The International Workshop on Packing

Make your travel plans now for the next International Workshop on Packing. This year’s, held in Dublin in a “packed house”, has just concluded, the participants (all of whom have intriguingly packed schedules) efficiently stuffing their travel accoutrements and dirty clothes into backpacks and suitcases, and hastening back to their labs and homes. The conference’s promoters described the entire affair using some (for once!) unsexy language:

Particular questions to be addressed include:
– What are the best measures to characterize complex packing morphologies?
– What is the link between dense/loose packing and mechanical stability?
– What is the role of topological rules and constraints in packing problems?
– What are the open problems in packing platonic solids?

Speakers will also consider questions of disorder and statistics, which often involve heavy computation. It will also be of interest to those working in High Performance Computing and in Visualisation, and will include an introduction to TCD’s Visualization facilities. The workshop will admit some related problems of space filling or partition (such as the Kelvin problem).

A glance at the conference program shows that one of the delicious highlights was lunch in the Buttery Food Court:

One of the gossiped-about doings at the workshop was the revelation that (as New Scientist magazine later described it) “Spheres waste the most space of any shape if you are packing identical objects into a box.”

The conference web site discreetly refrains from mentioning when or where the next International Workshop on Packing, if there is one, will unfold. This lack of info may put a crimp into your plans, but please do or don’t let it discourage you from seeking more knowledge about packing.

(Thanks to investigator Roger Highfield for bringing this to our attention.)