Success for two online conferences

The organisers had planned for 1,000 participants at the two major conferences in visualisation in Norrköping, Eurographics and Eurovis. But 2,300 registered, and they presented 100 streamed video sessions that have been viewed nearly 38,000 times. So far.

Empty corridor. Empty premises at Campus Norrköping and a major blow for Norrköping municipality, but online attendance was high. Thor Balkhed

The chat stream is full of praise when the joint conference EGEV 2020 holds its virtual concluding session on Friday afternoon: “you have all done an impressive job”, “excellent”, “absolutely fantastic”, “you have set the standard for future digital conferences”, are some of the comments, together with rows of clapping hands. The participants also point out that of course they miss being able to meet IRL, but as it was not possible, this is the best solution.

In this corona period, the discussions between and after the various sessions and the social events were also held remotely. These included a journey offered by Anders Ynnerman to the outermost edges of the universe on Wednesday evening, and a parody of the Abba song “The winner takes it all” at the opening ceremony. This – “The reviewers take it all” – became the most watched video of the conference.

Hard work from many

“It has needed huge efforts by the co-workers at the Division for Media and Information Technology (MIT) to make sure that all the technology and organisation are in place in just a few months, and I’m both grateful and proud of what we have achieved”, comments Professor Anders Ynnerman, head of MIT and main organiser of EGEV2020.
Together with Matthew Cooper as co-chair, and Professors Jonas Unger and Ingrid Hotz, who were responsible for Eurographics and Eurovis, respectively, many co-workers have contributed to making the two week-long conferences possible.

Ingrid HotzIngrid Hotz also sees advantages of the digital format: more people can take part and the freedom of choice is greater. Photo credit Thor BalkhedIngrid Hotz mentions some advantages of holding the conferences remotely:
“We reached more people and digital conferences are more inclusive. I truly want to thank everyone who has contributed”.

Measurable interest

Alexander Bock and Martin Falk, both at MIT, were in charge of much of the technology. They say that it was possible to measure in a completely new way what the conference participants are interested in when all sessions are published on YouTube. The conferences presented several keynote talks from academia and industry, long presentations, short presentations, student projects, poster sessions and social events, just as if they had been held as intended in Norrköping.

The organisers give us some figures: 37,700 viewings so far, corresponding to 8,400 hours or 350 days – nearly a year. Most participants were aged between 35 and 45 years, 10-20% of the viewings took place live, i.e. when the presentation was being held, while the others watched the video later. 17% of participants are women, and the statistics show that they tend to watch the videos slightly longer.

“It was a success”, concludes Anders Ynnerman.
No one is going to contradict him.

The conference submissions can be viewed here
Anders Ynnerman’s Space Show

Two interesting and entertaining presentations (highly recommended by yours truly) are Jackie Faherty’s keynote presentation, which starts with a historical review and takes us on a research journey through space, and a presentation by Roxana Bujack from Los Alamos, in which she describes the challenge of visualising dynamic flows, and plays with graphic filters (her presentation begins approximately 30 minutes into the video).

Translated by George Farrants

Alexander BockAlexander Bock was responsible for much of the technology, and was recruited at short notice as moderator for one of the sessions when the scheduled moderator failed to appear. Photo credit Thor Balkhed

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