I am currently at the SAT 2010 conference, in Edinburgh. It is my second SAT conference, but the first one where I finally have a chance to know who is who. I had a chance to talk to some great researchers. For instance, I talked to (in no particular order) Armin Biere (author of PrecoSat and Lingeling), Niklas Een, Niklas Sörensson (authors of MiniSat — new version is out, btw), Marijn Heule (author of the march_* set of solvers), Matti Järvisalo (one of the authors of Blocked Clause Elimination), the author of MiraXT, and many others. It’s really a great place to meet up people and get a grasp on what SAT is really about. It’s also a great way to understand the motivation behind certain ideas, and to hear the problems encountered by others.
For instance, I now know that bugs, about which I have already written a blog post about is a problem that comes up for nearly everyone, and tackling them is one of the most difficult things for the developers. I have also finally understood the reason behind the MiniSat Template Library (MTL), which I’ve always found odd: it re-implements many things in the STL (the Standard Template Library), which I have always found unnecessary. Although the reasons are now clear (better control, easier debugging, less memory overhead), I think I will still replace it with STL. I have also had a chance to talk to the kind reviewer who did such an extensive review of my paper, which was quite an enlightening discussion. If you are interested in SAT, I encourage you to attend next year: there are usually some workshops associated with the conference, where it is easier to have a paper accepted: e.g. this year, a Masters student got his quite interesting paper (long version) accepted, and I am sure he has benefited a lot from it.