Following Julien’s example, I am heading to Miami for JSM 2011 and take advantage of the looong if direct flight there to write a first post on attending JSM this year. The difficulty in such a large meeting is indeed in making a choice among the numerous parallel sessions to build a most profitable programme. Without turning it into an impossibility theorem. So [my] Rule #1 is to stick to a session for the whole time slot rather than trying to attend three talks in three different rooms. Rule #2 is to make one own’s programme from the on-line JSM site well in advance, ideally before starting your day. This way there is time to read the abstracts and to make a coherent choice. Rule #3: I would actually be less open-minded than Julien and opt for sessions whose title make sense to me, as 20 minutes is awfully short to grasp a new domain! Plenary sessions and special invited talks are obviously different in that the speaker has a much longer time to present an overview of one’s field and endeavours… Also take the time to read through the list of posters for keywords in your domains of interest: a random walk through the poster hall may have interesting outcomes, but it is more likely that you will miss the poster that was clearly related to your research.
Among the things I have spotted in my programme for this week in Miami, plenary talks by David Cox and Michael Jordan (Monday), Sylvia Richardson (Tuesday), and Michael Newton and Chris Holmes (Wednesday), the Savage Award session on Monday (I am sure Julien will attend! The model assessment session I organised is unfortunately scheduled at exactly the same time…), the SBSS mixer on Wednesday where prizes will be delivered. Enjoy your programme as well!!! (Sorry for the poor presentation, my Internet connection is just as poor!, and… btw avoid Enso on Lincoln Road Mall, drinks are outrageously overpriced! And, julien, running on the beach is fine if you plan it about 6am… This is the only free slot for the day anyway!)