SPIN Short Course 3 - Interrogating the Restless Earth

Pitlochry, Scotland, UK
19-24 March, 2023

SPIN WS3 location: Pitlochry!

Scientific Program

The “Interrogating the Restless Earth” short course will provide all of the mathematical theory and practical application experience that you need to get your particular Earth imaging, monitoring, or more generally interrogation project working in the real world. Taught as a 5 day retreat in an amazing and beautiful location in the Scottish Highlands, by top tier Geophysics professors from around Europe and beyond, this course will be divided between theory in the mornings and more practical exercises in the afternoons. To freshen up, each day there is time for rest, walks, cycling, visiting local attractions, or a range of other activities.

This Short Course is designed for post-graduate students undertaking Masters or Ph. D. level degrees, post-doctoral associates and fellows, and academic, governmental, industrial or other professional staff. Attendees will be expected to have a reasonable background in scientific mathematical methods at undergraduate level, as provided for example by an undergraduate degree in quantitative, physical scientific, engineering, mathematics or informatics.

The presentations by the lecturers during the short course were uploaded to our Youtube channel (@spin-itn).

Lecturer Affiliation Presentation Title Presentation Slides Presentation Video
Andrew Curtis University of Edinburgh Optimal Experimental Design Slides  
Andrew Curtis University of Edinburgh Experimental Design for Nonlinear Problems Slides Youtube
Andrew Curtis University of Edinburgh Variational Inference Slides Youtube
Alison Malcom Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador Uncertainties Slides Youtube
Jean-Paul Montagner Paris Cité University History/Overview of Inverse problems. Legacy of A. Tarantola Slides Youtube
Klaus Mosegaard University of Copenhagen Facing the Curse of Dimensionality Slides Youtube
Thomas Bodin University of Lyon Reconciling Scales in Seismology Slides Youtube
Thomas Bodin University of Lyon Transdimentsional Inference in the Geosciences Slides Youtube
Andreas Fichtner ETH Zürich Bayes theorem: Model space & Data space, linear problems    
Andreas Fichtner ETH Zürich Nonlinear inversion, Random walk, Effective sample size, Independent Model parameters    
Stéphanie Durand University of Münster Community codes    
Stéphanie Durand University of Münster Tomography: the art of compromise    
Anna Ferreira University College London Applications of Linearised Inversion    
Léonard Seydoux Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris Machine Learning and its limitations Neural networks    

Practical exercises

During the short course, attendees had the opportunity to conduct practical exercises on etheir own laptops. An intermediate level Python programming skills will be needed to complete the practicals. Material can be found here: https://github.com/spin-itn/SPIN-SC3.


A schedule can be found here.

  • Sunday March 19th: Arrival
  • March 19th - March 24th: Short Course program
  • March 24th Departure

Note that the short course program in Pitlochry starts early morning on 20.03. A coach leaves from Edinburgh to the conference venue on 19.03 in the afternoon. It therefore makes sense to arrive in Edinburgh the morning of the 19.03.

Group photo

Group photo Short Course 3


Check out the great sketches by Francesco! pdf 1 pdf 2

Climate impact

You can find a short analysis of the climate impact of the 3rd Short course and Workshop in Pitlochry here

Arrival into Edinburgh

For arrivals by train into Edinburgh, the final destination will be Edinburgh Waverley Train Station, located in the centre of the city. If you are making your own way from Edinburgh to Pitlochry, there are connecting trains that can take you directly from Waverley. See scotrail.co.uk for details on departures and ticket prices.

For those arriving via the airport, a bus or tram can be taken to reach the city centre. Both the tram and the Airlink 100 bus depart every 10 minutes from just outside the airport terminal exit and arrive at St. Andrew Square, just a few minutes walk from Edinburgh Waverley Train Station. Tickets can be bought from vending machines next to the tram station if taking the tram, or directly from the bus driver if taking the Airlink 100.

More information about the provided bus from Edinburgh to Pitlochry will be provided soon.

Location and Venue

SPIN WS3 venue: Atholl Palace Hotel

The short course will take place north of Edinburgh, in the Scottish Highlands. More specifically, the venue is located in Pitlochry, right at a river next to the Cairngorms National Park.

The venue is the ‘Atholl Palace Hotel’ located in the small village of Pitlochry.

To limit the carbon footprint of the meeting, we encourage you to travel by train and/or ferry if possible.

Transport between Edinburgh and Pitlochry is arranged and will follow the times below:

  • March 19th: 15:00 From Edinburgh Waverley train station to Pitlochry via the airport
  • March 24th: 09:00 From Pitlochry to Edinburgh Waverley train station via the airport

Excursion and activities

There is an optional excursion offered on both the short course and workshop to a local whisky distillery: Blair Athol Distillery. On the short course this will be in the afternoon on the 23rd of March and on the workshop this will be on the afternoon of the 25th March. Attending the tour of the distillery will cost an additional £10.
You can find a map with the route to the distillery here.

There will be an opportunity for a free day on the last day of the short course to explore surrounding Pitlochry. Activities can include fishing, cycling, and a visit to Blair Atholl Castle or the Killiecrankie battle site.

You will find maps for two walks up nearby hills: Faskally and Ben-Y-Vrackie.

Vacation / Free Days: If you would like to make a holiday of it, or do something special on your day off, please have a look here: https://www.visitscotland.com/see-do/.

SPIN WS3 location: Pitlochry!


During the SPIN Short Course, you will stay at the hotel rooms in the conference venue. You do not need to reserve the rooms yourself, this will be part of the registration process. Accommodation is all full board (the price includes breakfast, lunch and dinner), and both lunch and dinner will be vegetarian for everybody to reduce the climate impact of the event. There is an option to share a twin room or have a room to yourself. The registration fee for the short course will be approximately £170 (or £345 if you attend both the short course and the workshop).

The cost of rooms for the entire short course is

  • £497.50 for sharing a twin room
  • £745 for a room to yourself


Registration will open in January 2023. Note that the number of places for the short course is limited, and will preferentially go to Early-Career Researchers (PhD or early Postdoc) who are able to provide a convincing motivation for participation. If you are selected for the short course, you will also have priority for participation in the SPIN workshop that follows on after the short course if you pre-register for both.

Would you like to attend the short course?
Pre-registration closes on February 8th, 2023, and is necessary for all attendees.

We welcome participants from outside the SPIN network! However, note that the number of places for the short course is limited, and will preferentially go to Early-Career Researchers (PhD or early Postdoc) who are able to provide a convincing motivation for participation.

If you would like to keep up to date on SPIN activities and future training events, please subscribe to the SPIN-info mailing list here.


In case of questions or for clarifications, please contact SPIN-management@uni-hamburg.de.