MFCS admirably clings to the notion that Mathematical Foundations of Computer Science means all theory, from algorithms and complexity to logic, computability and semantics. Here are some notes from the 34th MFCS:
- There were three plenary invited talks titled Stochastic Process Creation (Javier Esparaza) Stochastic Games (Chatterjee, Henzinger and Horn) and Stochastic Data Streams (me), resp. So, we know "stochastic" is in. One of the other plenary talks was by Peter Widmayer who spoke about sorting of train car, from simple Knuthian to far beyond, and ended with a beautiful picture of Lausanne trainyard triage. Combinatorial algorithmicists should grab his slides.
- People like Ratislav Královič of Cromenius Univ, Ivona Bezáková of Rochester Inst, and many others remind me there is a pipeline of talented TCS researchers from Slovakia and I got to see parts of the pipeline.
- Discussions with Wim Martens, Javier Esparaza and Sven Schewe centered on (a) Is FOCS and STOC representative of logic/automata/semantics community? (b) How to improve the quality of journal refereeing? and (c) Should we encourage publishing fewer papers. Of course in Europe, one discusses US vs Europe. Let me add a joke yesterday over lunch when I observed that a journal submission should be rejected with a note, "Please publish this first in a conf to get some feedback from the community."
- On a social note, I learned that there is a special insurance you need to buy if you go up mountains, lest you need helicopter and other extraordinary emergency services. Hm... Also, Pierre McKenzie told me about 24 speed folding mountain bikes, and how he bicycled to the conf from Poland. Sounded cool.