Practical information for the event

By the AI2S2 Organisers

There are only a few days left before the start of AI2S2, and we are very much looking forward to meeting you!  This page gathers practical information related to the event, whether you are joining us in-person or remotely.  In case you have questions that are not answered below, please feel free to reach out to us.  We will continue to update this page with more information as needed.


Event details

The University of Geneva is looking forward to welcoming you to the 3rd iteration of the symposium on Artificial Intelligence for Industry, Science, and Society (AI2S2).  The event takes place from 11 to 15 September 2023 in Geneva, at Campus Biotech.

Beyond the opening and closing ceremonies, the event is comprised of three main types of activities.  Keynote presentations are those in which a renowned speaker will be given time to present their viewpoint on a specific topic, followed by time for questions.  Sessions are primarily held in the form of panel discussions, where a group of experts will present their views on a variety of points, interacting both with each other and with the audience.  The third part of the event relates to the opportunities for informal discussions: two coffee breaks and lunch are provided free of charge each day, in addition to a welcome reception on Monday, which should provide ample opportunity for meeting new people and beginning new collaborations.

The event is primarily designed for in-person participation, with all of the keynote speakers being physically present, and with the large majority of the session speakers (panellists) also attending in person.  A small number of panellists will connect remotely, but this is the exception rather than the norm.

While the event was designed around the idea of in-person participation, it will be live-streamed for those who are unable to join us in person.  We will request the permission from keynote speakers to record their presentations, and assuming they approve, these will be uploaded after the event.  In contrast, we generally do not intend to record sessions, as gathering the consent of all participants when audience interactions are foreseen is highly nontrivial.  In case session conveners decide that recording the session is of high importance, and all of the panellists grant consent, audience interactions may be restricted to SpeakUp (see below) and the session may then be recorded; whether or not to do this is left to the discretion of the session conveners.

The final agenda for the event can be accessed by clicking on the “Agenda” button on the top of this page, or equivalently at this link.


Getting to the venue

Campus Biotech is conveniently located in Geneva, with many means of getting to the venue.  The Genève-Secheron train stop (train SL1, SL2, SL3, and SL4), Maison de la Paix tram stop (tram #15), and Jardin Botanique / Perle du Lac bus stop (bus #1, #11, #22, and #25) are all within a 5-10 minute walk from the main entrance.  For information on local train, bus, or tram times, please visit the TPG website.  Train times can also be viewed on the SBB/CFF/FFS website.

If you are coming from the airport, the best option is usually to take any of the trains from the airport to the Geneva main station (Gare Cornavin), and then take the train/tram/bus from there (details below).  The first stop of every train leaving the airport is Gare Cornavin, and the trip takes 7 minutes.  The train from the airport to Gare Cornavin is included in the “Billets Tout Genève –  zone 10” mentioned below, thus there is no difference in price or transportation options between taking the train from the airport to Gare Cornavin or arriving at the station by other means.  It is reasonable to expect you can get between Campus Biotech and the Geneva Airport within roughly 30 minutes, unless there are major disruptions.

There are three main ways to get to Campus Biotech from the Geneva main station (Gare Cornavin).  You can take the SL1/SL2/SL3/SL4 train from there to Genève-Sécheron, which is a 2 minute trip, but these trains are less frequent.  If your arrival at the train station is not well aligned with the trains, the alternatives are taking the tram 15 in the direction Nations until the Maison de la Paix tram stop, or taking bus #1 or #25 in the direction Jardin Botanique until you reach that final stop or the preceding Perle du Lac stop.  All three options (train, tram, and bus) are included in the “Billets Tout Genève –  zone 10” fare, which is valid for 60 minutes and costs 3 CHF (or less if you have a half-price card).  Tickets can be bought at machines before boarding, by downloading the app, or via phone by messaging “tpg1” to 788 (only Swiss numbers or French numbers from Orange, SFR, Free, and Bouygues).

For those wanting to have a bit of a tour of the lake, you can also take the boat (Mouettes genevoises) from De Châteaubriand, which is a 10 minute walk from the venue.  These boats are also included in the “Billets Tout Genève –  zone 10” fare mentioned above.  You can crisscross the lake by boat a few times to get to downtown Geneva.  This is not a very fast way of getting downtown as you need to cross the lake a few times, but it can be quite a pleasant trip on a day with good weather.  You can take the M4 from De Châteaubriand to Port-Noir, then the M3 from Port-Noir to Pâquis.  Pâquis is already a busy area, but you can also take the M2 to Eaux-Vives (the base of the Jet d’Eau) or the M1 to Molard (downtown Geneva).

If you are arriving by car, there is a parking garage at the Genève-Sécheron train station (P+R Sécheron), roughly a 5 minute walk from the venue.  Assuming you are arriving along the A1 highway, either from the north (Lausanne) or south (Annecy), the best option is to take the 1a connector to Route de Lausanne (Route 1).  If you are arriving from any other direction than the A1 highway, I would recommend planning to arrive well in advance, as traversing the city of Geneva in a car can be an exhausting process depending on traffic, construction, and other factors.

The main entrance to the venue is shown on the map below, but here is a photo to help you cross-check you are at the correct place.


