GECCO 2012

an iPhone/iPod application


This iOS application was developed to support the 2012 Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference (GECCO) at the Computational Genetics Laboratory, Dartmouth College and at Department of Computer Science, Memorial University of Newfoundland. It was initially envisioned by Prof. Moore so that the group can communicate with each other at the conference to efficiently browse posters at ICHG 2011. It turns out that the devices's capability of using the Bluetooth short-range radios also forms an example of Delay-Tolerant Network (DTN). Collection and analysis of data yields interesting real-life observation for studying such networks. The app can be downloaded from the Apple App Store.


  • Yuanzhu Chen — Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada
  • Walter Taylor — Dartmouth College, USA
  • Xu Liu — Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada
  • Jason Moore — Dartmouth College, USA


The iOS application runs on iOS version 5.0 or later. It allows users to browse information about presentations, workshops, tutorials, and keynote speeches at the conference and facilitates commenting on the conference events and sharing these comments. It uses the Bluetooth radio of the device to transfer messages in a peer-to-peer fashion. As it is used, it records how messages propagate among devices in the XML format.

Users are grouped according to their group names session ID in iOS development terms). By default, all devices from our group share the same group name of "MooresLab". Other groups attending the conference can use their own group names to establish intra-group messaging. A user can generate generic messages or ones specific to a poster. In either case, these messages are intended for all other group members.

To do this, the app uses the Bluetooth radio on the iPhone to achieve short-range wireless communication. Since it does not rely on any infrastructure at the conference venue, such as Wi-Fi access points or cellular base-stations, it can function in a wider scope of settings. The Bluetooth radio on-board of the iPad has a transmission range of up to 100 meters in a not-so-"noisy" environment. At conference venues, however, its range will be a fraction of that. In general, two devices can be out of range of each other frequently, depending on where the users are and how they move. Thus, a device will "mechanically" transport messages from one location to another as its user moves around. When the app detects other group members within range, it swaps messages with them. As a result, a message propagates among devices belonging to the same group until it reaches everybody. Apparently, messages delivered as such are not "instant".

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Copyright by Yuanzhu Chen ©