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Top Developers and Researchers Come Together in York Region for 2019 CASCON x Evoke Conference

For the first time, IBM’s long-standing Center for Advanced Studies Conference (CASCON) is partnering with Havas Canada to present CASCON x EVOKE; taking place November 4th-6th in Markham, York Region. We spoke with Steven Astorino, VP of Development, Hybrid Cloud, z Analytics and Canada Lab Director at IBM and get the inside scoop on what attendees may expect from the conference.

Steven Astorino IBMThe Greater Toronto Area (GTA) continues to make global headlines as one of the premier technology hubs anywhere in the world. There are many important technology conferences happening throughout the year in the GTA and November is no exception. A global leader in technology development, IBM is partnering with Havas Canada, and are bringing some of the world’s top developers, engineers, and academic researchers together for the CASCON x EVOKE Conference; a three-day deep-dive discussion on the impact of technology on society, now and in the future. The conference takes place November 4th-6th at the Hilton Toronto / Markham Suites Conference Center in Markham, York Region.

York Link had the opportunity to connect with Steven Astorino, VP of Development, Hybrid Cloud, z Analytics and Canada Lab Director at IBM and get the inside scoop on what attendees may expect from the conference. It’s certainly going to be one tech event you’re not going to want to miss this year!

The CASCON x Evoke conference will feature over 1,500 attendees bringing together global experts in academia, research, development to the City of Markham, York Region. Can you talk about the concept behind the event and what makes it different from other tech conferences?

For the first time, IBM’s long-standing Center for Advanced Studies Conference (CASCON) is partnering with Havas Canada to present CASCON x EVOKE.

IBM CASCON Conference with AttendeesAs always, CASCON features thought-provoking keynotes, original research papers, technical workshops, and an incredible technology expo. With CASCON x EVOKE, we’re opening up Canada’s leading academic and industry research ecosystem to the software engineers and data scientists who apply this academic work to daily, real-world business solutions. We’re facilitating unparalleled opportunity for industry networking, R&D collaboration, and exposure to top researchers and pioneers on the ground floor of innovation.

This is not a forum for sales. Instead, this is an opportunity for you to learn from and consult the great minds who lead their industries, the people who test and apply the theoretical knowledge and advanced research to problems tech companies face every day.

Think of the conference as the ideal blend of developers, researchers, technologies and innovators from academia, industry and government. You’ll meet thought leaders who are hungry for new ideas and opportunities in their highly specialized fields. By attending, you’re gaining networking access to the best tech conference in Canada — with inspiration from incredible keynote speakers like Shark Tank’s Robert Herjavec.

The conference is bringing together a very impressive long list of industry experts presenting over a 3 day period at this year’s conference.  What are some of the hot topics in tech that some of these industry leaders will be discussing?

If you’re looking at growing and scaling a startup in today’s tech landscape, check out the fireside chat with KOHO CEO, Daniel Eberhard in the fintech sector.

Maybe you’re a soon-to-be new grad? You’re probably weighing your options in industry, education or research. I’ll be participating in a panel discussion to help students with their early career choices. On the flip side, an influencer panel will be diving into the thriving industry of social influencers and share how each got their start.

If you’re a software engineer looking for a deep dive on tech, then the following hands-on workshops are my picks:

  1. Quantum Computing: IBM Q & Qiskit Experience and Applications
  2. Develop an image classification model with Watson Visual Recognition and Watson Studio
  3. Deploy cloud-native microservices into Kubernetes using curated application stacks

There are too many worthy events to summarize. I’d encourage everyone to browse the schedule at cascon.ca. We’ll have presentations, workshops and expo booths across all areas of emerging tech such as cognitive computing, big data analytics, SaaS, cloud and quantum computing, security and privacy, Internet of Things (IoT), adaptive systems, service systems, database technologies, compiler technologies, machine learning, hardware accelerators, mobile application frameworks and platforms, blockchain, DevOps, and business intelligence.

Why is organizing and supporting the CASCON x Evoke conference important to IBM Canada?

IBM CASCON Conference with AttendeesEven as a large enterprise, IBM remains agile and responsive to industry trends while leading on emerging technologies. CASCON is critical to IBM Canada Lab as it keeps us at the forefront of research and innovation, and strengthens our relationships with academic researchers, while promoting their pioneering work to the larger tech community.

The unique thing about CASCON x EVOKE is whether you’re from industry or academia, you’re meeting the people who develop and apply theoretical knowledge and advanced research to problems that tech companies are facing every day.

The conference really opens up this academic knowledge base and provides collaboration opportunities for all attendees. From an economic perspective, by engaging industry leaders and software engineers with the research, we’re driving innovation for the Canadian economy and keeping Canada competitive on the global stage. This competitive partnership will be critical in the coming decades as technology continues to play an ever-increasing role in the future of work.

Any reason behind the choice of holding the event in Markham, York Region?

IBM Canada Lab is proudly headquartered in Markham. Many people I talk with are surprised to learn York Region is Canada’s second-largest tech cluster, which offers significant benefit to IBM Canada, both in terms of talent availability and partnership opportunities.

We chose Markham for CASCON x EVOKE for several reasons. First, IBM Canada believes in supporting the communities where we work and live. We invest at home.

Second, with more than 4,300 tech companies in the Region, and Toronto next door, we’re offering a valuable networking and learning experience in the heart of this thriving tech community that attracts top talent from around the world.

We’re looking forward to welcoming this talent at CASCON x EVOKE in November, and we hope to see you there.