I started this hobby around the year 1999 when I built my first website in Geocities, a historically important web hosting service that provided me with a free 15 Mb space to put a bunch of HTML files and a few highly-compressed image files. Someone even wrote an Ode to Geocities. I believe the URL at that time was
which, of course, is not working anymore. Eventually, the hobby has led me to build the following pieces.
The prototype of COCOS was initiated back in 2007 when I was a Ph.D. student at Okayama University. One day, the associate professor of my laboratory came to me and, out of nowhere, asked whether I can make an online registration system for the upcoming Symposium of Liquids. I said, “Sure”, and he was surprised, “You can!?” The system was able to handle the registration for the symposium at that year (also for the same conference in the coming year), and the annual meeting of the Molecular Simulation Society of Japan in 2008. However, since organizing a local scientific conference in Japan was quite simple and the system was not a dedicated project either, there was no motivation to push the development of the system further.
Fast forward to 2013, after I moved back to Indonesia, I was tasked as the secretary for the first ICHT conference at Brawijaya University. That was my first experience in handling a scientific conference in Indonesia. Conference in Indonesia is generally exhausting due to its broad theme, the size of participants and their unusual demands, and the paper works: LoA, certificate, etc. The fastest way to establish an online registration system, at that time, was to use the Open Conference System. With all due respect, it was an awful experience because of the ugly user interface, oversized system, and complicated flow. To be fair, the OCS at that time was probably in its early development stage. One year later, I was tasked as the vice-chairperson for the 4th Annual Basic Science International Conference. It was said that the team is used to handle registration and abstract submission in the “manual” way, so I let myself drowned in tinkering Drupal for the conference homepage. Again, it was a very unpleasant experience.
The turning point was in 2015, when I was tasked as the chairperson for the 5th Annual Basic Science International Conference. Past experience has taught me about the tediousness of organizing a scientific conference here. The routine works are mentally too hazardous to be handled manually. I opened my old project and incrementally improved it as the conference preparation proceeds. The conference was a success and it left a nice impression (except for the food shortage during the banquet, to which the venue hotel promptly apologized).
In the following years, I continue to serve either as a committee or a chairperson for other conferences, and the system has been continuously improved under the pressure of real problems that emerge during those time. The purpose of this system is clear: help participants to register and submit their materials; and free the committee members from the strenuous repetitive tasks to allow them to concentrate on the issues that matter. When I arrived at the time to name the system, I looked at a stuffed animal that I bought more than a decade ago as a present for my wife. She told me about how it has brought a fragment of happiness to her, and now she passed it to our youngest daughter. She called it COCO.