The British Colloquium for Theoretical Computer Science (BCTCS) is the nearest British event to EWSCS. The main difference is that BCTCS is mainly contributed talks; at EWSCS the 5 mini-courses took up most of the time, with just 8 student presentations. Making the slides for my introduction to computational game theory took more time than I'd anticipated; probably because previous talks I've done on the topic have been research talks with less emphasis on doing a detailed introduction to the background. The format in which lecturers do 4.5 hours of lectures, seems like a good idea, but requires quite a lot of care on the part of lecturers - if you get it wrong the loss is of course bigger than for just a 1-hour talk.
The students who attended EWSCS seemed to be well-prepared and asked plenty of searching questions. The Russian contingent all came from St Petersburg, probably due to its proximity, also this seems to be something of a tradition. At least 2 of them were undergraduates, who has heard about this event due to being in a club for students whose interest in CS goes beyond the content of their degree course - such an organisation must be a good way to find prospective PhD students; probably better than just looking for students who got good marks, which correlates positively but weakly with interest in pursuing further research.
I came home late on Friday, after passing on the opportunity to visit Tallinn's historic centre; that will have to wait until another trip. On the way back to the airport (via the bus station) there is no hint of this tourist attraction - just a gloomy procession of rust-stained, Soviet-era concrete apartment blocks, going on for mile after mile. (I did not bother to check that these buildings were Soviet-era; indeed, the phrase is essentially a handy label for all the concrete stumps that to this day, continue to go up in all parts of the world. Le Corbusier has a lot to answer for.)
I thank Helger Lipmaa for inviting me to lecture at EWCSC 2009.
A golden age?
1 hour ago