CDC’16 in Las Vegas

I attended the 2016 Conference on Decision and Control in Las Vegas, Nevada. This was one of the biggest CDC’s to date, with over 1,600 registered participants.

There were several highlights in my opinion. First, the Sunday workshops were excellent. I spent most of my time in the workshop on large-scale SDPs (organized by Amir Ali Ahmadi and Georgina Hall). There were also several “birthday” workshops, celebrating Tryphon Georgiou’s 60th birthday, Pramod Khargonekar’s 60th birthday, and Tamer Basar’s 70th birthday. It was difficult to decide which talks to attend!

Also of note, there was a triple-invited session on distributed optimization organized by Angelia Nedich, Giuseppe Notarstefano, and Alex Olshevsky. It appears that the controls community is taking a keen interest in optimization algorithms, particularly in understanding how to distribute their implementation over an underlying graph or network. The talks touched on multi-arm bandits (very appropriate given the conference venue), clustering, accelerated methods, and much more. I’ll be following these areas of research with interest!

This year’s Bode lecture was delivered by Richard Murray and it was perhaps one of the best Bode lectures I have ever attended. Richard is an excellent speaker and his breadth and depth of knowledge across both theory and application areas is unparalleled. One of his main messages was to encourage control theorists to learn more about computer science — particularly formal verification methods. Looks like I have some reading to do!

The photo on the right shows the display above one of the roulette tables in the casino at the conference hotel. Real-time statistics and analytics to feed all your superstitions — I had no idea this was a thing!