Friday, June 24, 2011

My post-iEvoBio Meeting emotional outburst

I have just come back from the iEvoBio Meeting in Norman, Oklahoma. This is the first time ever I didn't quite mind to be stuck in a place in the middle of nowhere (seriously!) because my fellow prisoners were actually pretty entertaining.  This is what I love about iEvoBio. It does NOT bore you and it keeps you awake despite the heavy drinking session of the previous night; and for someone like me, with ADD, the constant flow of information, often delivered in 5 minutes slots, is just perfect (it's like watching great superbowl-style commercials!). The meeting format offered a little bit for every taste, from more focused presentations to fairly short discussion sessions. What do we get from short discussion sessions? Well, how about a set of quickly vomited ideas, needs, wish-lists, from a variety of people with often different backgrounds, seeds to bring home and plant to see whether anything germinates, either in your lab or someone else's. This is what's fun in science! I just love to be there and watch what will happen next, e.g. next year at iEvoBio.  We really need iEvoBio to remind us every year of the status quo in evolutionary informatics, what's cooking, what are the missing ingredients, the limitation and potential of the tools we build, and the beauty is we don't really need a week to catch-up.  Two intense days (and nights :-) are actually great!  Last year in Portland, OR, the meeting was fantastic, but this year I enjoyed it no less! For a great list of projects and new tools presented see Recology blogpost. Just a few of my favorites include Map of Life, TreeBASE with an R interface, Phenoscape, Ontogrator, and BirdVis. Of course, we presented our BiSciCol prototype and our slides are up in slideshare now. We didn't win the challenge though, despite me trying to cheat the system by voting from different browsers (I couldn't help it, it was more of an experiment, really ;-) but BiSciCol is still in its infancy stage and we will present a more mature product at the next TDWG meeting in New Orleans, so stay tuned!
Can't wait for next iEvoBio meeting in Ottawa! In the meanwhile I am charged-up and super ready to go back to work!