From the 25th to the 29th of July, I traveled to Reykjavik to attend SciCADE 2022 (International Conference on Scientific Computation and Differential Equations). I spent that week together with my Supervisor, Prof. Chris Budd, Dr Lisa Maria Kreusser, and Eric Baruch from the Department of Mathematics.
It was a perfect period to visit Iceland. While all Europe was wrestling with heatwave, Iceland was the only idyllic destination with a mild weather where I could enjoy a conference. Actually, the weather turned out to be more rainy and colder than in UK winter, so I don’t need to explain further…
After landing at Reykjavik Airport, I moved to the city center and reached my booked accommodation. A one bed dormitory room in a hostel. Such a big mistake! Once stepping into that room full of excitement for the forthcoming week, I realised that I reserved one bed, but next to other five. Eventually, I did not get panicked. I spasmodically turned on my laptop in a matter of nanoseconds and luckily found an apartment to rent. This way, I could finally find a bit more privacy and prepare for some job interviews arranged over the next days, without incurring the risk of displaying half-naked roommates in the background of my webcam.
Talking about the conference, SciCADE 2022 hosted more than 300 international participants. The numerous contributions included plenary presentations, mini-symposia, and contributed talks as well as 2 posters (yes, the number of posters was slightly imbalanced). Several topics were treated, such as differential algebraic equations, stochastic differential equations, dynamical systems, and naturally, machine learning crashed the party.
At the end of day one, I joined the Welcome Reception of the conference. I really enjoyed that event because it was the first time where I could chat in person with many other PhD students coming from all over the world since the COVID-19 pandemic.
We also met for dinner on Tuesday. I ordered as appetizer diced fermented shark and dried haddock, served with garlic butter. You would expect a comment like ‘this exotic fish meat must taste like chicken’. To be honest, the shark did not taste of anything and could not compete against the crunchy and protein Hardfiskur (dried haddock).
Over the next days, I had the opportunity to visit the city center of Reykjavik. I was impressed by Hallgrímskirkja. It is the largest Lutheran church in Iceland and known for its peculiar curved spires and the bell-shaped architecture. Also, I took some pictures of the north coast, fascinated by the deep and dark blue ocean. I did not have the time, but if you happen to visit Iceland, I strongly recommend the one-day trip called the Diamond Circle.
My joint talk with my Supervisor, entitled 'Optimally transported meshes for PDEs in non-convex domains’, was scheduled for the last slot on Friday. We were expecting few attendees, but surprisingly there were not enough chairs in the room! I was very happy to talk with Chris about our research on moving mesh methods. In particular, we discussed the application of Optimal Transport theory to construct a high-quality mesh that can help solve numerically the Poisson’s equation on non-convex domains with high accuracy. The feedback was very positive and insightful.
This was my last conference attended over 3 years of research, and also the biggest and most exciting one. Now, my journey in SAMBa is coming to an end, as I will relocate to Oxford and start working for a Biotech company as Data Scientist in late September. It is difficult to condense here all the memories that I will always bring with me once leaving Bath. I just want to say that those 4 years would have not been the same without the friendly environment in our Department. As a PhD student, I have experienced many moments where I felt lost in my research. However, talking about my concerns with my colleagues and flatmates, that over time have become good friends, and thanks to the support of the overall Department, I have been able to re-establish the course towards my destination.
Thus, I want to end this post with a simple but genuine " THANK YOU ! " to all the people who have been there for me. It won't be a goodbye, but a see you soon (also because I still have to submit and defend my thesis at a certain point).