Confessions of a researchaholic

July 3, 2019


Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 2:03 pm

## Location ##

Schloss Dagstuhl is located in Saarland near the German border with Luxembourg and France.
It is hard to reach from everywhere (2 hour train from Frankfurt airport plus 0.5 hour of taxi, even though I heard that driving from Luxembourg is about 1 hour).
But that is precisely the point: isolation can help focus and avoid distraction.
I was initially suspicious about the venue and participants of the seminar but was glad I tried it.
It was a very relaxing experience, and I got to know interesting people.

There is an old castle ruin at the top of a hill.
The main building is a newer castle with many compartments, including a small chapel, a chess room, a music room, a (pseudo) wine cellar, a dining hall, a cafeteria, and guest rooms, all connected by sometimes mysterious paths.
There is another new building with seminar rooms, guest rooms, and facilities like gym, sauna, and laundry.
I have taken some photos for visual reference:

## Time ##

There are seminars all around the year.
The one I participated took place during the July 4 week, coincidence with the company shutdown.
So the trip is like a working vacation, and it feels quite relaxing (even with the travel hassles).

## Seminars ##

Seminars are organized by volunteering individuals who file reports at the end.
Dagstuhl is basically a non-profit with support from the government and donors.
The participants pay about 50 euro per night of lodging plus other food/wine consumption outside the provided meals.

There were 3 concurrent seminars:
real VR, graph theory, and a forschungsaufenthalt (research visit) of a single person.
All participants eat together so it is kind of fun to talk with these graph theory folks (mostly mathematicians), who liked to sit together scribble about problems to solve.
During a breakfast I heard one guy asked another: do you think people would be interested in my presentation of a proof?

One guy from the graph theory seminar asked me: since you guys are doing VR, why are you still coming physically here for the seminar?
I guess we will have to keep on coming to Dagstuhl physically until we have good enough solution for VR meetings.

## Meals ##

The meals are prepared onsite, with excellent quality.
Lunches and dinners have assigned seats, randomized to maximize the number of unique peers that each participant can dine with at the same table (the happy diner problem).
I think I learned more from random discussions than the seminars.

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