Taming the World's Largest Meeting

In August 2005, the Catholic church held what was possibly the world's largest meeting: World Youth Day, a 10-day meeting in Cologne, Germany. In attendance were 630,000 “pilgrims,” along with tens of thousands of volunteer workers, suppliers, priests, and VIPs. Imagine trying to register that many people, accommodate them, and schedule their movements. Now imagine it without using sophisticated database technology.

That's what the church — or more accurately, the local organizing com

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