The conference was held at the Avendi Hotel in Potsdam on the banks of the Griebnitzsee during the period of the 26th– 28th of September 2017. The gathering was designed to cover a range of topics in celebration of four assembled Thematic Series “Flow Chemistry I, II and III“ edited by Andreas Kirschning and “Automated chemical synthesis” edited by Ian Baxendale, Marcus Baumann and Richard Bourne which were published in the Open Access Beilstein Journal of Organic Chemistry. Participants and speakers were drawn from both industry and academia traveling from many different countries to be present and giving the conference a truly international flavour. To encourage significant time for discussions and the productive interchange of thoughts and ideas the attendance list was limited to only 55 people. A nutritious supply of food, coffee and on occasion beer (well it was in Germany) sustained the participants through a range of stimulating talks and in the further discussions and debates that followed.
The themes of Flow Chemistry and Automated Chemical Synthesis are rapidly evolving areas influenced by many interwoven subjects including robotics, continuous processing technologies, new and improved reaction monitoring devices and aspects of software design & control. They further draw on knowledge from other core disciplines such as mathematics, biology and the computational sciences as well as bridging chemical synthesis and reaction engineering. Our vision for the conference was to bring together the leading minds from a diverse cross section of regular contributors to these scientific themes to highlight the most interesting research and discuss a vision of the future.
Speakers and Science
We were delighted to gather a truly inspirational group of speakers covering a broad range of topics and we were privileged to have an excellent group of interactive attendees who helped to tease out many new aspects in questioning and challenging the ideas and concepts presented.
Several overarching themes relating to automated chemical synthesis were covered during the conference with particular emphasis being placed upon data capture, including accuracy and completeness of experimental data – also pertaining to the recording and ultimate publication of procedures/protocols and evidence data. Data mining and computer aided synthetic route design/planning and how this impacts on the selection of reactors was discussed. Of increasing importance were methods of statistical analysis and evolutionary algorithms which as highlighted are expected to further facilitate complex decision making processes – including for monitoring and enabling rapid responses to changes in chemical reactions (the dedicated worker/observer concept).