Day 6: Edinburgh, Scotland (IJCAI Workshops)
"Welcome to All Things Scottish - if it's not Scottish, it's CRAP!"
07:55 - 08:30: Get up and prepped for my presentation at the IJCAI-2005 Multi-Agent Information Retrieval and Recommender Systems (MAIR-RS) workshop. Realize that I've left my UAI conference program at Appleton Tower, along with a £10 note I put inside.
08:30 - 08:50: Go back to the University of Edinburgh's David Hume Tower by cab. Banadad is very insistent that we take a cab, which I willingly do as there are three of us, but when the fare is £4.80, I decide that I'd rather walk back. I'm admonished not to, and make my way into DHT.
08:50 - 09:05: No sign of any organizers from the workshop here, so I go over to Appleton tower to check for my program. All the doors are locked, but I'm able to pick up my IJCAI registration materials. I'm on my way back to DHT when I run into Banamum and Banadad. Flashing them a sheepish grin, I go back inside... where there is still nobody from MAIR in the Conference Room.
09:05 - 09:30: Putter about, asking student volunteers for directions. Finally, one of the University staff checks her copy of the programme and informs me that the workshop is tomorrow. Boy, is my face red.
09:30 - 11:50: Spend the rest of the morning sitting in on workshops.
- Sit in on RUR-2005, the IJCAI-2005 Workshop on Reasoning in Uncertainty in Robotics (yes, that acronym is surely a play on Rossum's Universal Robots, which popularized the word "robot"). The only talk I hear is Peter Stone's, on Practical Vision-Based Monte Carlo Localization on a Legged Robot, but it's a good one. Say hello to Peter Stone and Dieter Fox, both of whom I last saw at IJCAI-2003 in Acapulco.
- During the coffee break, greet:
- some of the student volunteers
- Nicholas Roy, a faculty member at MIT'S CSAIL (formed by the merger of the Laboratory for Computer Science and the AI Lab)
- Tom Mitchell. Tom says to say hi to prahlad and that his erratum was very helpful. I tell him of my recent doings and ask him about the second edition of Machine Learning, and he tells me there will be a couple more chapters going up this semester. I tell him that I just received tenure this spring, and he shakes my hand. It's nice to be congratulated by one of your heroes! The conversation turns to my uncle, who got his Ph.D. from CMU under Raj Reddy, and knew Tom back in the late 1980s. Tom mentions the latest news to me: Washington state Superior Court Judge Steven Gonzalez has issued a temporary restraining order preventing him "from working on search technologies, business strategies, planning or development related to the computer search market in China, as well as any other areas he worked in while employed at Microsoft".
- I run out and find a seat to look up the news in ZDNet. The Banafolks happen by and we look at my uncle's site and discuss the news.
11:50 - 12:15: Home by cab. This time the fare is higher (a little short of £6).
12:15 - 14:30: Go back to the City Centre Guest House and have some of the hot savouries that the Banafolks got near the University of Edinburgh. They spent the morning near campus, exploring the town. Mine has chicken pot pie filling and is still warm after an hour. I want more, but they aren't from nearby, so I have some of the odd-shaped Pringles Dippers.
14:30 - 15:00: Head towards Edinburgh Castle for a half-day of sightseeing.
15:00 - 15:30: Reach the Royal Mile and climb up to the castle gateway and grandstands. Along the way, we pass a big band and I spot a jazz band. I snap a couple of pictures of the human ocean and realize that this is something like what Festival will look like next week.
Left: 15:12 - Some of the many millions of pigeons in Edinburgh.
Right: 15:21 - A big band concert just south of the Royal Mile.
15:30 - 15:51: Get into a queue for tickets. Banadad notices that most things in Edinburgh are written in seven languages: English, French, Spanish, Italian, German, Dutch and Japanese. No Chinese, though, except for Timberbush Tours' notes.
Left: 15:36 - The Edinburgh Military Tattoo performs in this courtyard, which is usually packed with some of the one million visitors to Castle Edinburgh each year.
Right: 15:51 - The entrance to the castle. For the love of God, Montresor!
15:52 - 17:05: Explore the castle. At 15:52, the "low battery" warning on my Canon S50 digital camera comes on, but I get another 190 shots out of it before it quits. Go figure!
Left: 15:56 - A view of Edinburgh from the castle walls.
Right: 15:56 - The full vista, including the Firth of Forth.
16:11 - Banamum and me outside St. Margaret's Chapel, an 11th-century building that is believed to be the oldest standing building in Edinburgh. Have a look at this to see how small the chapel really is inside.
Far left: 16:12 - The altar with its famous cloth.
Center left: 16:12 - One of the five stained glass windows inside the chapel, made in the 1920s by Dr. Douglas Strachan. I photographed four of them and this one, on the side, came out the best.
Center right: 16:12 - A view of the altar from further back.
Far right: 16:13 - Another of Dr. Strachan's stained glass windows.
Banamum (looking at the altar): Is that her tomb?
banazir: Um... kinda don't think Saint Margaret was a hobbit.
Left: 16:15 - The Scottish War Memorial.
Center: 16:19 - The palace square.
Right: 16:58 - A trio of cute sproglets getting ready to have their picture taken.
Far left: 16:23 - Weapons in the royal palace of King James the Sixth of Scotland and the First of England. Remember: if it's not Scottish, it's crap!
Center left: 16:25 - My meager attempt to imitate jereeza.
Center right: 16:31 - Someone passing with winged speed in front of the fireplace of King James's palace.
Far right: 16:31 - The inscription over the fireplace. Big words, Jimmy!
17:05 - 21:00: Head home and get some food at Sommerfield, including five chocolate chip muffins. Eat, take care of business back home with some e-mail, and watch telly.
21:00 - 00:00: Chat, blog, and put some finishing touches on tomorrow's talk.