June 2020 From the IFAC President

IFAC-V 2020 special features and live streams

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

It’s okay to be disappointed. The organizing team, systems and control researchers and practitioners from all over the world, IFAC officials,... we all were so looking forward to an in-person World Congress in Berlin. And I must admit – with a virtual congress, we cannot really make up for that cocktail at the bar of the conference hotel with some col-leagues or new acquaintances, or for tasting some great German beers (the best really) with some research collaborators in Berlin’s beer gardens. I do wish there would be a sim-ple solution for beating the Corona virus as some people with fancy titles and important jobs claim – but unfortunately, there isn’t, and especially not by injecting disinfectants or by taking agricultural tractors for a ride ;-)

Once our organizing team had overcome the initial disappointment, we saw the opportu-nities and the many, many options a virtual congress can offer, and so should you. It would really go beyond the constraints of this column to just list all initiatives and formats connected to the virtual IFAC World Congress but let me at least tease some ideas and spe-cial features. For example, the plenaries and semi-plenaries taking place during streaming sessions (Mon-Fri: 1pm-4pm Berlin time) are all accompanied by some live format: either a panel discussion, a live demonstration or a discussant who scrutinizes the contents of the talks. You will also hear two pieces of mu-sic performed by the first IFAC control orches-tra ever (now even the first-ever virtual IFAC control orchestra!) during the virtual opening and closing ceremonies. Furthermore, there will be a special session on the spread of COVID-19 with a focus on modeling, data science and control, as well as at least some of the Berlin sights on screen. To encour-age social interactions, there will be quizzes that are to be solved in teams and platforms where it’s possible to get together and chat and interact with your colleagues and friends. Looking at the bright side of things, there are not only these cool new formats possi-ble through a virtual congress but so much more. For example, the registration fees are much lower (e.g. the workshops are only €40 for students). Or in the (certainly rare) event of a boring talk you can leave without being noticed and take your Bermuda shorts to a visit to the refrigerator ;-)

Anyways, it will certainly be an extraordinary and memorable World Congress, and I can promise you new and exciting experiences! Join the fun!Looking forward to seeing you (virtually) in one of the many different formats and online attractions during the first virtual IFAC World Congress 2020!

With best regards from Stuttgart
Frank Allgöwer

PS: You’ve still got that Berlin 2020 coaster from the World Congress in Toulouse promising a free beer? We want proof! Since a free beer is unfortunately off the table, by sending in your picture with the coaster you take part in a tombola with the chance to win a way better prize... More details will soon be avail-able on the World Congress webpage. Good luck!