Friday, November 18, 2005

FWCG 2005: Day I

Organizing a workshop is far more work than being on the commitee or giving a talk ! I spent much of the day worrying about things that had to be planned, whether the talks would run over, whether the abstract booklets would show up, and countless other things. No major fiascos, so far....

We had a number of nice talks, and it was interesting to see application themes like statistics, visualization and biology get repeated over and over again. I think it is often hard to see the impact of geometry because there are few clear cut areas where theoretical results in their pristine form are needed (like in cryptography). But concepts like Delaunay triangulations, orthogonal range trees, and binary space partitions are now ubiquitous in many application areas, and this is definitely a success story for the field.

Tamal Dey's talk on surface reconstruction was particularly interesting for a different reason. It illustrated to me firstly how much topology I still need to know to understand some of the more cutting edge methods that are being used in this area, and further illustrated that methods from topology (combinatorial, algebraic) are going to be more and more important in extending the range of geometric problems that we can now deal with.

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