Some issues that often return when organizing an ICA or related conference are the difficulty to attract practitioners, the difficulty of having methodology-centered sessions that still attract participants coming from different application fields, and the wish to have in-depth discussions among participants from different types of organizations.
The conference will be organized such that we maximize the interactions between the participants along different lines. An innovative setup is proposed where participants can have in-depths discussions within (i) their Type of Organization (utilities, manufacturers, researchers, consultants, government) and (ii) their Application Field (drinking water, wastewater, receiving water, groundwater). While this may look as if this enhances discussions within existing silos, the proposed format will have specific Method Sessions (e.g. event detection, big data, automation, control, sensors, data quality, new data sources) to confront experts with different backgrounds with problems and solutions across the different application fields thus cross-fertilizing each other.
In terms of planning we would organize four forums on the day before the conference in a workshop style format that emphasizes case studies: a Manufacturers Forum, a Utilities Forum, an Academic Forum and a Consultants Forum. During the 3-day conference we would then have the Application Field Sessions broken up by Methods Sessions. To involve all participants, every day will have plenary sessions to inform attendants about the other sessions. Both the forums and the application field sessions are intended to especially attract practitioners to the conference. If you are interested in getting involved in the planning of these innovative forum setups, please contact the conference chairs: rieger(at)inCTRL.ca or peter.vanrolleghem(at)gci.ulaval.ca.