"When a P-man loves an NP-woman" by hpguo won the Math Poetry Contest run by Lance Fortnow!
When a P-man loves an NP-woman
by Haipeng Guo
Been a happy deterministic man
With a simple polynomial brain
I contented myself with P problems,
And always looked at NP with disdain.
Fell in love with a polynomial woman,
But with a non-deterministic wit,
She said she would marry me,
Only if I could show her that P=NP.
I rushed to the library and studied,
Asked Garey & Johnson for a hint to the truth,
They said "this is quite a hard question",
But none of them had a hint or a clue.
Went to church and prayed to The Almighty,
"Please Oh Lord, give me a lead the truth",
"Don't waste your time son", a voice said laughing,
For I myself on this wasted my youth.
First oracle says you will marry
Second one tells you you'll split
Time moves, paths branch, results may vary
Accept the state that finally fits
If you finally marry this girl,
And P=NP was true,
What a Chaos: E-banking unsafe, Salesmen traveling cheaply!
And mathematicians with nothing to do!
If I grant your happiness,
The precondition must be no witness,
Even you both did nothing completely wrong,
The punishments will be exponentially long.
If you really want to marry this woman,
Then randomness might be the only key,
But please stop praying for an answer to me,
For I could not decide on this P=NP!
If you haven't guessed: the "first oracle" verse was mine.
Also, congratulations to Julie A. Thornton on winning First Place in the Math, Physics, and Engineering category of the KSU Graduate Research Forum last week, for a talk on her M.S. thesis topic, approximate inference in Bayesian networks by edge deletion. (That makes two KDDers: hpguo in 2002 and JAT in 2005.) Oh, and last week Julie completed the Boston Marathon in 03:44.
In other news:
- TMI about masaga's balls, which zengeneral won't stop playing with
- The controversy over the MIT paper-spoofer SciGen rages on. If you haven't heard about this yet: some clever MIT grad students (Jeremy Stribling, Max Krohn and Dan Aguayo) wrote a text-splicing paper generator that produced a paper that they then submitted as a prank and got into an "unrefereed" track of the 2005 World Multiconference on Systemics, Cybernetics, and Informatics.1 Part of the outcry (both consternation and amusement) over this is that the track, like many satellite workshops of conferences, is not clearly advertised as "unrefereed", but instead falls in that nebulous category of "weakly refereed". The paper acceptance has since been rescinded, but the authors have post some rowdy and irreverant humor about the whole experience on their site.
Sometimes papers from such workshops are cited. Personally, I put workshop papers in a separate category unless the whole workshop is strongly refereed (and has an accept rate of about 50% or lower). For instance, the International Workshop on Multistrategy Learning (ICMSL) was Ryszard Michalski's baby, and when I got one of my dissertation-related papers into ICMSL-1998, I cited it. A full-length version of this later became a paper in Machine Learning.
My $0.02 worth: I think that peer review is an important process, and while the fact that some utter nonsense slipped through an "unrefereed" conference shouldn't taken too seriously, it does shed some light on an important problem. To wit, why should "unrefereed" mean "entirely unread"?
Dave Gustafson told me a few years ago, before 9/11, that his son Steve, another alum of my group (MS 2000 Kansas State University, PhD 2004 University of Nottingham), sometimes reviewed papers that were actually off-topic submissions intended to garner visitor entry visas to the UK. As you can imagine, US Homeland Security would be concerned about that these days, whether these were just black market visas for holidays or illegal immigration. Oh, well. Govahnah Schwarzenegger ess gonna close zee bodahs ennyway.
1 At first I mistook this for the IEEE Conference on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics (SMC). I asked Sanjoy Das in our EECE department about IEEE-SMC, and it seems to be a mixed bag. I remember some of the UIUC planning profs getting papers into the robotics tracks and citing them, so I don't suppose it's all unrefereed. Apparently the Transactions on SMC are much better, and not mostly fed by the conference.
- My friend chandra has some CS and math books for sale in compscibooks
- More congratulations: let's have a big raise the roof for prolog, who just got into the Ph.D. program in CS at Ottawa! Go kick some ass over there (and say hi to Fazel for me), then come here and help me kick more ass!