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Tangents

"Fear not!" he repeated for dramatic effect. "Long have I desired to look upon the likenesses of Elendil and Anarchion, my sires of old. Under their shadow Elessar, the Elfstone son of Arathon son of Aradud of the House of Wupdidu Elendil's son, heir of Isildur, scion of the lords of Andunie..." - and in this fashion he continued rambling on through his pedigree for the better part of an hour - "... has nothing to fear!"
Then the light of his eyes faded, and he spoke to himself: "Where was I? Oh, a quest to destroy the One Ring and overthrow Sauron. Right."

-Chapter II.9, "The Grey Liver" (banazir), The Lord of The... Whatever (Jensen author site)

Hrm. I noticed today during CIS 830 (Advanced Topics in Artificial Intelligence) that I really do have a very digressive lecture style.1 My students (scottharmon, hermes_imagod, chriszhong, and robbyjo) could have told you that years ago.2 :-)

Just to give you an example, today's lecture was on Bayesian networks in time series analysis, and in the space of 30-40 minutes, I rambled through discussions on:


The lecture before that:

et bien sûr, I can't resist those French chef digressions. But I, uh, digress.
At least I didn't launch into my MS/MD/CF tangent that turns lecture into a telethon.

A couple of lectures before that, one of my students came up and asked me about Paul Churchland's books and the philosophy of mind. I couldn't resist giving him the Chalmers ref, and let me tell you, wondergurl_77, I'm amazed I got out of there before we both starved! :-)

I think you are made of information.
The rapidity of links rivals a search engine.

-twinbee

Seriously now: Troy was asking about why (according to the professor of his philosophy course), modern philosophy of AI no longer distinguishes between cognition and action, nor between cognition and phenomenology. I replied that the former was probably an outgrowth of the theory of intelligent agents, the latter of subsumption of brain state into world state (which is a more general thing). Any ideas?




Edit, 14:45 CST Tue 24 Feb 2004: On Fri 20 Feb 2004 we had a visit from KSU-CIS Distinguished Lecturer Bob Harper of the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University. I visited with Dr. Harper from 13:30 to 14:00 and we talked briefly about our work with transactional and objective views of workflows, the bioinformatics information Grid, the myGrid group, TAVERNA, and SCUFL. At 15:30 he gave a talk on trustless Grid computing in ConCert.

1 In all seriousness, this is probably one source of my trouble with grantwriting and techwriting, which require very precise focus and clarity.

2 Notes to self: Don't cram too much into a 50-minute lecture.
Slow down towards the end of lecture. People have mentioned on my teaching evaluations that I tend to speed up towards the end, in order to finish my slides, so I might actually redistribute or even move some of them to lectures recorded offline (as scottharmon suggested). What do you all think?


3 Here's a really good life sciences portal whose link I sent masteralida the other day for her daughter to use.

--
Banazîr

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
celandineb
Feb. 24th, 2004 09:43 am (UTC)
Ah, lecture rambles...
the great professorial prerogative. I do it, too, although not usually quite as far from the scheduled topic as you, perhaps. In talking about imperial Rome today I digressed briefly to discuss the history of the annona, which was originally a grain subsidy and at its height fed perhaps 1/3 of the population of Rome and included bread, oil, and wine. Not exactly unrelated, but beyond the temporal bounds of today's focus.

It's a good thing they haven't figured out that if they just asked me a nice, complicated Tolkien-interpretation question, I'd probably happily digress for the remainder of the class period! ;-)

Celandine
banazir
Feb. 24th, 2004 09:52 am (UTC)
Re: Ah, lecture rambles...
the great professorial prerogative.
It is?
W00t!

I do it, too, although not usually quite as far from the scheduled topic as you, perhaps.
Well, the bioinformatics lecture really was on applications of graphical models of probability (with a scheduled tutorial on gene networks, metabolic networks and pathways, and proteomics). I just don't know why I'm doing it, being far from the most qualified lecturer here on the subject. Oh, wait, I know: because as Mehdi Harandi, one of my Ph.D. committee members, once said: "interdisciplinary work stalls because people are lazy about walking two blocks". :-/

In talking about imperial Rome today I digressed briefly to discuss the history of the annona, which was originally a grain subsidy and at its height fed perhaps 1/3 of the population of Rome and included bread, oil, and wine. Not exactly unrelated, but beyond the temporal bounds of today's focus.
Yes, exactly.
Things such as that can easily eat a semester. :o)
I think I might be getting too academic for my own good.
Either that, or I need to write a textbook. ;-)

It's a good thing they haven't figured out that if they just asked me a nice, complicated Tolkien-interpretation question, I'd probably happily digress for the remainder of the class period! ;-)
My students know that and have tried it, but fortunately for me, I have enough willpower to start lecture when I need to and defer those until after class or during my office hours. ;-)

--
Banazir
celandineb
Feb. 24th, 2004 12:52 pm (UTC)
the great professorial prerogative. It is? W00t!

Well, most all of my undergrad profs did it occasionally... so I figure if not a requirement, it must at least be a prerogative.

Things such as that can easily eat a semester.

Luckily I taught a whole course on food in preindustrial Europe last year, so I got it out of my system.

...fortunately for me, I have enough willpower to start lecture when I need to and defer those until after class or during my office hours.

They haven't tried me yet... so I don't know whether I'd have the willpower or not! ;-)

Celandine
(Deleted comment)
banazir
Feb. 24th, 2004 12:40 pm (UTC)
Epigraph
Best. Epigraph. Ever.
That is all.

Heyas, cavlec!
Thanks. :-)

As phawkwood wrote, I had to look up epigraph - just so you know. :o)

--
Banazir
masteralida
Feb. 24th, 2004 07:04 pm (UTC)
3 Here's a really good life sciences portal whose link I sent masteralida the other day for her daughter to use.

And she is enjoying! Thanks again for sending :)
banazir
Feb. 24th, 2004 07:31 pm (UTC)
Cllo
And she is enjoying!
Thanks again for sending :)

You're most welcome.
Any time!

--
Banazir
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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