ICFP 2017 has multiple social events, which established a potent community spirit at the conference. The two, which are more strongly associated with the main ICFP conference, are the welcome reception, held on the first evening of the main conference, and the banquet, held on the last. Additionally, there was an industrial reception on the evening after the banquet, which I unfortunately could not attend. Finally, the FARM evening of algorithmic arts is still to come, on Saturday.
The welcome reception allowed us to informally introduce ourselves to each other, in preparation for the next few days of academic presentations and discourse. The welcome reception also hosted the poster session for the Student Research Competition, which is where undergraduates and PhD students display their research efforts. One important benefit of the Student Research Competition is to encourage new researchers by providing a dedicated space to display their work. Another benefit is that it inspires potential researchers, such as myself, to contribute academically to future conferences.
The banquet is the social event to conclude the main conference, where we celebrate the accomplishments of the conference. To this end, three SIGPLAN awards were given on the night for worthy achievements. The banquet also served as the year’s last opportunity to socialise in the main ICFP conference community, as some of us began to head homewards. Due to the high concentration of attendees, socialising was not just important, but mandatory! Furthermore, the Weston Library’s interesting displays, which offered, among other things, new perspectives on Jane Austen and old perspectives on geography, stimulated discussion in a direction which emphasises, as Remy mentioned, the interdisciplinary openness of ICFP. Yet, closing the building did not effectively finish the night’s discourse, which continued into the night.
Although I could not make the industrial reception, I am well-informed (via the Internet) that it has also been a smart, entertaining and very social event, against the backdrop of the many beautiful and historically important works of art at the Ashmolean Museum.
Being able to informally meet others at social occasions, as well as during daily coffee breaks and over lunch, greatly helped me to join in with the large, inspirational, creative ICFP community, and I hope to remain a part of the community in the future!