Ben Fry: Co-founder of the Processing project
Maciej Ceglowski: Founder of Pinboard and former contractor at Twitter, LiveJournal, and Delicious
Benjamin Black: Co-founder of Boundary, previously worked for Amazon and Microsoft
Ian Goldberg: Associate Professor of Computer Science and a University Research Chair at the University of Waterloo
Michelle Levesque: Former tech lead / manager at Google, now studies web literacy with the Mozilla Foundation
Jessica McKellar: Founder, software engineer, and open source developer from Cambridge, Massachusetts


Gail Carmichael: PhD student in computer science at Carleton University, researching nonlinear and interactive storytelling in games
Jonathan Brun: Co-founder of Nimonik and Montreal Ouvert
Richard Gate: Founder of CommuniG8, and Technical Director of
Nick Edouard: Nick is EVP Business Development & Marketing at (and also an angel investor in) BuzzData
Andrew Louis: CUSEC alumnus and Co-founder of ShopLocket, a service that lets anyone sell professionally online
Rami Sayar: Computer Engineering student at McGill University


Dr. Paul Cisek: Associate professor at the department of physiology at the University of Montréal
Dr. Sabine Bergler: Associate Professor Concordia University, her research includes sentiment and emotion analysis, speculative language and negation


Michael Wojcikiewicz: VP, Quality Assurance and Production Management Division at Morgan Stanley
Doug Tetzner: Head of Talent Acquisition at Shopify
Daniel Robinson: Software Engineer at Palantir
Susan Ibach: Technical Evangelist at Microsoft


Ben Fry

Ben Fry spends most of his time thinking about, and making pictures of, patterns and structures found in complex and dynamic sources of data. Drawing on a background in graphic design and computer science, he pursues this fascination as principal of Fathom Information Design in Boston, Massachusetts, where he produces software, printed works, installations, and books that explain and depict topics from the human genome to baseball salaries to the evolution of text documents.

He’s also a co-founder of the Processing project, which seeks to ruin the careers of talented designers by tempting them away from their usual tools and into the world of programming and computation. Similarly, the project is designed to turn engineers and computer scientists to less gainful employment as artists and designers.

Maciej Ceglowski

Maciej Ceglowski is the founder and sole employee of Pinboard, a paid bookmarking site and personal archive he started in 2009. He has been an outspoken advocate of small, self-funded online businesses as an alternative to venture capital and angel investing. Prior to founding Pinboard, Ceglowski worked as a contractor at Twitter, LiveJournal, and Delicious, and was the first engineer hired at Yahoo’s Brickhouse project. Before becoming a full-time programmer, he served as Assistant program officer at the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

In addition to Pinboard, Ceglowski also runs the Bedbug Registry, a popular crowdsourced forum for tracking bedbugs in major North American cities.

Ceglowski was born in 1975 in Warsaw, Poland, and lives and works in San Francisco. You can find his personal website at

Earn hundreds of dollars a day while working from the comfort of your own home! I’ll discuss three very different career paths in computerland (working at a large company, a funded startup, and building your own project) and what’s wonderful and not so wonderful about each one. I’ll also talk about the nuts and bolts of running Pinboard, a one-person project with nearly thirty thousand paying users, and what I see as opportunities for smart young tech people who value their independence to make an interesting living on their own terms.

Benjamin Black

Mr. Black most recently cofounded and was CEO of Boundary. He is a recognized expert in large-scale technology infrastructure design, implementation,and operation. Previously, he was an engineering director in the ECN group at Microsoft Windows Live, where he helped build one of the largest content delivery networks in the world. As the manager of website engineering at Amazon, he lead the design and implementation of a new, layer 3 network for Amazon’s production network. As principal engineer for Amazon infrastructure, he co-authored the first documents on what later became EC2. As senior manager for information security, he owned and successfully delivered Sarbanes-Oxley and PCI DSS compliance for Amazon infrastructure, including the critical payments processing systems. His work in the Internap R&D team resulted in his being awarded 3 patents in Internet routing and traffic optimization. Mr. Black is also co-author on several IETF RFCs on MPLS control protocols and IPv6 network operations.