Inside the venue

The venue opens each day at 08:00, before which you will not be able to enter without special access permission.  As Campus Biotech is a closed venue, you will need to pick up your badge each day, and drop it off again as you leave.  There should be someone there from at least 30 minutes before the first talk of the day, to at least 30 minutes after the last talk of the day.  We will try to make this an efficient process, but please do arrive a bit in advance of the start time to avoid long lines.  It is imperative that you do return your badge at the end of each day, as we will be charged for missing badges.

Food and drinks will be provided for all participants.  Each day includes a smaller coffee break in the morning, a stand-up lunch, and a more substantial afternoon coffee break.  There will also be a welcome reception on Monday evening, which will include a selection of appetizers and drinks.  In case you do not like what is on offer, or you have other dietary constraints, there is also a cafeteria and vending machines within the venue; if you use these services, you will have to pay yourself, as they are not part of the event charges.

Coffee breaks, lunch, and the welcome reception will take place in the “Forum”, which is between the main entrance and the auditorium; see the label “Breaks” on the below map.  All of the keynotes and sessions will take place within the auditorium.  There are a series of break-out rooms around the auditorium: 5x rooms for 6 people and 3x rooms for 12 people.  You are welcome to use these break-out rooms as needed.


In-person participation

We are aiming for our event to be as close to paperless as possible, thus you will only be receiving a single piece of A4 paper with an overview of the agenda, key links, the map of the venue, and emergency information.  The paper will have the link to this page, which will continue to grow to answer questions that are raised during the event.

Within the auditorium, there are chairs for an audience of 250 people, which is the auditorium capacity in this format.  Some points of the symposium may be close to maxing out this capacity; in such cases, please be courteous and do not take more than one chair for yourself.

Keynote speakers and session conveners will have a fixed podium available for their usage, and there will also be six armchairs and two low tables on stage, for use in panel discussions.  There will be microphones available for the audience, although in some cases the session conveners may decide that they will not be used, as discussed below in the section on audience interactions.


Remote participation

For those who will be joining us remotely, we will make every effort to keep the live stream operational.  Please observe good remote participation etiquette and do not do anything unprofessional.  We reserve the right to block you if you do not behave in a respectful manner.

The live stream will take place on Zoom, where the link will be distributed to those who registered for the event.  Please do not share the link directly – if additional people want to join, they are welcome to register remotely, which remains free.

The SpeakUp link (see below) is available to everyone, regardless of if you are in-person or remote.  Whether further participation by using the Zoom “raise your hand” feature is supported is up to the discretion of the session conveners.


Audience interactions and SpeakUp

One of the primary objectives of AI2S2 is to bring different communities together, and thus audience interactions are very important to us.  We therefore are providing a couple of options to support the participation of all participants.

One option for participants is SpeakUp: a tool developed by four Swiss universities (including Geneva) to facilitate group interactions.  We have created an AI2S2 room where anyone with the link can post messages and vote on questions, thus indicating to the convener which questions are more of interest to the audience.  This includes both people and the room and people on Zoom.  Submitting questions is anonymous, although they will be moderated to avoid abuse of the system, thus your question may not appear immediately.  You do not need to create an account or otherwise register with SpeakUp; all you need is the link, which we will distribute during the event.  You can connect either via web browser or app, as you prefer.  You can learn more about SpeakUp, and download the app, from their website

We will also support more traditional interactions, via microphones in the room and using the  “raise your hand” feature on Zoom for remote participants who want to speak.  We expect that this style of interaction will generally be supported, but some session conveners may decide to restrict interactions to the use of SpeakUp such that the session can be recorded.


Information for speakers and session conveners

Keynote speakers and session conveners will have a fixed podium available for their usage, and there will also be six armchairs and two low tables on stage, for use in panel discussions.  There will be microphones available for the speakers and/or audience, although in some cases the session conveners may decide that they will not be used for the audience, as discussed below in the section on audience interactions.  To be clear, there are two fixed microphones on the podium, and four portable microphones to use around the room.

The A/V setup supports many different options.  The easiest is for speakers to use the fixed computer in the room: you can send slides in advance to the session convener(s) or chair(s) to put on the computer, or you can bring your slides on a USB stick.  The computer in the room is Windows-based, thus you have software such as Powerpoint, but not Keynote.  Connecting your own laptop is also possible, either via HDMI or USB-C.  While connecting your own laptop is possible, we would encourage you to test it out in advance to avoid any surprises during the live part of the event; contact one of the local experts during a break or before the start of the day to do so.

While you are standing on the stage and facing the audience, there is a single large projector behind you, plus two large TVs in front of you and angled such that you can see them.  The TVs in front of you mirror the projector, so you can see what is being displayed and can look at your slides/material without having to turn around and look at the projector.  There is also a timer on the desk that can show how much time you have remaining for your talk – whether to use this or not is a choice left to the session conveners.

If you are joining us remotely, you will receive the same Zoom link as others, but we will promote you to co-hosts before the start of the session.  In that way, you will be able to share, unmute yourself, enable your video, and perform other actions as needed.  Please make sure to join the Zoom room a bit in advance of your session such that we can test that the setup is working well.

To prepare your expectations of the room you will be speaking in, here are a pair of pictures showing the stage and the full auditorium.

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