In January I spent a week outside Brussels with a group of roboticists from around Europe at the *PhD European School of Robotics* hosted Herman Bruyninckx of KU Leuven. It was another interesting experience in that I was the only non-European in the group of ~12, and thus became the de-facto representative of the overall United States school of thought on robotics, and in particular the Robotic Operating System.
We spent the week discussing and arguing various approaches to the software engineering of robotics, the big challenges currently facing the field, and the weaknesses of current implementations (such as ROS). We had a great many heated debates about the pros and cons of various approaches, which I really enjoyed.
Overall, it was a superb week in Europe with great Belgian beer in the evenings shared with lively scientists from other countries.