International Mathematica Symposium 2010

January 7th, 2010 | Categories: mathematica | Tags:

I recently received a notification about the 2010 International Mathematica Symposium (IMS) which is due to take place in Beijing, China from July 16th this year.  The IMS is not run by Wolfram Research (although I think that Wolfram is a sponsor) but is run by Mathematica enthusiasts for Mathematica enthusiasts.  I was lucky enough to be able to attend both the 2008 IMS in Maastricht and the 2006 IMS in Avignon where I had a fantastic time, learned lots of stuff and met loads of people who just love Mathematica and mathematics.

I have to say that I have never been to a conference quite like the IMS before; the attendees were simply fizzing with enthusiasm and the range of talks and activities were wonderful.  In Avignon, I learned how to use Manipulate even before Mathematica 6 was released.  In Maastrict I was among the first to see some of the new features in Mathematica 7 and have seen Mathematica applied to subject areas as diverse as cancer research, high school math teaching, puzzle solving, quantum mechanics, electronics, radio astronomy and finance.  I’ve been taught Mathematica tricks from some of the very people who wrote the thing and have swapped programming methods and scripts with users of all levels.

The knowledge base of those attending the IMS ranges from people who eat, breathe and sleep Mathematica through to people who have only just started using it and everything in between.  I’ve met (and now consider among my friends) a statistics expert from Australia, a genetic algorithms expert from Canada and a college instructor from Finland among many others.  I’ve celebrated Mathematica’s 20th birthday in some underground caves, had my head read and also got a couple of very nice T-shirts which I love but my wife refuses to be seen with (she doesn’t like my MATLAB T-shirts either)!

There is usually a sprinkling of Wolfram employees among the attendees which gives you the chance to get the inside track on what is going on within Wolfram Research.  If you have a problem understanding something in Mathematica or there is a bug that winds you up then who better to talk to?  The IMS has also given me the chance to meet the authors of some of the most well known Mathematica books over the years which was fantastic.  Discussing a fun math problem with people like this and then watching them cook up a cool looking demonstration in minutes will surely get your imagination fired up.

Unfortunately, due to a distinct lack of funds, I probably won’t be at the IMS in Beijing but if you are into Mathematica and can make it there then I highly suggest you go.  You won’t regret it and I’d appreciate it if someone could send me the T-Shirt ;)

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