ICPM 2021: Some reflections

ICPM conference room

Written by Boudewijn van Dongen

ICPM 2021 was the third edition of our flagship conference. Against all odds, the organizers managed to host a live event in Eindhoven with over 350 people participating throughout the week. It truly was the place to be for all process mining enthusiasts and for many of them it was the first opportunity to speak to each other live for a long time.

Eindhoven is the birthplace of process mining and there is still a very active community of process mining researchers, practitioners and vendors in Eindhoven and The Netherlands. The Eindhoven University of Technology hosted the event on their green and beautiful campus. Continuing the tradition of ICPM 2019 and ICPM 2020, the various conference chairs put together a spectacular program merging research talks, keynotes, use cases and vendor experiences. At the same time, there was plenty of room in the program for people to meet, discuss, catch up and develop new ideas during the many social events.

We started off the week with a number of successful workshops. Many people joined the discussions of papers, work in progress and posters. The official program was kicked off by Sylvia Miksch who did a fantastic job in linking her research area of visual analytics with process mining. Her keynote set the tone for the rest of the conference, which I can only describe as energetic, enthusiastic and entertaining.

The Industry day on Wednesday provided the audience with a peek into the practicalities of process mining with again many entertaining presentations. The day ended with Erik-Jan van der Linden promising a copy of his book to the first companies coming with concrete datasets to Dirk Fahland. Later that day, during the conference dinner, entertainment reached the pinnacle with a dinner show by George Parker who showed us, with the help of some magic, that reality is merely a point of view and that we, as data scientists, should never lose sight of the context from which our data originates.

For the first time, this year the paper presentations were joined into specialized sessions with small panel discussions between the audience and the authors instead of the traditional conference setup with one on one questions for the authors. This was generally well-received. People enjoyed the discussions and the interaction between the authors in each session. As general chair, I would like to thank the program committee chairs to find the commonalities between papers necessary for such a structure.

On Thursday we concluded the conference with demos in the appropriately labelled ‘Corona room’ and with the award ceremony where next to the common best paper and best reviewer awards, there were awards for ‘most registrations by a single company’ (EY) and ‘most #icpm_conf tweets liked by non-participant‘ (Mahendrawathi ER).

The day after ICPM, the Dutch government announced yet another lockdown. We were very lucky to have this fantastic event live, on-campus and I wholeheartedly hope to see you all live again at ICPM 2022 in Bozen/Bolzano.

Boudewijn van Dongen