Last week, I attended my second RubyConf. I really enjoyed the conference again this year. The talks were excellent, and I got to meet many old and new friends.

Confreaks has already posted most, if not all, of the videos from the conference which is incredibly fast turn-around. Confreaks people are awesome to deal with and do amazing work. Thanks to them!

I had the privilege of speaking again this year. I presented an updated version of “Shall We Play a Game?”.

Here’s the abstract:

Teaching computers to play games has been a pursuit and passion for many programmers. Game playing has led to many advances in computing over the years, and the best computerized game players have gained a lot of attention from the general public (think Deep Blue and Watson).

Using the Ricochet Robots board game as an example, let’s talk about what’s involved in teaching a computer to play games. Along the way, we’ll touch on graph search techniques, data representation, algorithms, heuristics, pruning, and optimization.

The slides are on SpeakerDeck and the code is on GitHub.

Here’s the video:

I also gave a lightning talk called “Inconceivable!”. I came up with the core of this talk about three years ago and have been collecting information and ideas for it ever since. I’ve submitted proposals for it several times without success, so I decided I’d put together a five-minute version instead. I’m pretty happy with how it turned out, but I’d still love to do the full version somewhere.

Here’s the abstract I’ve been submitting:

Ideas are everywhere.

Some ideas are so crazy that it would be absolutely, totally, and in all other ways inconceivable that they could ever work. We almost always reject these ideas out-of-hand.

Why do we reject the inconceivable ideas? Should we? What happens if we don’t?

The slides for this talk are also up on SpeakerDeck.

And here’s the video. I start at 15:43.

[If you’re reading this post via an e-mail subscription, the video links won’t work directly. I have not yet figured out how to make my RSS feed and MailChimp play nicely together when it comes to YouTube links. To view the videos, click on the title of this post above, which will take you to the blog. You will be able to view the videos from there. Sorry for the inconvenience, and if you have any ideas on how to fix this problem, I’m all ears.]

Thanks to RubyConf for inviting me to speak and for putting on a great event every year!

I’ve listed both talks on SpeakerRate. If you saw either one, I’d love any constructive feedback you have.