Local Arrangements for ICIAM 2003 Take Shape

June 10, 2001

As the International Program Committee for ICIAM 03 works out the selection of plenary speakers (with the list to be announced in the fall), congress director Noel Barton and the Australian organizers have been taking a (pretty scientific) look at some of the nonscientific factors involved in a meeting.

As reported in the most recent ICIAM 2003 update, the Australian organizers conducted an electronic survey of all who attended ICIAM 99, in Edinburgh. With about 250 replies (a response rate of about 20%), they learned something about the factors that cause people to go to meetings: "Respondents obviously liked the current overall format, which features keynote speakers and multiple con-current sessions," Barton writes. There is, however, one exception: "Delegates do not have a high opinion of poster sessions."

The congress location---city/country---not surprisingly turns out to be more important than the congress venue itself. In addition, Barton says, "it is clear that delegates are sensitive to the registration fee . . . [and] see these meetings as a good networking opportunity."

The survey touched on specific items that respondents are happy to have included in the registration fee. "Yes," Barton reports, "applied mathematicians want tea and coffee breaks to be covered by the registration fee!" They prefer "foraging for their own lunch" and favor, "but not overwhelmingly," the inclusion of an opening reception in the registration fee.

How have the organizers used the survey information? To keep costs as low as possible, Barton says that they are negotiating for access to e-mail facilities and lecture rooms at an institution near the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre (the main congress site). The social program will not be lavish but will be, he promises, "definitely local in character."

The Fifth International Congress on Industrial and Applied Mathematics will be held in Sydney, Australia, July 7-11, 2003. Updates from the congress director appear periodically at http://www.iciam.org. A meeting of the International Council for Industrial and Applied Mathematics is scheduled for Helsinki, May 27.

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