Monday, November 16, 2009

FWCG '09 and the CRA-W/CDC Workshop

I'd never been to the Fall Workshop on Computational Geometry (FWCG) before - what a mistake! The workshop, held this year at Tufts University, was excellent. Papers presented at the workshop can be submitted elsewhere, it's less a publication venue than a true chance to share information (in short 15 minute bursts). This year it was held in conjunction with the CRA-W/CDC Workshop on Computational Geometry, which featured 45 minute talks by the experts.

The 15 minute talks at FWCG were a whirlwind of interesting topics. I'll post about my talk some other day and instead discuss the CRA-W workshop here. For me, the theme of the CRA-W workshop seemed to be "those questions you've always wondered about." Godfried Toussaint's talk even began with that hook, though I imagine it only rang true for a few of us. He discussed the geometry of rhythm as part of an effort to identify the lineage of rhythms. Imagine that the repetitive underlying rhythm (in Cuba this is the clave, in Ghana it's known as the bell) is represented as points around a circle, then the rhythm can be analyzed in the form of the shape created by connecting these points. The talk right after that, by Anna Lubiw, discussed questions of shortest paths under various restrictions. For example, while only walking uphill, or, as I frequently wonder while canoeing, the shortest path based on the wind and currents.

All in all, an excellent way to spend a weekend. Definitely worth going to even if it's not local for you. And a reminder of what our conferences could all be like in an ideal world.

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