Welcome Message by the Chairs

Preparing for IK 2020

Dear IK Participants,

below you find a few considerations that we think might help you to prepare and to make it most likely that IK will turn into a wonderful experience for all of us.

If you have any further organisational questions, please feel free to reach out to the organisational team at info@interdisciplinary-college.org.

Your IK 2020 Chairs,

Jan Smeddinck
Katharina Rohlfing
Terry Stewart

  1. First of all, the focus theme will be “Curiosity, Risk & Reward: Shaping Autonomous Intelligence”. While not all activities at IK will (or should) evolve around the focus theme, we are hoping that it will stimulate a lot of great exchange. To that end it can be great to start thinking a bit about the topic, or to read up on some literature. The suggested references provided by our wonderful lecturers in the course descriptions can be a great start: https://interdisciplinary-college.org/program/ 
  2. In order to have a little bit of fun with the focus theme, IK 2020 will feature a unique participatory exhibition in the shape of a cabinet of curiosities. We would like to invite you to bring a small curiosity or artifact that you are happy to exhibit (in a reasonably safe but not high-security) setting. This could be “that oddly shaped rock you found on island xzy”, a hand-written note by an obscure research idol from your subfield, or anything that qualifies as a curiosity, really. Physical pictures of complex or extremely valuable curiosities can also work (in which case the picture should best include you as well to serve as a conversation starter). Otherwise, you can also think of a question that you are particularly curious about before you arrive at IK. These can then be noted on curiosity-cards that we will prepare.
  3. IK is a great place for learning and professional exchange, but it is also a great place for informal networking and activities. Most notably, these include music, sports and games. The venue has pianos and great spaces for making music and singing. It has a swimming pool, table tennis, Kegeln (old-school bowling), and more… …in the following we list a couple of items to consider bringing along in order to allow you to make best use of these opportunities:
    Music: please bring any instruments and sheet music that you can think of. We’ve seen years with ad-hoc bands forming; all skills welcome. So we can only encourage you to be ambitious. Bring your guitars, violins, flutes, cajons, (electronic) drum kits, (somewhat) portable amplifiers, vocal cords, hang drums and whatever else you can think of.
    Sports: most people will want to bring swimwear (a single set of towels [as well as bed sheets and linen] will be provided, but consider bringing an extra towel as well), a general set of “sports clothing” is advised; consider running equipment (lots of nature around to explore). Table tennis rackets, slacklines, kites, juggling kits, hoola-hoops, again: there is a lot of room and there will be great people around to share fun activities with. The house offers simple ball games equipment, bicycles and sledges (weather permitting) to borrow. IK participants will frequently offer dance or sports courses. Your favorite dancing shoes and/or yoga pillow may be good to bring.
    Games: Some simple / traditional games are available through the house, but we encourage you to bring along any fun games / card / board games you might enjoy playing with others. Especially games that work well for larger groups and rather ad-hoc play can make for great additions.
    There is also a Sauna at the house available for a small fee. A note of caution: Sauna in Germany is typically clothing-free, so if you use it please communicate with your group to set expectations and boundaries.
  4. Food and drinks: Most participants will find that plenty of food and snacks are provided (6 times a day), so you don’t need to bring any. However, the nearest grocery store is approximately 30 minute by foot, so bring any particular food items you might depend on. The house will attempt to provide food-labelling regarding allergens. However, due to translation challenges and the way the house operates, it is usually best to ask for specific confirmation if you suffer from severe allergies. A simple range of alcoholic beverages is available at the in-house bar for responsible consumption in the evening / night-time hours.
  5. On Tuesday night (March 17) there will be a special programme called colorful evening (aka “Bunter Abend”) featuring all sorts of entertainments prepared by IK participants and a fancy dinner. For this event, most IK participants typically appear in (relatively) formal attire. While optional, this can be a fun opportunity to bring out your suits, tuxedos, dresses, evening gowns, traditional folk dresses, etc. 
  6. While the house provides a range of items for lending and IK typically also produces a friendly ad-hoc sharing economy, there are various additional items that you may want to consider bringing along for the week:
    Comfortable footwear (e.g. slippers), footwear for wet-spaces (e.g. flip-flops), a refillable bottle, a notebook and pen, your laptop computer, enough cash (the next ATM is approx. 3km away), any medication you may require (esp. for pain and allergies), ear plugs (as a precaution for light sleepers), a small bag to carry your various items around in.

    For further information on the venue, travel, on what to bring, etc. please see: https://interdisciplinary-college.org/venue/
  7. A week full of activities: There is always something going on; either lectures and workshops, or social events, or just hanging out. At IK, people are typically very social and approachable (although many would self-identify as introverts, too). If you are up for it, there is an interesting conversation to be had with pretty much everyone you meet. However, be prepared to not get a lot of “other work” done. The activities can also lead to some constant noise level throughout the house, and depending on your room or how sensitive you are, you may notice this. We will, however, try to do our best to assure that noise levels are acceptable to all during night-time hours.
    While IK has always been a very friendly place, we require that all participants agree to follow a shared code of conduct that provides some reasonable ground-rules and protections to assure an inclusive and safe environment for all participants. Please make sure to take a look at the code before you arrive at IK at the following link: https://interdisciplinary-college.org/code-of-conduct/
    As an event running under the umbrella of the Gesellschaft für Informatik (GI), we also subscribe to the GI ethical guidelines: https://gi.de/ethicalguidelines.
    If you have any questions about the code of conduct, or more generally around diversity and inclusion, please don’t hesitate to reach out to: conduct@interdisciplinary-college.org.
  8. The internet connection is very limited and focussed around a common area and library room. The individual rooms are not covered by Wi-Fi, but if you have a sim card you will have (some) mobile coverage (please consider potential roaming charges!). We hope that most participants will be able to see this as a positive encouragement for prioritising direct personal exchange.
  9. There are disinfection dispensers around the house, and with a lot of people in a small space, please consider using them from time to time to keep yourself and others healthy.