Ian Goldberg

Ian Goldberg is an Associate Professor of Computer Science and a University Research Chair at the University of Waterloo, where he is a founding member of the Cryptography, Security, and Privacy (CrySP) research group.

He holds a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, where he discovered serious weaknesses in a number of widely deployed security systems, including those used by cellular phones and wireless networks. He also studied systems for protecting the personal privacy of Internet users, which led to his role as Chief Scientist at Zero-Knowledge Systems (now Radialpoint).

His research currently focuses on developing usable and useful technologies to help Internet users maintain their security and privacy. He is a Senior Member of the ACM and a winner of the Early Researcher Award, the Outstanding Young Computer Science Researcher Award, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Pioneer Award.

Michelle Levesque

Michelle Levesque has worn many hats in the past few years: working as a tech lead / manager at Google, studying web literacy with the Mozilla Foundation, aimlessly wandering south-east Asia, and researching internet censorship with the Citizen Lab. She graduated with a Software Engineering degree from the University of Toronto and has spent the last six years making trouble in Silicon Valley. She has run a marathon, deadlifted over 200 lbs, loves a good videogame, and knows how to grill a perfect steak.

She still has no idea what she wants to be when she grows up.

Five Hacks for Hacker Brains

Life’s Konami Code. Don’t play through every level like a chump. Learn the cheats and skip to World 8!

Jessica McKellar

Jessica McKellar is a founder, software engineer, and open source developer from Cambridge, Massachusetts. She helped bring rebootless kernel updates to the world at Ksplice and is busy building and shipping at a new early-stage startup. Jessica is a Python Software Foundation board member and an organizer for the largest Python user group in the world, as well as a veteran open source contributor and a maintainer for several open source projects, including OpenHatch and the Twisted event-driven networking engine.


Gail Carmichael

Gail is a PhD student in computer science at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. Her research centres on nonlinear and interactive storytelling in games. She is also interested in educational games and augmented reality. She is passionate about getting girls and women interested in computer science, and improving CS education for everyone. Gail blogs at The Female Perspective of Computer Science.

Crafting stories that allow players to make a real impact with their choices is one of the hottest topics in game design these days. But is creating such a story difficult because of creative or technical challenges? Learn more about interactive storytelling in games and find out about some tools you can use to try out your own story ideas today.

Jonathan Brun

Jonathan Brun is co-founder of Nimonik, an online tool to track environmental, health, and safety laws and to perform audits and verifications on mobile devices. Jonathan co-founded Montréal Ouvert, a citizen’s action group that successfully lobbied the city of Montreal for an open data policy and portal.

Jonathan has presented about open data and open government at numerous conferences including Open Government Data Camp 2010 and 2011, TEDx, Pecha Kucha, as well as at the Québec National Assembly. Jonathan is passionate about open data and believes it supports an efficient and open government.

Jonathan will discuss the power of open data to change government, improve public services and bring about a renewed Canadian democracy for the 21st century. He will address the responsibility of software developers to participate in this once in a generation change and outline ways for talented developers to help their community and country.

Richard Gate

Richard Gate is the founder of a small IT wizardry company called CommuniG8, the Technical Director of who specialise in building community based Wireless Networks and co-owner of a physical training Gym (which confuses him, as he’s really not built for that). And a regular attendee at CUSEC over the past 3 years.

Richard used to have a very sleepless existence worrying about the Mainframe Data Centre Systems he ran and supported. So he moved in to the world of Wintel, running and supporting Windows based Servers for a number of large customers but still the lack of sleep took it’s toll. Finally, he had enough of being told how things should be done and started to look at how things could be done. This led to the insanity of leaving a steady job to build Open Source based solutions. Now sleep is possible, having integrated a number of Open Source projects into the business of running Wireless networks.

In the spirit of this year’s conference theme “System.Out”, I thought it may be of interest to see how the output from Software Engineering is being used. I will show how the integration of a number of Open Source Projects and Services has provided the infrastructure for the wide area Wireless Network run by And how this lets me sleep better at night or any time.

Nick Edouard

Nick is EVP Business Development & Marketing at (and also an angel investor in) BuzzData, a Toronto-based start-up changing the way that people publish and engage with information.

