CASCON (Centre for Advanced Studies Conference) is a Computer Science conference hosted by IBM in Toronto that occurs annually in late-October or early-November in Markham, Ontario. The conference typically lasts 3 or 4 days. It is sponsored by IBM's Centre for Advanced Studies (CAS) in Toronto in partnership with the National Research Council Canada.
CASCON was established in 1990, with the goal of showcasing the various research projects in progress by individuals in academia, industry and the general public. CASCON provides an opportunity to network with individuals who share an interest in Technology. Over the years, it has become a focal point for exchanging technological ideas in a wide range of related fields.
Each year, a panel of judges review submissions for the Best Paper Awards. A list of topics are announced many months prior to the event and usually revolve around the theme of the conference (which varies each year). Some of the topics for this year's (2009) technical paper includes: Cloud computing, Business intelligence, Software development, Security and Privacy and Web-based systems.
At the conference, awards are given out for Best Paper and Best Student Paper. Criteria for the paper includes originality, clarity and potential impact.
Workshops are held throughout the conference in the form of tutorials and hands-on. Workshop hosts come from a variety of backgrounds. Any individual is free to submit an application and request to host a workshop. The workshops are then selected and the public is given notice of the workshops that will be available during the conference. Early registration is required as seating is limited to a first-come-first-serve basis. Registration to the conference and its workshops are available on the CASCON site.
The Technology Showcase is open throughout the 4-day conference and includes poster displays and demonstrations of new technological innovations. These displays demonstrate on-going research projects of graduate students from universities as well as those from industry. It allows communication and networking in a non-formal setting.
High School Outreach
High School Programming Competition
In 2005, a group of student interns working at the IBM Toronto Software Lab hosted its first annual High School Programming Competition with a goal of offering the opportunity for high school students to demonstrate their skills in programming. The competition is based on the Java programming language and comes in the form of a game. Some of the previous challenges have included:
- CodeRally (2005) 
- CodeInvaders (2006) 
- CodeRuler (2007) 
- CodeColony or "I Have a Code" (2008) 
- CodeRally (2009) 
These programming challenges are available for download. Students are given the competition game prior to the date of the event and are encouraged to come up with strategies and algorithms for their team. Teams consist of 2-students each and come from high schools across the Greater Toronto Area in Ontario, Canada.
Teachers Technology Workshops
During the competition, high school teachers are given the opportunity to attend workshops specifically catered to them as Computer Science teachers. In the past several years of the event, the workshops have been hosted by Lecturers from the Computer Science faculty at the University of Waterloo and the University of Toronto. High school teachers have the chance to develop their skills and gather lesson plan ideas that meet the needs in the current Computer Science curriculum.
- IBM link
- ACM link
- CASCON High School Programming Competition 2005 link
- CASCON High School Programming Competition 2006 link
- CASCON High School Programming Competition 2007 link
- CASCON High School Programming Competition 2008 link
- CASCON High School Programming Competition 2009 link