March 8 Day 730: A Truly Hybrid Conference

Congratulations to Fred Hoffman, Maria Provost, Jeanne Cimillo, and Stephen Locke for putting together the 53rd Southeastern International Conference on Combinatorics, Graph Theory, and Computing. It is the first truly hybrid conference I have attended. They went all in with technology, and have achieved what others only dream about.

Let me explain. This is the end of day 2 (of 5). I gave two plenary lectures on Monday to an in-person and remote audience. Bela Bajnok gave two plenary lectures remotely today, watched by the in person and remote audience. Contributed paper sessions ran in four rooms simultaneously—some of the presenters were in person, some of the presenters were remote, some of the facilitators were in person, some of the facilitators were remote. There are almost twice as many remote attendees as in-person.

Each room had a “central command” where we could see what was being streamed out to the world (and a selection of who was listening) in addition to to standard screen projecting the presentation in the room. FAU students were technology assistants in every room.

Technology central command for each room was off to the side.

People could present from anywhere. And watch from anywhere. In fact, after the first plenary lecture this morning, I zoomed into my 8 am (pacific time, 11 am eastern) class to answer any questions my students might have before their big presentations on Thursday. It only took about 30 minutes. As I was signing off, I knew I didn’t have enough to time to get to the next session before it started. So I streamed the session and watched it outside, rather than entering the room late. That’s what I call ultimate flexibility.

Terry McKee’s presentation. You can see me listening from outside, the room listening in person, and Eric Nathan Stucky listening from Prague in the Czech Republic.

I have attended fully remote meetings (like JMM 2021, MF2021, NCTM2021). I have attended in person meetings with remote components afterwards (like AMATYC 2021). But this is the first, truly interactive, hybrid meeting I have been too. There is a learning curve to be sure. Transitions between speakers will get smoother as the week goes one. But this is a model for what a hybrid meeting can be and I am so glad to be able to participate in it.

Published by Jenny Quinn

Mathematician. Mother. Wife. Leader. I am a professor of mathematics at the University of Washington Tacoma. Mother of Anson and Zachary. Wife to Mark. President of the Mathematical Association of America.

One thought on “March 8 Day 730: A Truly Hybrid Conference

  1. Congratulations to All!! Thank you, Jennifer! Great speakers and talks at this year’s 53rd Southeastern International Conference on Combinatorics, Graph Theory and Computing, March 7-11, 2022

    Liked by 1 person

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