Prior to BuzzData, Nick established and ran the North American operations of Nomad Digital, a UK-based telecom company, delivering on-train Wi-Fi solutions for Amtrak, VIA Rail and others. He has previously co-founded the UK’s leading site management company for emerging wireless technologies and spent 5 years as a strategy consultant principally with Arthur D. Little. He thinks that his technology geekery is balanced by having an MA in Classics and Philosophy from Trinity College, Oxford, but deep down he knows better.

BuzzData is an information publishing and engagement platform for the enterprise market (B2B & B2C):

  1. BuzzData lets people easily make and share LookBooks – smart, visual arrangements of facts, figures and files that inform and convince
  2. We give people the tools they need to help them make new interactive artefacts for use in their LookBooks (e.g. infographics, dynamic charts)
  3. We give people an engagement environment (a Hive) in which they can make and share their LookBooks with their intended audience


BuzzData is launching its new product – LookBooks – in early 2013. Nick will give a sneak peek at what BuzzData’s been hard at work on throughout 2012 and explain, most importantly, why LookBooks are significant for the developer community and anyone interested in data and information sharing.

Andrew Louis

Andrew fell in love with computers through SimCity and then programming through BASIC. After some self-didacticism, a Computer Science degree at UofT, and an internship at a Big Corporation, he took up freelancing, using his programming abilities to empower non-technical people to change the world. With Katherine Hague — a friend and sometimes-collaborator — Andrew changed gears and co-founded ShopLocket, a service that lets anyone sell professionally online. Andrew is also a CUSEC OG, having co-chaired the conference in 2010 and invited speakers in 2009. Andrew is happiest behind a terminal, atop two wheels, or behind a camera lens.

Starting a startup in sixteen startlingly simple steps

Rami Sayar

Rami Sayar is an engineering student in his final year of Computer Engineering at McGill University. He has been active in the fields of software engineering and design. While pursuing his studies, he has worked for hot startups in Silicon Valley and for Fortune 500 giants. Rami founded the Code Jam @ McGill, the university’s largest engineering competition, in order to improve training in his field. In 2012, he was awarded the Scarlet Key for student leadership and significant contributions to the McGill community.

Alongside his responsibilities at McGill University, Rami is working at a Montreal-based startup and consulting agency exploring new ideas at the intersection of design, collaboration and the real-time web. At the end of the day, Rami is prevented from sleeping by his curiosity for experimentation and his insistence on shipping high quality code.

Will the web ever be the same after the real-time technology explosion? This talk will formulate ideas and principles on how to collaborate, share knowledge and create artistic productions in this new technological environment. Technology may just be the impetus of a new wave of creative thought, expression and production. Get Futuristic.


Dr. Paul Cisek

Paul Cisek is an associate professor at the department of physiology at the University of Montréal. After obtaining a B.Sc. in computer science from the Rochester Institute of Technology in 1991 and working briefly at Microsoft, he became interested in pursuing an academic career in the brain sciences. He enrolled at the computational neuroscience program at Boston University, where he worked with Drs. Stephen Grossberg and Daniel Bullock, two pioneers in the field of neural networks. After obtaining his Ph.D. in 1997, he sought to complement his theoretical experience with experimental work in cortical neurophysiology.

In his postdoctoral studies he worked with Dr. Steve Scott at Queen’s University, studying the neural mechanisms of motor control, and later with Dr. John Kalaska at the University of Montréal, studying the cortical mechanisms of planning and decision-making. In 2004 he joined the faculty of the University of Montréal where he has established a lab studying decision-making and movement planning using computational modeling, psychophysics, transcranial magnetic stimulation, and multi-electrode recording in the cerebral cortex.

Moving beyond the computer metaphor for the brain

A central concept in modern efforts to understand human intelligence is the idea that brains are information processing systems, which use sensory input to build perceptual representations and knowledge of the world, store and retrieve memories, make decisions, and plan and execute actions. However, the results of many neurophysiological studies are not compatible with this classic and influential view. Instead, I will argue that the brain should be seen within its evolutionary context – as a control system for interacting with the world – and will discuss the implications of this notion for understanding brains and simulating them in machines.

