One of the events at the workshop this week is a "writers' workshop".  This
is popular in the patterns community.  We borrowed it from the creative
writing community.  It was invented about 50 years ago and has become very
popular among poets, science fiction writers, and other creative writers. We
started using it at PLoP (Pattern Languages of Programming) in 1994, and now
it is used in lots of places, and not just for patterns.

The purpose of a writers' workshop is for a group of writers to help each
other to improve.  In the creative writing community, the rule is that
everybody in the group has a paper that will be discussed, but in the
patterns community, we usually don't fallow that.  However, everybody must
have read the paper.  During the workshop, the author is mostly silent, and
the rest of the group does the talking.  There is a moderator who will make
sure that the conversation stays on topic and who tries to make sure all the
important topics are covered.  It will all be explained on Wednesday.

For the moment, the only thing you need to know is that you should read the
papers that will be in the writers' workshop.  Read as many as you can, but
read at least one.  We will divide the group into the "workshop" and the
"audience".  People who haven't read the paper being discussed will be in
the audience and will not be allowed to say anything.  You don't have to
have a detailed understanding of the paper.  In fact, if you have read the
paper two or three times and still have trouble figuring it out, you don't
have to have much understanding at all.  The fact that you could understand
the paper on first reading is valuable to the author, and you need to
explain what makes it hard to understand.

It is fine to read papers on the plane.  The paper "Reusable and Extensible
High Level Data Distributions" by Diaconescu et al will be workshopped on
Thursday.  So, if you were going to save a paper to read Wednesday night,
that would be the one.

You can find the papers at http://charm.cs.uiuc.edu/patHPC/program.html.