ECMTB2011 – Impressions

Here is a short personal account of my impressions from the conference held in Krakow.

  • First and foremost, the organization was impeccable. It is difficult to imagine that anything can be done better.
  • The opening lecture by Peter Swain shows the trend of moving from mathematical models to the real biology, or, in simpler words, from pencil and paper to microscope and scalpel. A lot of people with mathematical education, who tried to use math in biology, are inclined to use, loosely say, more realistic biology and simpler math.
  • It is very difficult to attend all the interesting talks when there are 10 or 12 sections at a time. For instance, I could not attend the lectures by Carsten Wiuf or Peter Jagers. It would be better if some of the talks would be put in the poster section.
  • In the first section on Epidemics the most interesting talk to me was by Mateusz Plucinski, who showed that sequence data of some bacteria contain information on the structure of human social network.
  • A very interesting presentation was given by Sergei Fedotov, who showed that if one considers transport equations based on the stochastic processes different from the standard Brownian walk, then it is wrong to just add reaction terms to the equations. Much more on this in his book.
  • The hottest topic is still the spread of epidemics on networks. Two sections, organized by Thomas House and Istvan Kiss, were huge success. People had to sit on the floor. Among other sections that I saw, these two were the most populated. And a lot of interesting talk, indeed. I just mention the talks by Ken Eames, by Tom Britton (the best talk at the whole conference, imho), and by Chriestel Kamp.
  • The sections on Population Genetics were not really inspiring. Although the talk by Reinhard Burger was quite interesting.
  • Having said that about Population Genetics section, one of the most interesting talks for me was by Marina Rafajlovic devoted to the study of populations that experience bottlenecks. This research is very interesting with respect to the general notion of the effective population size. Here are two papers on the subject: one, and two.
  • My own presentation went well, here are the slides.
  • Polish restaurants are wonderful. The food was delicious!

About Artem Novozhilov

I am an applied mathematician interested in studying various evolutionary processes by means of mathematical models. More on my professional activities can be found on my page
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