MCMskv, Lenzerheide, 4-7 Jan., 2016 [news #2]

moonriseA quick reminder that the early bird registration deadline for BayesComp MCMski V is drawing near. And reminding Og’s readers that there will be a “Breaking news” session to highlight major advances among poster submissions. For which they can apply when sending the poster template. In addition, there is only a limited number of hotel rooms at the Schweizerhof, the main conference hotel and the first 40 participants who will make a reservation there will get a free one-day skipass!

12 Responses to “MCMskv, Lenzerheide, 4-7 Jan., 2016 [news #2]”

  1. Call: It would nice to hear from readers about their past experiences of low-budget and exciting conferences so that we could replicate their solutions for future meetings!

  2. Xi’an, thanks for your reply. Please note my remarks and “complaints” are not directed to you: I am “using” this platform as I know your blog has many readers, hence I hope that those responsible for future editions will perhaps consider this issue.

    Of course the “ski” suffix in the conference name comes with some (pleasant and some not-so pleasant) consequences. However the moment it became the official BayesComp ISBA conference, it should consider that many would like to attend and enjoy its great program.
    It is awesome to have a great conference with the benefits of a spectacular surrounding, and again Chamonix was allowing several opportunities for the careful traveler. Who wants to be somehow “forced” to opt for a car-rental or go through the logistics of grouping to share an apartment (especially if I don’t know the attenders…) when attending a major conference in the field, just because of lack of options? (meaning that it’s not that the good options are now “gone”, they are simply not available at all in a small venue such as Lenzerheide)

    • If you move fast enough, there is an airbnb flat at €63 per night still available for the days and nights of MCMSkv!

    • I would (vociferously) argue that whatever benefits are derived from having this conference at a ski resort is more than offset by the fact that the prohibitive cost of having it at a ski resort keeps interested researchers away.

      I am not sure why Bayesian conferences are at five star locations during peak season, but I would really appreciate it if they would stop doing it.

      Just as you’ve argued convincingly that a lot of conference fees are far to high given the needs and funding realities of conference attendants, I would say that there is just no convincing reason to put this conference at a ski resort (other than that some people like skiing, in which case I recommend annual leave) or to put the ISBA conference at a Valencia-type venue. In fact, I would say that there are very convincing reasons not to.

      So, basically, I really hope that the BayesComp committee re-think the location and concept of their meetings and that the next unorganised meeting (which may be 2018 or 2020, depending on how organised they are) is somewhere easy to get to with plentiful accommodation and not during peak tourist season.

      • The next ISBA World meeting is in 2018 in Edinburgh, in June, and while a nice location by my own standards, there is a broad enough range of accommodation offers to satisfy all budgets. I do not know if June is already peak season there (for me, Scotland is peak or Munroes country all year long!) but I fathom staying away from the festival weeks should be fine. There is no plan yet for the next BayesComp meeting: Bath maybe?!

      • If BayesComp opens itself up beyond ski slopes, I think Bath (or Bristol/Oxford/Warwick, which are the computational triangle) would be a great place (although the next one should probably not be in Europe, so maybe 2020)

      • I would like to (less vociferously) agree with Umberto and Dan. The program for MCMSki looks fantastic (and the low registration fee is much appreciated.) But when I looked into registering this week I decided not to based on the accommodation costs. It would be great if BayesComp held some future meetings in more affordable locations.

      • Sorry to hear you will not attend, Dennis! I must confess I did not check accommodation costs when we discussed Lenzerheide for MCMskv (with no other proposal made to BayesComp after its call) and that it would have impacted my assessment of the location. I fear I was then thinking of a summer vacation we took in Pontresina, where prices were much lower and affordable… I agree it would be great if the next BayesComp meeting was held in a cheaper place, but remember that those meetings are organised by local volunteers who naturally pick places and people they already know because they are eventually building the conference out of their free time. I thus hope there will be a larger range of proposals for the next call. If not, the choice will be between cancelling the meeting and accepting the constraints at the only place willing to hold the meeting!

    • I do not want to get into an infinite regress and I agree that the cost of the hotels is quite high and higher than my per diem, but wherever the place and whatever the offer you need to go through some logistics and some expenses when you travel to another place.

      • Just for the information of others, I actually looked back at the call of hosts and it does kind of say that “MCMSki” does not have to be held at a ski resort. I mis-remembered it / misread it at the time as asking for it to be at a ski resort.

        What it actually said was that MCMSki is a conference held at a ski resort but proposals for any venue that could host it would be considered.

        The proposal call also explicitly asks for low-cost accommodation.

        So I was wrong. This year’s BayesComp conference isn’t expensive because it had to be held at a ski resort, but because, as X said, the only proposal was at a ski resort. Sorry for the misunderstanding!

        (‘Og link here: https://xianblog.wordpress.com/2014/02/10/mckski-5-where-willst-thou-be/)

  3. Dear Xi’an

    going through the registration process: amazing rates for the conference fee, this is really great! But…the previous edition was held in Chamonix, providing a good range of opportunities for accommodation. Lenzerheide being a small village has very few hotels with rooms ranging from 150 to 200 euro per night. The cheapest hotel at MCMCSki rates costs 120 euro/night and I am not even sure it is still available. If MCMCSki is now the official meeting of the ISBA BayesComp section I would be happier if it could be more approachable.
    I am aware of your effort in supporting cheaper conferences, as opposed to the ISBA meeting in Sardinia, and MCMCSki has a fantastic registration fee. But such an important conference should also consider the availability of hotels at reasonable prices when choosing the venue. Surely the advertised prices are not terribly high given the time of the year in a ski-area , but for those only interested in the conference and not willing to ski it is gets quite pricey.

    • Dear Umberto, even though I am only part of the scientific committee this year, I am aware of this issue. First, this is Switzerland at peak skiing season, so costs are high by definition. Higher than Chamonix which was already high by French standards. As you mention, Lenzerheide is a small village with limited medium range offer.

      If you can manage renting a car, there are much cheaper hotels in the vicinity, as a quick search on booking.com can show. If not, renting an apartment with other participants is always cheaper than staying in hotels. See e.g. this Chesa Clois. A last piece of advice is to optimise your travel schedule to minimise the number of nights you spend in Lenzerheide! For instance, Chur is much cheaper.

      Good luck!

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