Vice-Program chair in charge of scheduling here.
I will try and answer things for you.
Some terminology, in case we need it:
track = column the program. So we have many parallel tracks. Each one is a “room” in a physical conference.
Period = row of the program, each one goes for 1.5 hours, with a 20 min gap between.
Session = cell of the program, a block within a particular track in a particular period.
I need to have a nice schedule,
Nice schedules are hard.
All conference software is bad. I am sorry, there are just no good tools.
This is the best we have right now.
Possibly @cormullion might upload a nice PDF at some point.
maybe with a discussion on which is the rational of the organisation.
So, you have red track, green track, BOF… do they mean something ? Is a track more for computational and one for more theoretical stuff? One if for base development and the other for usage? One is more advanced than the other ?
red, green and purple are the main talk tracks.
There is no further significance to them beyond this, they are arbitary.
(Main conference starts on wednesday and goes til friday.)
The poster session are always in Purple, and the the Solo session (with the keynotes) is always in Red.
The solo session is always in Period 2, and contains the keynotes and the very best/most important talks (very very limitted space for those).
The BoF track is “Birds of a Feather”, which is informal group discussion for subcommunities to get together, identify common issues, make plans, share tips etc.
BoF sessions run only in Period 3 and 4.
Is there a logic in the presentations that can help me feel more oriented without reading each talk description ?
Very roughly speaking talks in a given session will tend to share a common theme or one of a few themes.
For example Wednesday, Period 1 Purple Track, contains talks that are all about Repoducibility.
However, it is by no means a pure thing, primarily because of speaker availability. E.g. can’t put all talks on visualisation together if one of the talk presentors is only available on wednesday and ther other is only available on Friday.
I think one day it might be nice to have official topics that people can mark their talk with and then each session could have an official topic. (though there is a tradeoff there as it may discourage people from submitting something cool and not really fitting to any named topic).
One kind of useful thing is this visualisation where you can highlight keywords and see which talks mention them.
If someone was bord and wanted to play with some NLP i bet something nicer could be done with e.g. word embeddings or topic modelling, so as to better handle things that don’t use a keyword but use a synonym.