My ECMI Modelling Week 2020 Experience
In the summer of 2015, I made one of the most important decisions in my life, choosing to study mathematics. Already in the BSc, it got quite clear to me that applied mathematics is the field I feel more exhilarated by. Therefore, I sensed that the ECMI-certified MSc in Technomathematics was the best choice to continue my studies, but only later on I learned that it takes a bit more than just taking some courses and writing a dissertation. One of the musts of this master is taking part in the ECMI Modelling Week, and so I did.
Very enthusiastic and motivated, I signed up for the 2020 ECMI MW in St. Petersburg. Very disappointed, I had to learn that it would not take place presently because of the COVID-19 pandemic. In this sense, I prepared myself for the first online conference/meeting week of my life. Very hesitant I was assigned to one of the four problems presented forehand and started working on it in a team of five mathematics students from different levels of education and two tutors right on the first afternoon. Little did I know how productive brainstorming could be, even physically thousands of kilometers apart. The entire week we spent thinking, analysing, and running simulations with provided software by our tutors. Even with little experience with such conferences and this new online-model, I do not think that productivity was in any way affected. Even without the possibility of sharing a cup of coffee or having dinner together, all the team members got along brilliantly. It was wonderful to see how mathematicians can not only be bright, fast, and productive but also on how these multicultural events tend to bring out the human part in us. A big thank you for the experience to the organising committee and particularly to my colleagues Chen, Lorenz, Tahir, Zeina, and our tutors Maria and Margarita.
I hope that next year I’ll be able to write a similar text on how the 2021 Modelling Week in person compares to this first online edition.