>Second, I would like to thank Dr Sumio Murase for thinking about offering such a meeting 4 years ago when the internet started to make the headlines.
I too would like to thank the organisers and Dr. Murase for all their work, both past and present to bring us this conference. And as a person doing research out of McMaster University, let me welcome you (and everyone else)to Mac!
>I can only see improvements in this format. With the addition of real-time broadcast on the M-bone from our keynote speakers. Those broadcast could then be followed by discussions in real-time on the internet relay chat (IRC).
Now, I wonder if real-time is actually that beneficial in an international conference. One of the things I really like about electronic communication is that it frees me from time barriers.
With the exception of times when deadlines are very tight--I communicate over the net when it is convenient for me and my colleagues reply when it is convenient for them. Real time, I think could be a barrier, like having to be awake or clear one's schedule at some odd hour to watch a real-time World Cup football/soccer match (or in the case of Canadians, an Olympic ice hockey game) played abroad.
With time "factored-out" I think we are all on a more level playing field. I also think that with written communication, accents (verbal) and the time taken to compose a thought are less of a barrier to communication when using the net.
I think this makes it easier for people to communicate in English, when English is not their first language, but I could be mistaken.
I would be interested in other people's opinions on time and written communication!