Wednesday, September 13, 2006

PPSN 2006 Conference report

So, the conference is over now, and I look forward to a few days of doing nothing at all. (Well, maybe visit a museum or two, or go hiking on a glacier, but I mean nothing involving evolutionary computation.) The last afternoon was spent in the Blue Lagoon, an outdoor thermal bath, making this one of the precious few scientific conferences where you get to see the other participants in only swimwear. A shame, though, that the population in question has so little "diversity".

So, how was the conference itself? Good. Very well organized, and fabulous for networking, because of the small size, poster-only presentations, and generally good atmosphere. It really made you feel part of the community, much more so than for example CEC does. So much part of the community that I'm really reluctant to write anything negative about the conference. (Maybe I should get an anonymous blog as well?)

The one thing I could complain about was that the conference was rather focused on theory and basic empirical research, and I might be a bit more of an applications guy. That's more of a problem with me than with the conference, however. And there were plenty of papers I did enjoy. I tend to enjoy theory when I understand it. My good friend Alberto won the best student paper award, which I think was well-deserved. His theory is one of those I do understand.

We also had some very good keynotes, especially the one from Edward Tsang on computational finance. And it was possibly to pick up some of the trends in the community. Basically everybody seems to be involved in Multiobjective Optimization, which I find potentially useful, and quite a few people are doing Evolution Strategies with Covariance Matrix Adaptation, which I find completely incomprehensible.

But I must say that quite a few people took an interest in my own paper as well, in spite of it being so different from most other papers there. Or maybe because of that.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

New papers online

Two new papers on the evolutionary car racing project are now available on my home page. One will be presented on a small workshop in Rome in a few weeks time, the other was presented at PPSN yesterday. Yes, that means I am in Iceland right now. What it's like over here? Cold and expensive. But not without its charm. I'll be back soon with a conference report of some sort.