{DSN08 logo}   DSN 2008
The 38th Annual IEEE/IFIP International Conference on Dependable Systems and Networks

June 24-27, 2008
Anchorage, Alaska, USA



Student Forum
Industry Forum


Call for Contributions
William Carter Award

Previous Conferences:
DSN 2007
DSN 2006
DSN 2005
DSN 2004
DSN 2003
DSN 2002
DSN 2001

Quick Links:

Invitation To Family Members:

An invitation to participate from the DSN 2008 Family & Social Activities Chair:

Anchorage Alaska is a wonderful vacation destination! This year, we are making a special effort to help accompanying persons take advantage of the opportunity to travel to this amazing location with an attendee. On this brochure are notes and pictures from our scouting trips to Alaska. Don’t miss this opportunity to explore America’s last frontier with your family! We’ll have special support for families and accompanying persons:

  • A local information and arrangements desk at the conference, staffed by local experts
  • Discounted tickets for the excursion and banquet -- kids are welcome!
  • Airfare and rental car discount codes
  • This "family" web page (we’ll add to it over time)

Please feel free to contact me with questions. We’re really excited about seeing you in Alaska we’re sure you’ll have a great time!

— Sue Kennedy; Family & Social Activity Chair; {email}

While we can't officially endorse any particular family activity, below is some information you will find helpful.

We have a two-page summary brochure, specific to DSN 2008.

New -- Top 10 Things To Do In Alaska!

For weather, "what to pack," and other local information please see our Location page.

Other ecommended information sources:

Tour Brochure, Discounts & Activity Planning:

Be sure to see our travel discount page (airlines and car rental discounts)

Logistics LLC will help you book activities, including Renown Tours and Alaska Heritage Tours activities. More info to appear here shortly. They will have an on-site representative at the conference for last-minute planning as well.
Download a tour brochure listing available tours and prices.
Contact by e-mail: tours@logisticsllc.com (please put DSN08 in the subject line)
Contact by phone: +1-907-276-6060

Of course you can also book activities on your own. In our experience, any vendor who is an ACVB (Anchorage Convention and Visitor Bureau) member has proven reputable.

We hope you'll be able to take your family on our excursion (tickets available via the registration page; must be booked by May 23rd. Unfortunately, there is no mechanism for purchasing other conference meals or breaks for accompanying persons.

Activities in and around Anchorage:

Family activities in and around Anchorage are numerous and fun (we've family-tested them ourselves on a scouting trip). The city is very safe, and downtown is quite walkable. Below are some of the activities we enjoyed the most or that were recommended to us are:

