Banazîr the Jedi Hobbit (banazir) wrote,
Banazîr the Jedi Hobbit

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Cold Enough, Inuit: A Tronkie Travellogue, 3 of 4

It's cold enough for Eskimos!
Today was the third day of my 4-day trip to Iowa State for the Atanasoff Symposium.

0745-0830: Hsu's Conference Regression Theorem - the limit of rising time t(n) as the number of days n that a conference has lasted approaches infinity tends toward the normal rising time of the attendee at home. :-)
I got up and went downstairs, finding a bottle of Sirop d'Erable Pur, produit du Canada on my grandma's kitchen table.

08:05 CST - Mmm, maplefat.

08:20 CST - Another photo of my grandmother's foyer:

It is a bit nippy outside. Almost freezing, in fact. Well, so I was warned about Ames.

0830-1000: Supercomputing Saddles Up! The first two talks I attended were in the High-Performance Computing (HPC) track. First, we had a talk by one of the HPC directors at Oak Ridge National Labs (ORNL), where they are building a new particle accelerator, the Spallation Neutron Source, by 2006. [1] Second, Jeff Skolnick from the SUNY Buffalo's Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics gave an interesting talk on proteomics, specifically, template-based algorithms for 3-dimensional protein alignments.

08:30 CST - My colleague Bagronk will be happy to learn this:

08:40 CST - We've come a long way, baby... or have we?

09:20 CST - Hey, this fellow has a green laser pointer, too! Must... resist... tronkie urge... to duel... ;-)

1000-1200: I came back to my poster and spent about 2 hours more talking to people about our work. People at Iowa State and other institutions (mostly nearby ones in the Midwest) seemed quite interested in what we are doing with collaborative recommendation and workflow management in bioinformatics. The student presenters had an awards ceremony with several categories, including Best Poster, Best Graduate Research, and Best Undergraduate Poster.

10:33 CST - The first group of awardees scattered... this quickly:

10:35 CST - The second stood still a while longer, or else I shot the picutre more quickly:

1130-1215: I spent another 45 minutes talking to people such as Kai-Ming Ho, Drena Dobbs, and their grad students about research.
1215-1230: Must... check... e-mail... I didn't have either of my notebook computers with me today, but fortunately a kiosk was open so that I could get my mail fix. It is rare that I go 2.5 days without checking e-mail, and that's a fact.
1230-1245: Lunch was a buffet-type deal. I must be crazy to go back for seconds knowing we're taking my grandmother's church friends to another buffet for dinner. Well, crazy, or a hobbit.
1245-1330: John Gustafson from Sun Microsystems (formerly a researcher at Ames Lab's Scalable Computing Lab) gave an excellent after-lunch talk on high-performanceproductivity computing. I must say the highlight of the talk, which reminded me of Dan Reed's computer architecture class (which is no mean feat), was this little propaganda piece from DARPA that he played.

12:50 CST - Here's John Gustafson of Sun Microsystems starting his talk:

1330-1535: Carl Chang, the current head of Iowa State's CS department, kindly gave me a ride over to Atanasoff Hall for the forum on CS education. Dr. Chang pulled up to his parking spot and we went in quickly just as people were being introduced. There were a few people still coming over from the Scheman Building, though.

14:00 CST - some of the attendees:

14:40 CST - George Strawn, CIO of the U.S. National Science Foundation, making a few remarks:

The forum included participants from industry and regional universities, as well as a distinguished professor from UC Berkeley. Most of the discussion centered around experiences for undergraduates (internships, new capstone courses), with some remarks made about accreditation (CSAB, ABET, and North Central) and professional society guidelines - especially the IEEE Computer Society/ACM Computing Curriculum for Software Engineering (CCSE).

1535-1600: My folks and grandmother picked me up from Atanasoff and we went back to Scheman, where the conference center staff had kindly rolled up and packed my posters and the nice little coffee mug they gave each of us.

15:45 CST - going into the Scheman Building:

15:50 CST - coming out of the Scheman Building:

1600-1700: Meanwhile, back at the ranch... I snapped a few more photos of my granmother's house and yard.
1700-1800: Two of my grandmother's friends from church, a Mr. Huang and his wife, arrived. Mr. Huang and I discussed computer systems and information security for a while. He is a professional admin, with Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) and a few other qualifications. We reflected on the relative merits of Novell A+ certification. I gave him one of my business cards - it is always good to know more tronkies. :-)

Here's a demo photo of my mom I took to show Mr. Huang and his wife my phone:

1800-1930: We went to the King Buffet, which is quite decent (I recommend it if you are in or visiting Ames). I noticed that a few of the dishes had some interesting names...

I couldn't help snapping this Engrish sign and mailing it to Tripitaka, sui_degeneris, Graham, Hashberry, Yoj, and one of my students who spent most of last year in Japan. (Yes, those are mussels.)

1930-2300: The rest of the evening passed quite uneventfully. I could get used to this sleeping at 11pm thing... but I won't. No, not me. 8-)

[1] Here's the old one they've had since 1969, the Oak Ridge Electron Linear Accelerator (ORELA) pulsed neutron source.


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