s much fun as it is to be discussing Bochner's Theorem, it's also great to get a bit of a break from the brain-work, to relax and to get to know some of

the other ducks who swim in the same pond. The Geostatistics Congress is a chance to meet people who might end up interviewing you for a future job, to meet the new up and coming talent if you're thinking about hiring someone who knows what a covariance matrix is, or just to meet someone who shares some of your interests and who might tolerate an occasional e-mail with a research question. Although the separation distance created by an online meeting environment does make it hard to have coffee breaks together, or to enjoy together the entertainment at the big conference dinner, we do have a couple of ideas, described below about how to give people the opportunity to unwind and enjoy the company of

friends and colleagues, old and new.

 

The first, the Geostatistical Art Show, will be judged midday on the Thursday of the live week of the conference; you will have a better chance of making the short list if you register for the conference and submit your entry early, which you can do by sending a digital image here.

The second, the 5K Run, will be held midday on Wednesday of the conference; you and your team will have a greater chance for success if you try out the practice run, which will be available on this website in the week before the conference. Anyone, or any team can do the 5K Run, but if you want to be considered for the two prizes, you will have to register for the conference and send your team name and contact info here.

THE 1st GEOSTATISTICAL ART SHOW

Often, too often, our marvelous geostatistical algorithms are dismissed as being "mere art work". Rather than shaking our fist at the sky, cursing the ignorance of unappreciative peasants, we should own the criticism by showing that we can, indeed, produce beautiful art.

Anyone ... yes, even you ... who  has kriged or simulated or chosen colors for a variogram map, has stood on the brink of being an artist. Our grids, our pluri-gaussian "flags", our color-coded correlation matrices can be things of great beauty. This is your chance to use your geostatistical talent to produce an image that could hang in the Louvre.

The image has to have some clear and direct link to geostatistics: a realization of a simulation algorithm, for example, or an image that presents a piece of spatial data analysis. These artwork entries will be shown during the conference, and everyone is allowed to vote for their favorites. But the  vote of the conference-goers will be used only to create the short-list that will be judged by students and profs from the Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD). Knowing nothing about nugget effects, and even less about dynamic anisotropy, the final judges will simply appraise the short-list selections for their artistic merits: color, balance, technique, concept, emotion ... that ephemeral and effervescent "je ne sais quoi" that sets your MPS masterpiece apart from your colleague's clumsy SIS monstrosity. 

Everyone knows that artwork isn't worth hanging in a gallery if it doesn't have a cryptic and obscure title, so each entry must be accompanied by a title. And, to make sure that there is some connection to geostatistics, each entry must also be accompanied by a brief explanation of its connection to geostatistics. There are no criteria for what is "geostatistical

enough", but the short-list filtering by conference-goers will probably take care of anything that seems a bit too cheaty.

You can submit your digital image without a frame but you might have a better chance at winning the hearts of the OCAD judges if your oeuvre looks ready-to-hang.

5K RUN AND SCAVENGER HUNT

Some of the best memories of past Congresses come from getting to know the host city ... getting lost in the Old City of Valencia, finding the shortcut footpath off the mountain in Banff, or working out the mysteries of the Oslo streetcar system.

It's disappointing that you won't get to explore Toronto, but if you want to put together a team and take on a virtual exploration challenge, you can join in on the '5K Run'. If we had never learned the word 'COVID' and had been able to hold the conference as planned, we would have used the Isabel Bader Theatre, so that's where the 'run' will start, in the Street View of Google Maps.

Your team will navigate from one checkpoint to the next, guided by clues to the location of the next checkpoint. Only when you get to the right location will you be able to see in Street View the information that gives you your next clue. If you get stuck, conference elves are available to help you get unstuck.

It's a team event because you will likely want one person working Street View while someone else searches the Internet. And you'll probably make faster progress if someone on your team knows Toronto well, or has visited before.

We'll do this during the midday break on one of the first two days, so anyone who is able to be awake between 12:30 pm and 1:30 pm EDT can participate. 

A team can consist of people in entirely different places and time zones; you just need to work out how to communicate with each other in real time ...  texting or WhatsApp or carrier pigeon.

Prize to the team that finishes fastest, and a bigger prize to the team that can answer the questions at the end that test how well you observed the scenery along the route.