My week at ISBA

I’ve spent the last few days in beautiful Sardinia for the ISBA world conference. The place is outstanding, really beautiful, although it’s kind of weird that there is no real town along the cost for miles and miles. Leaving Cagliari and driving for over 50km, you only come across a massive oil refinery and the town of Pula. There are many resorts (some super high-end, like the one where the conference is, some more like very nice camping sites with tents or bungalows replaced by nice apartments), but no real town. I felt that was a bit weird as I wasn’t used to things like that, in Italy $-$ but it may well be that I am just ignorant about my own country and there’s tons of places like that…

As for the conference, my last ISBA was 10 years ago $-$ that was the last one of the original “Valencia meetings”. Even then, it felt like a big conference, but that was nowhere near the level it has reached now (I think there are over 700 people here!). This means there are several parallel sessions and lots of heterogeneity in the topics. Also, the schedule is quite packed with talks from 9am to 7.30pm (with some breaks throughout) and then poster sessions after dinner. I was impressed by how well the organisation has worked: I’ve not seen a single session running late!

My talk is later today; I’ll be talking about our work on the RDD $-$ I’ve planned a rather high-level talk, showing some of the general themes we’ve developed and giving broad examples, rather than going to the details. Luckily, we do have a few papers on these so hopefully I’ll be able to point people to the relevant references.

More importantly, I’ll have to rush off just after my talk (which isn’t great) so that I won’t miss my flight home $-$ I’ve tried to plan everything ahead, so I’ve put petrol in the car, checked out the hotel, etc. I’ll give the talk with my fingers crossed, just in case…

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