The third day begins with a breakfast (provided), which then continues to IBM TechTrek. Just like in last year's world finals, IBM presents their technologies as well as their Extreme Blue internship program. This year, they come up with their Rational Jazz collaboration framework which integrates collaboration tools such as instant messaging and such, into the Eclipse IDE.
The framework basically enables a developer in a project to pick some code and find out who developed the piece of code and even consult with the person right through the integrated instant messaging system. It has definitely went beyond the basic collaboration functions provided by tools such as Subversion (SVN) or CVS.
(Participants waiting for the TechTrek to begin)
Another speaker in the 3-hour-long seminar talks about how college students contributes to IBM research while they do internships, including obtaining patents, implementing new technologies, etc. There was also a presentation about the use of social networking for businesses, i.e. something like Facebook for engineers and developers in companies, etc. It is clear that IBM employs state-of-the-art social technologies such as social networking and blogging internally to enhance their competitive advantage in the industry.
After the series of the talks was over, we are bound to depart for an excursion sponsored by IBM to the Columbia Icefields. There was two options offered, the other one was to Lake Louise but we did not pick that one because we have already went there the day before. The bus departs soon after the end of the TechTrek and the participants are provided with lunch packages to be consumed in the bus to save time.
(Mountains and trees on the side of the highway)
Columbia Icefields is located in the Jasper National Park, a northern neighbor of Banff National Park (where the town of Banff is located). It took around three hours by bus, through the highway to the West from Banff and turning right heading to Jasper.
(Snow and the trees on the side of the lake)
On the way, the bus made a stop near the frozen Waterfowl Lake (if I'm not mistaken with the name) to accommodate peoples who need to use the toilet. The lake looks flat and shiny covered with snow, which makes me wonder how beautiful it will be when it's not frozen.
(The world's highest highway, the Icefields Parksway)
After the lake, the bus passed through the park checkpoint as it turn right out of the highway into the parksway heading to Jasper. On the sides of the road was now the beautiful range of Canadian Rockies, nominating the path as one of the most scenic drive in the world.
(Another parts of the Canadian Rockies)
Before continuing up to the Ice Explorer station, we made another stop in the Icefield Station which has a shop, some toilets, as well as a direct view to the Athabasca Glacier from afar.
(The way downhill, we came from this direction)
The Ice Explorer station is located a bit further near the Glacier, and in there we have to board the SnoCoach (special transporter bus for snowy surfaces). It took around 10 to 15minutes from there to reach the heart of Athabasca Glacier, which is the biggest mass of ice and snow outside the polar regions.
It was quite windy down there and it was also snowing, making it a bit difficult to take pictures. Wearing some 5 layers of clothing, I can say that it is still quite cool there. I had my first time holding some snow in my hands there as well. Some other people had some fun by throwing the snow balls to each other, while some can't move much due to the chilling temperature.
(Some people surely had a lot of fun with the snow)
We are allowed for some 15 to 30minutes in there, after which we have to board the SnoCoach back for the return journey. During the way back, another SnoCoach in front seems to get stuck when going uphill, which adds some 15 minutes to the time. It happens that we are the biggest group of tourist coming there yet, and thus they have to operate all the SnoCoach (normally they don't).
(The same scenery, on the way back)
The return trip is quite uneventful, other than passing the scenic highway again. This time the sun is angled a bit to the West, thus producing a warmer lighting. Unfortunately I was unable to produce a perfect photo from inside the moving bus on the way back.
(The sky is still so bright at 8:30pm)
Back to the hotel, we had our dinner, as well as have another round in the CyberCafe, after which we called it a day.
Continue to Day 4
(All photos are copyrighted, please ask for permission before reproducing)