Why I Accepted to Serve Once Again as Program Chair of COMSOL Conference Europe 2012

Valerio Marra February 10, 2012
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I was reading Fanny’s blog post about the call for papers and it reminded me of my duties as program chair of the COMSOL Conference 2012 that will be held in Milan, Italy. I had gotten distracted.

At the time I was working on a two-phase non-isothermal flow simulation and I was lost in my train of thought… “How to correctly represent volume forces? Is it ok to use the Boussinesq approximation? Is this mesh fine enough? Am I using the right material properties?” I bet you know what I mean. If you’re into modeling and are using the right tool, you can’t really say you’re working: you’re just having fun.

You can easily forget about a meeting or an important phone call; when your simulation is converging you get your reward and can run around the office screaming “Eureka”. Such a feeling reminds me of why I accepted to serve as program chair once again and without any hesitation, for our conference. It’s amazing to go through all the abstracts, discuss them with the scientific committee members during the review process and listen to the authors presenting their work just a few weeks later.

I continue to be amazed at how users do magic with COMSOL, even though I see it happen all the time. I like how we thank each speaker with a big applause after the user presentations. We really appreciate the effort in explaining to the audience, in just fifteen minutes, the research and design challenges faced and how they have been overcome. Then I take a stroll around the posters and I get new insights into current R&D work, each one of them a feast for the eyes (thanks to COMSOL post-processing) and a challenge for the mind.

We contribute to make our world a better place whether we are designing a fancy product or a life-saving device: this is something that all of us should be proud of. I can meet researchers and engineers from all over the world that choose to be part of this very special, hands-on event to share ideas, learn about new technology, and connect with colleagues.

I digress… We now have the new conference site up and running and we’ll soon add the Program Committee page. For the Milan Program Committee, I can anticipate that members belong to well-known companies and universities such as Barilla, Olivetti, Hitachi, and École Polytechnique, to name a few. Most of the members will attend the conference and chair the user presentation sessions, so don’t miss the chance to meet them! The call for papers section is entirely dedicated to authors. The first deadline to submit an abstract for the Milan conference is June 22 (a reduced registration rate is applied to early birds). Abstracts can be up to 500 words long and contain 4 figures. Contact me at valerio.marra@comsol.com if you need further information or join the forum where we’ll soon start to discuss guidelines, topic areas, user presentations, posters, panel discussions, keynotes, minicourses, and the like. I hope you’ll join the multiphysics community and help us in making a great conference!

As for the project that initially distracted me: aren’t you curious about which application I’m working on? For the moment I can only tell you that I have yet to reap my reward as I’m still trying to figuring out which the best operating conditions are that I need in order to obtain the result I want. It’s a very famous decorative item, I’ll share the results with you soon, so stay tuned!


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