  • Anchorage Museum of History and Art. The main attraction is natural history exhibits of Alaska. This includes exhibits on Native Alaskan (Eskimo) artifacts and lifestyles, mounted wildlife, and even a full-size cross section of the Alaskan oil pipeline. It is near the downtown mall and a bit of a walk from the hotel. We recommend the docent tour. This museum is well worth seeing! (This is near the downtown shopping mall. It is walkable from the conference hotel, although it is a bit of a long walk, past the 5th Avenue Mall.)
  • Ship Creek. Walk down the hill from the hotel past the railroad station to the bridge over Ship Creek, and you'll see hundreds of salmon swimming upstream to spawn. (Not too far a walk from hotel; no admission.) No fishing license needed for kids under 16, but adults will need one.
  • The Anchorage 5th Avenue Mall is a major indoor shopping mall, a few blocks from the hotel. It includes a Nordstrum and many other stores. There is no sales tax in Alaska, so mall purchases are salses-tax-free. (Consider walking there and taking a taxi home if you plan on making a lot of purchases.)
  • Imaginarium: Science Discovery Center. A hands-on science center an easy walk from the hotel.
  • Consider a trip on the Alaskan Railroad through Denali National Park. The station is a short walk from the hotel.
  • Saturday market. Every Saturday morning a large lot next to the hotel hosts a gathering of craftsmen and other vendors providing authentic handicrafts, local food, and shopping. With about 300 booths, this is the place to get the best deal on crafts and in many cases meet the artisans themselves. Don’t forget to try the reindeer sausage cart!
  • Shops and other activities. There are numerous shops, large and small, to see near the hotel and other tourist attractions. Also: day spas, microbrew pubs, and “local color” evening shows that are fun.
A little farther afield (drive or take a complimentary shuttle to most) are:
  • Alaska Native Heritage Center. This is a unique opportunity to experience Alaska’s many diverse native cultures in one location. A walk takes you through clusters of native buildings and interpreters who explain the many different Eskimo cultures. There is a huge totem pole. A central building hosts native performances, exhibits, craftspeople, and a fascinating gift shop worth visiting to shop for authentic native crafts. It’s an easy drive, taxi, public bus, or free shuttle ride from downtown. Don’t miss this one!
  • Alaska Wild Berry Products. This is more like a mini-theme park than a museum, and is a for-profit attraction. But, has a lot of things for the kids to do. It's a great way to spend an afternoon if the kids get restless of the grown-up stuff. (Drive, or they can arrange a shuttle van.)
  • Alaska Zoo A zoo with animals in smaller pens, both local and from around the world. Just outside of town. It’s medium-sized, but expanding all the time. (a short drive or shuttle ride from the hotel.)
  • Sea Plane flightseeing. Fly from the world’s biggest seaplane facility, next to Anchorage airport. We saw Beluga whales, Dahl sheep, moose, and bears on our flight, but you might not get to see all of them on the same day.
  • See sled dogs and take a sled-dog ride on a glacier. (We didn't get to try this, but we hear it is a great experience.)
  • Other outdoor activities. Four-wheeling, sea kayaking, hiking, wildlife viewing, dogsled rides, golf until midnight.
  {Wild Berry Reindeer}
Beyond Anchorage, we enjoyed:
  • The Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center wild animal park (with large, but fenced, animal areas) perhaps an hour drive south of the city, on the way to Whittier. Features native animals in open range pens including bears and moose.
  • Whitter, Alaska. Whittier is a small town that hosts glacier cruise excursions on Prince William Sound. We plan to take such a cruise for the main DSN excursion, but you can also do this on your own as a family activity. You can get to Whittier by rental car (90 minutes), bus, or train on the Alaskan Railroad. Some excursion cruise lines will arrange transportation if you don’t have a car. There is a former WW II military rail tunnel that now permits vehicle traffic, but it alternates direction every half hour, so be sure to check the tunnel schedule if driving. It’s a very small town; plan on chili dogs rather than a fancy meal. The conference excursion will include a bus ride to Whittier and our own private offering of the "26 Glacier Cruise".
  • Talkeetna Alaska. Talkeetna is a cute little town about 2.5 hours drive north of Anchorage, on the border of Denali National Park. It has cute small shops, a great view of Mt. McKinley (North America’s tallest mountain -- called Denali by the natives), and fun family activities. By far the most spectacular activity is taking a ski plane to a glacier partway up Mt. McKinley. This is a memory that will last a lifetime! Another fun activity is taking a jet boat tour up and down the river. You can get to Talkeetna by rental car, daily train service on the Alaska Railroad, or a shuttle service. If you want to spend the night, consider Talkeetna Lodge.
Other places you might want to visit, but which we didn't get a chance to see ourselves:

There is much more information available from the Anchorage Convention & Visitor Bureau, including a much longer list of attractions, sample one-day itineraries, and suggested tours. Also, trips to most places can be arranged using the DSN tour brochure, which lists various trips for sightseeing and fishing.

Family Essentials:

For families on a budget, there is a small food store within walking distance of the hotel, but the nearest real grocery store requires a car and is an easy 2.3 mile drive (under 10 minutes) to: Carr's Quality Center at 1650 W. Northern Lights Boulevard, AK 99517 (Bring your Safeway supermarket chain discount card to avoid the implicit "tourist tax" on out-of-towners who don't get the with-card discounted prices.) Carr's also has a pharmacy and a liquor store. Pharmacy hours are: weekdays 9am-9pm; weekends from 9am-7pm; phone +1 907-297-0500.

The 5th Avenue Mall has many services, including: one-hour prescription eyeglasses, games, shoes, and clothing. Surprisingly, it does not appear to have a pharmacy or drug store.


One exciting possibility is taking a pre-conference or post-conference cruise. These cruises are very popular and tend to book up quickly for the peak season. We recommend you book your cruise as far as a year in advance to get your choice of sailing date and cabin. The ports near Anchorage are Whittier (nearer to Anchorage) and Seward (the more commonly used port). Cruise lines include:

  • Princess Cruises
  • Holland America Line
  • Royal Carribean

More Information:

If you have any questions, please contact our Family & Social Chair, Susan Kennedy, and she'll do her best to help you out. By e-mail: {email}(please type this e-mail address, there is no web browser link because of spam problems)

Sponsored by:
  IEEE Computer Society Technical Committee on Dependable Computing and Fault Tolerance
IFIP WG 10.4 on Dependable Computing and Fault Tolerance
In Cooperation With:
{Carnegie Mellon}   Carnegie Mellon University

Contact us: {e-mail address}(sorry, but to reduce spam you must type in this address rather than click on it).