GTAC 2015 Wrap Up

by Michael Klepikov and Lesley Katzen on behalf of the GTAC Committee

The ninth GTAC (Google Test Automation Conference) was held on November 10-11 at the Google Cambridge office, the “Hub” of innovation. The conference was completely packed with presenters and attendees from all over the world, from industry and academia, discussing advances in test automation and the test engineering computer science field, bringing with them a huge diversity of experiences. Speakers from numerous companies and universities (Applitools, Automattic, Bitbar, Georgia Tech, Google, Indian Institute of Science, Intel, LinkedIn, Lockheed Martin, MIT, Nest, Netflix, OptoFidelity, Splunk, Supersonic, Twitter, Uber, University of Waterloo) spoke on a variety of interesting and cutting edge test automation topics.

All presentation videos and slides are posted on the Video Recordings and Presentations pages. All videos have professionally transcribed closed captions, and the YouTube descriptions have the slides links. Enjoy and share!

We had over 1,300 applicants and over 200 of those for speaking. Over 250 people filled our venue to capacity, and the live stream had a peak of about 400 concurrent viewers, with about 3,300 total viewing hours.

Our goal in hosting GTAC is to make the conference highly relevant and useful for both attendees and the larger test engineering community as a whole. Our post-conference survey shows that we are close to achieving that goal; thanks to everyone who completed the feedback survey!

  • Our 82 survey respondents were mostly (81%) test focused professionals with a wide range of 1 to 40 years of experience. 
  • Another 76% of respondents rated the conference as a whole as above average, with marked satisfaction for the venue, the food (those Diwali treats!), and the breadth and coverage of the talks themselves.

The top five most popular talks were:

  • The Uber Challenge of Cross-Application/Cross-Device Testing (Apple Chow and Bian Jiang) 
  • Your Tests Aren't Flaky (Alister Scott) 
  • Statistical Data Sampling (Celal Ziftci and Ben Greenberg) 
  • Coverage is Not Strongly Correlated with Test Suite Effectiveness (Laura Inozemtseva) 
  • Chrome OS Test Automation Lab (Simran Basi and Chris Sosa).

Our social events also proved to be crowd pleasers. The social events were a direct response to feedback from GTAC 2014 for organized opportunities for socialization among the GTAC attendees.

This isn’t to say there isn’t room for improvement. We had 11% of respondents express frustration with event communications and provided some long, thoughtful suggestions for what we could do to improve next year. Also, many of the long form comments asked for a better mix of technologies, noting that mobile had a big presence in the talks this year.

If you have any suggestions on how we can improve, please comment on this post, or better yet – fill out the survey, which remains open. Based on feedback from last year urging more transparency in speaker selection, we included an individual outside of Google in the speaker evaluation. Feedback is precious, we take it very seriously, and we will use it to improve next time around.

Thank you to all the speakers, attendees, and online viewers who made this a special event once again. To receive announcements about the next GTAC, currently planned for early 2017, subscribe to the Google Testing Blog.