Bridging Disciplines: Joint Sessions at the 2012 Annual

by Ward Seguin, 2012 AMS Annual Meeting Chair
For many years, organizers of the Annual Meeting have encouraged conferences to join forces to host joint sessions for the purpose of sharing presentations of mutual interest.  A few years ago, organizers of the Annual Meeting proposed themed joint sessions that focused on the theme of the Annual Meeting.
Concerned that conferences participating in the Annual Meeting might not understand the purpose of joint sessions and, in particular, themed joint sessions, this year’s organizers decided to start the planning process early. At the 2011 Annual Meeting in Seattle, organizers for the 2012 meeting met with all of the conference committees holding meetings in Seattle to encourage future participation in the themed joint sessions.  This was followed by e-mail contacts in February designed to reach those conference committees not present at the Seattle meeting.
In April, the conferences were asked to propose themed joint sessions focusing on  AMS President Jon Malay’s 2012 theme of “Technology in Research and Operations–How We Got Here and Where We’re Going. The response from the conferences was outstanding, as 20 themed joint sessions are currently being organized. With so many conferences holding meetings in January, themed joint sessions encourage sharing of information among the government, academia, and the private sector in diverse subdisciplines. Participants are able to share their experiences of common problems and solutions, and attendees are able to take in papers related to the theme without having to move from one session to another.
Because the 2012 Annual Meeting theme is so broad, the range of topics being covered by the joint sessions provides an excellent opportunity for diverse conferences to come together. For example, one session–jointly hosted by the 10th Conference on Artificial Intelligence Applications to Environmental Science and the 18th Conference on Satellite Meteorology, Oceanography, and Climatology–is titled  “Artificial Intelligence Methods Applied to Satellite Remote Sensing.” Another themed joint session, “Recent Advances in Data Management Technologies and Data Services,” will be hosted by the 28th Conference on Interactive Information Processing Systems (IIPS) and the Second Conference on Transition of Research to Operations:  Successes, Plans, and Challenges. Still another session will focus on “Extreme Weather and Climate Change” and will be hosted by the Seventh Symposium on Policy and Socio-Economic Research, the 24th Conference on Climate Variability and Change, and the 21st Symposium on Education.
The format of themed joint session will include distinguished invited speakers, panel discussions, and submitted papers. Jon Malay’s chosen theme is allowing some very diverse conferences to focus together on some of today’s research and operations challenges through technology.
The deadline for abstract submissions for these sessions is August 1, and abstracts can be submitted on the AMS website at the abstracts submissions page.