ISMB/ECCB 2017 conference, Day 1

Posted by Federico Tomasi on Sat 22 July 2017

Here we are! This year I got the chance to be at the ISMB/ECCB conference, and, wow, this conference is HUGE. There are a lot of great speakers, a lot of great tracks! Unfortunately, I would need a Time-Turner to attend them all.

So, as everyone does, I decided to get a pen and highlight the interesting talks I would be able to attend on the conference notebook. Well, I'm a computer scientist, so most of the pure-bio-related talks were out of my league. However, as for the first day I was helped, helped by the fact that yesterday I met the CAMDA organisers, and I decided to attend their track entirely. Well, at least for today. :)

That was a great choice. OK, well, I was not attending the track only because I met the organisers. This helped me to spend more than five seconds on the related page on the notebook, so that I could read properly all of the talks. And by doing this, I was able to see that, well, these are the kind of talks I was interested in. See for yourself what program there was.

Morning. (10am?)

At 10am, the room was packed. Seriously guys, I just wanted to have some breakfast, so no, I wasn't there before 10am. Seems I was the only person in doing so. (Or maybe, everyone got there five minutes earlier than me ...) I got there during Lodewyk Wessels' talk. OK, I guess I were not there by 10am ... maybe 10.20, but still. The good news is that after only ~40mins of sitting on the floor, with a pillar between me and the slides, the talk ends. OK this is not the good news, actually the talk was great (though I could not follow it very well). The good news is that lots of people left the room, so I went straight to sit on a chair. That was the highlight of the day for me. Now we can follow the conference properly. Or starting to do so.

Actually I just remembered I did not bring any notebook to take notes. I neither had a pen. The choice was to stand up, go to the booths searching for the basic material required to properly follow a conference, or wait for the break. Of course, I went for the latter. The outcome is that I now Don't even remember what speakers were talking about, but it was interesting. I guess.

The main theme was the data integration problem. This was the topic of the morning and the first afternoon. It's really interesting, basically because nobody really knows how to use such different types of data in an integrated manner. There were lots of questions for each talk. Personally, I think this is a fundamental open problem in data science. Everybody gets data, but how can we put them together to use it all?


The packed lunch was not bad at all. The greatest disappointment was that ALL of the coffee machines were unusable. Guys? What about the coffee? What, really? Do we need to wait for the coffee break at 4pm? People were not expecting this.

Good is that I'm not really a coffee addicted.


First one of the afternoon session was Margherita Francescatto, in the line of data integration methods. OK, admission #1: I forgot to take a pen and a notebook. Again. Come on, I don't care, I will remember everything, this is so interesting! [blank]

After the data integration talks, the other were about microbiome diversity on materials. At this point I admit (admission #2) to have lost a bit of interest. It was late, I had no more coffee in my body (but maybe a bit of green tea) and I just wanted to visit the city.


The end of the day. Now, the interesting part of the conference: photos of the city! The sun was still high, so I had a couple of hours to visit the main POIs. As for the other days, clouds were forecast! So I could not miss any chance.