Dr. Sabine Bergler

Sabine Bergler is Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Software Engineering at Concordia University. She holds a Ph.D. from the Computer Science Department at Brandeis University. Her research in computational linguistics includes sentiment and emotion analysis, speculative language and negation. She is part of the recent IMMERSE network for game immersion and SpokenWeb 2.0: developing digital archives for spoken word resources.

Back to the Future?

There is a lifecycle to knowledge: how we generate it, weight it, use it changes over time. On the example of the field of Artificial Intelligence I will illustrate how promising approaches for addressing current problems can be found in the venerable academic literature of the 80s and before, often derogatively called “Good Old Fashioned AI”.


Michael Wojcikiewicz, Morgan Stanley

Gaining an introspective look at the performance of your computing plant through real-time collection and analysis of metrics can be an invaluable tool. Scaling such a tool for the enterprise to collect data from 100,000+ servers and millions of application instances spread around the globe while being highly available, elastic and extremely fault tolerant can be difficult to say the least. By leveraging several cutting edge Open Source technologies in the nosql/bigdata, distributed systems and monitoring space, the WatchTower project at Morgan Stanley is aiming to achieve exactly that.

Gaining an introspective look at the performance of your computing plant through real-time collection and analysis of metrics can be an invaluable tool. Scaling such a tool for the enterprise to collect data from 100,000+ servers and millions of application instances spread around the globe while being highly available, elastic and extremely fault tolerant can be difficult to say the least. By leveraging several cutting edge Open Source technologies in the nosql/bigdata, distributed systems and monitoring space, the WatchTower project at Morgan Stanley is aiming to achieve exactly that.

Doug Tetzner, Shopify

Doug Tetzner is the Head of Talent Acquisition at Shopify – an Ottawa company creating user-friendly ecommerce platforms. Doug is always on the lookout for future Shopifytes, so if you want to work at Shopify, Doug’s your guy!

Doug has interviewed more than 1500 people over the span of his career. He has a knack for finding talented people and figuring out if they’ll be a good fit within a company. He can always tell if you are on “broadcast mode” in an interview, or if you’re being your true self.

Doug has a passion for technology– especially software. This year, frustrated with the sub-par software available for recruiters, Doug took it upon himself to begin building an awesome job-applicant-tracking system. He now uses this system every day at Shopify.

Doug was the youngest Partner at Odgers Berndtson from 2004-2012, and is now the 10th oldest of 150 employees at Shopify – a badge he wears with pride!

He has been married for 10 years to a hot French-Canadian kindergarten teacher, and has 2 super awesome kids.

The son of Scottish Immigrants, Doug is originally from Collingwood, Ontario. He loves change (but seeks out routine), hates boiler-plate job postings, and never plays the lottery.

The first job out of University can be seen as the most important one as it sets the direction of your career for years to come. Before you are even faced with the life changing decision of what company to join you will need to jump a bunch of hurdles to stand out from the crowd and be selected.

Having been on the hiring side of the application process reading thousands of CV’s and interviewing hundreds of software developers, Doug will share his thoughts and advice on how to approach getting an awesome job and make the process less intimidating and nerve-wracking along the way.

Daniel Robinson, Palantir

Dan works on the Platform team at Palantir, with a focus on stability and ease of deployment. He was a member of the winning team of Palantir Hack Week 2011, which created the initial prototype for Palantir Video, a feature now under full-time development. His team won again in Hack Week 2012, prototyping a version of Palantir for contexts with no tolerance for downtime. He has built frontend and backend features for Palantir Mobile, and enjoys hacking on pet projects in his spare time.

Dan earned his BS in Computer Science and Mathematics from Stanford University, writing an honors thesis on deep learning and doing research in computer vision. He previously interned at Google, where he built a machine learning system on the Google Maps team.

Susan Ibach, Microsoft

Susan is a technical evangelist for Microsoft helping developers, in particular students and faculty at universities and colleges keep up with and adopt current Microsoft technologies. She enjoys sharing technical knowledge with others and spent years working as a Trainer delivering courses and presentation at conferences. Susan is known for her enthusiasm, passion, and large collection of hockey jerseys.