Well, back from GECCO and holidays, I have a little time to write about GECCO. And I will say a few words more than Julian Togelius, who says that the venue, UCL, was not too good
It was the worst. Conference. Ever.
Some bullet points:
- No meals provided. I know, that's a bit like whining, but I have seldom been in a conference that does not provide meals, which are not only an occasion for feeding, but also for networking, and for having people stay at the conference, as opposed to wandering around looking for a suitable feeding space
- No gala dinner, which, again, are networking events, but also an occassion to elbow-rubbing and celebrity-spotting. A bit whining, but, well, I have never been in a conference without this kind of event. And the keynote at the Natural History Museum only provided nibbles, which meant people hoarded and/or had to leave early for dinner
- No volunteers or paid people at the conference rooms! Not that something else than the projector was provided: no computer at the rooms! No water for nerve-soothing or throat-softening before questions! Besides, chairpersons were not warned in advance or nominated because they were the last talkers! Nobody there to check schedules, nothing! I had two shared tutorials (and fee reduction for that reason), and I could as well have skipped them, nobody in the organization introduced/checked/gave us a 5 minutes end notice!
- Rooms spread all over the place. Togelius already said that. Plus no notice on what was going on in each room
- Space and time provided for posters were awful! The space was even more far apart from anything else than rooms, and they were at the same time as coffee breaks, and 400 meters away from them! Either you went to the posters (and shared meager refreshments) or you took your dose of caffeine, which is what most people did
- Plus: no space assigned to posters. You just put them where you saw fit:
And if you were late, you might have to share a cardboard space with another poster (which is what happened to us). Or you had to put your poster in a 30-cm corridor, which is what happened at the NHM. And guess what? Nobody from the organization there either!
- No computer provided for speakers. As in backyard parties, BYOC (bring your own computer). Weight-conscious people who brought their pendrive had to get somebody else in their session to host their presentation.
All in all, I don't think I'll ever go to GECCO again, even if it's celebrated in Europe. Which isn't usually...