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Day 10: Exploitation versus Exploration

UK Trip 2005: A Tronkie Travellogue
Day 10: Edinburgh, Scotland (IJCAI Conference)

09:00 - 17:30: The second day of technical presentations at the 19th Biennial International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI-2005).

The morning's technical talk, on molecular bioinformatics, was given by Nir Friedman of the Hebrew University, currently returning from a sabbatical at Harvard. I sit in the sixth row with Rich Maclin, Dave Page, and Jesse Davis. I raise my hand tentatively to ask a question, but am not called upon.

The morning sessions I mark down are on Reinforcement Learning, Logic and Probability, and Swarm Robotics.
In the end, I go to Reinforcement Learning (Session Chair: Brafman) in Sidlaw for the first three talks and Logic and Probability in Pentland for the last three.

  • A. EVEN-DAR, Kakade, Mansour

  • B. MARTHI, Russell, Stewart, Guestrin - You have to give props to anybody who uses Warcraft as a experimental test bed for reinforcement learning. I have a very relevant question about agent generation (e.g., conjurers and mages' towers in the original Warcraft, which can summon water elementals), but I'm stuck in the back and not noticed even though five other people are called upon. Gah.

  • C. POWERS and Shoham

  • D. MILCH, Marthi, Russell, Sontag, Ong, and Kobolov - The first of what I predict will be many new papers on Bayesian logic. A new implementation is announced. Look for a lot of new results to come out of this work.


I speak with Brian Milch about his implementation briefly. So far, zengeneral's demonic curse has not made me do anything embarrassing in front of Stuart Russell.

During the lunch hour, I went looking for postcards, far down Lothian road, but had no luck. I did spot a few places to photograph later.

The afternoon invited talk was by Adnan Darwiche and was titled "The Quest for Efficient Probabilistic Inference". During the talk I started downloads of every version of SAMIAM that I could, via the wireless network of the Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC). Then, I finally got to ask a question! It was about importance sampling, but they cut the sound off before I could ask a follow-up.

During the coffee break, I talked briefly with David Aha and asked an EICC hostess for info on where to get books of postcards to send to teunc.

The afternoon sessions were on: Spatiotemporal Learning (Sidlaw), Graphical Models (Tinto), Real-Time and Robot Planning (Kilsyth), and Constraint Programming (Pentland). So many topics, so little time. And yet! I must have those postcards. I dashed out for half an hour to Waterstone's on Prince's Street. Qapla'! I even got back in time to hear the end of the first talk.

  • A. LIAO, Fox, Kautz - spatiotemporal learning

  • B. LASTER, Choudhury, Kern, Barriello, Hannaford - spatiotemporal learning

  • C. SHARMA and Poole - graphical models (on hierarchically structured variables)


After the third talk, Brenda Ng came up and wanted to talk about my grad school and postdoc experience, so I sat down and chatted with her for half an hour. She was still very active with NASA when hpguo and I last saw her at IJCAI-2003, and I and my crew saw her poster on factored particles at UAI-2002. I think the first time I saw Brenda was at IJCAI-2001, when I originally mistook her for one of the Kolleri. Well, close enough!

17:25 - 18:10: Go home. (Go home!) Get balls of fried haggis with black pudding from The Office. It's not the proper way to eat haggis, but they don't have takeaway. What the hey, I'll get some next time!


Hey, wot's with lal the TEUNCanese in Edainboro?

18:10 - 23:50: Telly, blog, notes, chat.

  • 18:20: The Weakest Link on BBC1. Hey! Anne Robinson isn't as nasty to British people! One of them delayed for about 10 seconds in identifying the white metal argentum (WTF?!) and the game was lost by a bloke named Mike who could not name the inventor of the Difference Engine (Charles Babbage)! My faith in British superiority is shattered, and that's a fact.

  • 18:50: A special on tsunami survivors and faith on BBC2.

  • 18:50: Imps Exhibition Motorcycle team, on 4. Sooooo qyoooot! Seven-year old cyclists doing stunts!

  • 19:20: News: the air crash in Toronto on 4

  • 19:30: Coronation Street on ITV... OK, I have some standards.

  • 19:30: The World's Most Photographed: special on Norma Jean Baker on BBC2

  • 20:00 - 20:30: Talk Back: More swabbing of houses on 4. Squalor is a scary thing!

  • 20:30 - 21:00: You Are What You Eat on 4. "An overweight working mum has her takeaways taken away." 8 weeks of a healthy diet takes this lady from 17 to 15 stone (over 238 pounds to 210). I honestly think America would be a happier place if Supernanny were augmented by Superdietician. Oh, what am I saying, I think it would be a better place if more people had their asses kicked. I said so in my running commentary to twinbee and he concurred wholeheartedly.

  • 21:00 - 22:00: a heart-rending special on heart-lung transplants for juvenile cystic fibrosis (CF) patients, on 4


--
Banazir

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
thanatos_kalos
Aug. 13th, 2005 11:15 pm (UTC)
so how was the haggis? I've never had it.
banazir
Aug. 14th, 2005 12:04 am (UTC)
The taste of haggis
Well, what I had was deep fried with black pudding (aka blood pudding or blood sausage), and tasted like very soft sausage mixed with thick oatmeal. It resembled yu4tou2jiao1 ("eddos dumpling", a fried dim sum dish), and the taste of sausage was very faint. It wasn't salty or spicy at all, the way real haggis is.

--
Banazir
thanatos_kalos
Aug. 14th, 2005 03:24 am (UTC)
Re: The taste of haggis
mmm...blood sausage...

ah well. I'll have to get up to Scotland to try it for myself.
banazir
Aug. 14th, 2005 02:59 pm (UTC)
Scootland
Do! When will you likely have a chance to?

--
Banazir
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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