COMBINE 2014 Exit Survey

Question #1. If you had to pick one thing that you wish had been different about the meeting and could be improved, what would it be?

  1. The hotels should have been close to the meeting site!
  2. I think it'd be good if these conferences also spent some time connecting modelers with tool builders. The keynote speaker was fine, but the talk was structured such that the results of her modeling were the point of the talk, where what I actually wanted to know was how the quest to *get* those results influenced her decisions to choose particular modeling strategies and platforms.
  3. More soda choices during break.
  4. The meeting was long - I left midweek because I couldn't commit to that much time away, and it seemed like there were several people in the same boat.
  5. Co-locate all attendees.
  6. The shuttles were confusing. They were often not on time and no one was sure it they left early or hadn't shown up yet. It's minor, but that's what I would improve.
  7. Free parking.
  8. Access to free or discounted parking spaces would have been very helpful. The Biggy parking garage was manageable at $10 per day, but the parking lot at the Soto building ended up costing nearly $20 per day.
  9. Location more convenient to hotels.
  10. Travel arrangements were a little chaotic. I think this boiled down to lack of communication about who was going where in what form of transport. Not sure what the fix is here, other than everybody talking more about travel.

Question #2. If you had to pick one thing that you think worked well about the meeting and you think should be done the same way in the future, what would it be?

  1. The breakouts that I was in between pairs of projects worked very well. Also, the roof terrace space on the first couple of days allowed me to have very small ad-hoc breakouts to work through specific issues before presenting back to the wider group.
  2. I liked the balance of talks and discussion.
  3. It was great to have a quiet room available for working and warming up before a talk.
  4. Active environment during Breakout Sessions.
  5. The breakout sessions were super useful. I liked how casual and collaborative everyone was. The discussions at COMBINE have gone on to stir up a lot of activity for the spatial spec.
  6. Symposium.
  7. Morning talks and afternoon breakouts worked really well - splitting the day made it so that it was less tiring and more productive than the typical meeting/conference!
  8. Streaming the presentations online was fantastic as it enabled me to view the presentations even though I was unable to physically attend.
  9. The catering.
  10. I thought there was a great ratio of talks:breakouts this year, and felt that at least personally, there was always something relevant to participate in and/or listen to.
  11. The mix of presentations and opportunities for smaller, breakout sessions and working groups.

Question #3. Were the keynote presentations useful and interesting to you? Should we plan on having similar keynotes in future meetings?

  1. Yes, and yes.
  2. I would like the keynote speaker to know that they are talking to tool builders, and not biologists per se. We don't want to know what the results are because we're interested in the system, we want to know how what the results are influenced the modeling, and visa versa. Was there a goal in mind, and plenty of tools available to get to that goal? Only one tool? Only MATLAB? What was the choice of tool influenced by? Local expertise? Usability? Appropriateness? Were certain questions pursued and others abandoned because of tool issues?
  3. Yes - but slides should be made available.
  4. I liked the keynotes.
  5. Yes, they were very good.
  6. Yes for the most part. Maybe not as many are needed.
  7. I really enjoyed the talks that involved a lot of biology over the technical talks. What was missing from them was an explicit walk-through of where and how standards had been applied in that work, and were they thought standards could have added something.

Question #4. Did your area(s) of interest get enough time and coverage at the meeting? If not, what could we have done differently?

  1. Yes. Were there were blocks of talks or sessions that I was not interested in, I had other things to do and other people to talk with.
  2. Yes.
  3. I thought that spatial was given plenty of time and was encouraged to see other people also interested in that package.
  4. Was appropriate to have more on Synthetic Biology. Dissapointed by lack of NeuroML, CellML
  5. Yes, the time was more than sufficient.
  6. Yup!
  7. Yes.

Question #5. How did you like the venue and its facilities and arrangements?

  1. The meeting venue was excellent. However, transportation was a major problem to and from the different conference hotels.
  2. It was fine!
  3. Lunch catering was perfect. Special thumbs up for getting the authentic Mexican food .. They were also very polite and helpful!
  4. The venue was fine, although a little weird having two hotels so far apart.
  5. Aside from the cost of parking each day, the venue was very nice.
  6. The venue was great except distance from hotels.
  7. They were good.

Question #6. Tell us about the good, the bad, and the ugly about COMBINE 2014. Since this survey is anonymous, feel free to be as direct as you want to be. We won't be offended—we're asking for the feedback, after all. We will read all of the feedback and act on as much of it as is practical.

  1. Went well. No major concerns.
  2. Excellent dinner and reception!
  3. Bit worrying that the Radisson was in such a shady area. A killing a month prior, and apparently its known to not be a great location. Also, there was nowhere to be social nearby. It was also unfortunate that we required buses for anything, and particularly annoying that they were rarely on time.
    Some social excursion would have been nice one evening. Especially for those at the Radisson, who were basically in lock down in the evenings.
    For the actual meeting (venue/space/internet/coffee/lunch), it was pretty near to perfect. Just a bit more attention to the "human" aspects would have been nice (co-residence/location/social evening interactions/transport).
  4. I feel like there should be a group of people who are responsible for taking stuff like our final discussions on where we should go as a group and actually do something with it. Like the 'more of us should be editors' suggestion: what if someone was in charge of paying attention to editor job postings, and forwarding them to the list? We talk a lot and can be OK at identifying problems and sometimes at identifying solutions, but we're still bad about translating that discussion into action. (Or, perhaps, at reporting back on how that discussion turned into action?)