hype out there, it would be nice to get "technical" and "put up, or shut up..." :)


Also, ending on a Friday night and expecting people to leave on Saturday will not work for most. I'm not even sure if dove tailing this to the BRF is a good idea either, as you want the most attendees. Spacing it out by a month or more may allow for more people to attend both conferences.

If you want the MOST attendees, then have it on a Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Airfares are cheap with a Saturday night stay, and if people have to take vacation time for the conference, they will only need one or two days, depending on where they are traveling from / to.


David Kim, CEO
Innovations Software Technology Corp.