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Forecasting in Thessaloniki

5 July 2019


From the 16th to the 19th of June, the Greek city of Thessaloniki was full to the brim with forecasters.

This had absolutely nothing to do with the advancing heatwave. These forecasters were attending the 39th International Symposium on Forecasting, hosted by the International Institute of Forecasters, which took place in the buzzing coastal town.

With over 450 attendees, this year’s symposium was the best attended in recent years. Even more significantly, about one third of those attendees were from industry. More than 130 practitioners from a huge variety of industries travelled to Greece to take part in this event. This was coupled with more than 80 Early Career Researchers who can bring the findings of the symposium into their research.

Thessaloniki conference

The mix of participants from industry and academia represents the mission of the IIF, which is to bridge the gap between theory and practice in forecasting. It also aligns extremely well with the mission of PARC – both of our PARC directors were at the event; Professor Aris Syntetos as program organiser, and Professor Mike Wilson as an invited guest speaker from industry.

Unsurprisingly, the biggest topics of the week were related to forecasting in big data, machine learning and AI. However, forecasting in the energy sector also emerged as an extremely significant topic, particularly in relation to electricity and water provision. Epidemiological forecasting, in particular with bio statistics, provided another extremely interesting subject.

Thessaloniki music

The symposium has generated a vast number of discussions and potential research collaborations between attendees and further afield.  It is difficult to forecast the true value of such an event in tangible terms, but we are sure the impact is both long lasting and value-adding for everyone involved.

The next ISF will take place in Rio de Janeiro in 2020.  To express your interest, or for any more information on the event, please contact

Thessaloniki queue

All photographs courtesy of George Athanasopoulos.

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