The ACCU Conference

The ACCU Conference

By Frances Buontempo, Felix Petriconi

Overload, 30(171):9, October 2022

Frances Buontempo extols the virtues of attending (or presenting); Felix Petriconi says 'thank you' to Julie Archer.

ACCU is a group of programmers who care about their craft, sharing knowledge, continually learning, and generally seeking Professionalism in Programming. We welcome new members ( In addition to our journals, discussion lists and local groups, we hold an annual Spring conference. Members get a conference discount, which more than covers the cost of joining.

The conference has a C++ focus, but covers all aspects of development and often includes other programming languages. The ACCU 2023 conference will be held in Bristol, UK, from 2023-04-19 to 2023-04-22; it will be run as a hybrid event, so you can either take part online or in person. There will also be two days of full-day tutorials on 2023-04-17 and 2023-04-18.

The next call for papers will start mid-October, so watch the ACCU website or the accu-general mailing list ( You could propose a full day tutorial, a 90-minute session or a shorter session. Get your thinking hats on! If you have an idea, but haven’t submitted a proposal before, plenty of ACCU members will be willing to read through an initial draft and give you feedback.

If you’re not brave enough to give a 90-minute full talk, you could always consider giving a shorter talk or even give a lightning talk instead. These are five minute slots at the end of the day and volunteers step up during the conference. They almost always have everyone laughing and provide a great way to round off the day.

As mentioned, ACCU members get a discount, as do speakers. Also, keep your eyes open for early bird rates. If you personally can’t afford the conference, it is worth asking if work will pay for you under a training budget. That was how I first managed to attend. I had to write up why the conference would be useful, and again, getting someone to read a business case through give early feedback is worth considering. Failing that, consider seeing if IncludeCpp ( can help you find a scholarship, or check the ACCU website to see if the conference needs volunteers.

Previous conference schedules and slides are available on the ACCU website ( and we now have a YouTube channel (, so you can listen to talks from 2016 onwards.

I have attended several conferences now, and spoken at a few. The journey from attendee to speaker has been valuable. I could never have imagined getting up and speaking years ago, but ACCU members and the conference itself are very supportive. I have learnt so much from the talks and made friends over coffee, lunch breaks and a few pints of beer. ACCU always had a reputation of being quite hard-core, with the audience potentially digging deep with knowledgeable questions. That is true, but the combination of difficult questions and a supportive environment make this my go-to conference.

As our conference chair, Felix, explains below, times are changing. The move to make the conference hybrid came about because of the pandemic. This has allowed people to take part who otherwise couldn’t attend, which is a good thing. The next conference will be run by a different organizing committee, as Felix explains. We are bound to still see some usual suspects and new faces, ask probing questions and make new friends. Times change. C++ changes. New programming languages come and go. No matter what, it is always wonderful to meet with like-minded people, and go away inspired.

I look forward to potentially meeting you at 2023’s conference, and perhaps listening to you talk. I should stop and hand over to Felix. I have a proposal to write!

Frances Buontempo has a BA in Maths + Philosophy, an MSc in Pure Maths and a PhD technically in Chemical Engineering, but mainly programming and learning about AI and data mining. She has been a programmer since the 90s, and learnt to program by reading the manual for her Dad’s BBC model B machine.

Thank you to Julie Archer and Archer Yates Ltd.

Julie Archer from Archer Yates Ltd, the organising company of the ACCU Conference, told me during the conference in April that she wants to step down and that she will hand over the conference to her very close friend Sarah Byrne who runs her own event organising company

This was a great shock for me, because Julie and her great team were inseparable from the ACCU conference, in my mind. She explained to me that because of comprehensible reasons she cannot continue to organise the conference.

When I attended the ACCU Conference for the very first time in 2015, Julie and her team were the first faces I saw when I arrived. They welcomed me very warmly and I felt immediately among friends. And this feeling continued throughout the whole event. I had attended several different events before but during this time I fell in love with the ACCU conference and started to play an active role. Julie’s support from my very first day on the programme committee and later as chair was amazing! Whenever an attendee, a speaker, a sponsor or one from the committee had a problem or needed something unusual, the team from Archer Yates made it possible. Beside the ‘normal’ organisation they took special care that the conference dinner became an unforgettable event every year!

It was a stroke of luck that ACCU met Archer Yates Ltd. Their knowledge of planning and organising an event, combined with the association’s know-how of a subject that is evolving so fast became a very successful joint venture. The ACCU Conference has evolved from a group of sessions after a WG21 ( meeting to one of the first class software engineering conferences. This would never have been possible without a partner that had worked so absolutely brilliantly in the background. Julie and her team did everything possible that the conferences went so smoothly. The interaction between speakers and attendees lays in the centre of the event.

I will miss Julie and her team, but I wish them the best in the future!

Felix Petriconi

ACCU Conference Chair

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