This year, I am taking advantage of my last year as the student (the registration fee is cheaper) and the sponsorship of my two bosses, Andy and Jennifer, I went to the useR! 2009 conference. This year, the conference was held in Rennes, France. The location is another attraction for me to attend the conference.
I must said this. This is so far the best conference I have ever attended. Here are the reasons:
1. The food was good. But mostly I was talking about the conference dinner. They served very good wines. We had a feast of French food.
2. The presentations were very informative and educational. Personally speaking, I felt that there were two major theme of the conference. One is the advancement and improvement of the R computing speed and power. Parallel computing became a hot issue since the R user have began to notice about the insufficiency of R with this respect. Secondly, Using R as a tool in graphical presentation of the data. Some talks were about the choice of color scheme (HCL is better than RBG) and some were introduction of new R graphic packages (e.g., ggplot2).
3. The attendance rate of the audience was high. I think part of the reason was that we all were stocked in a small town in Rennes. Nothing really more interesting than R was there in the city. But having said this, maybe it is also true that most of the attenders are R geeks. They like R more than anything else.
Overall, the conference was very coherent and very informative. Although we did not have the best hardware (the conference building were surprisingly crude, see the picture below), we had a nice, calmly environment that made us all focus on the discussion of R.