I, for one, do not welcome our new llncs.sty overlords
(29 Mar 2005 at 14:22)
Oh man, when I redesign academia some day I am going to definitely lay waste to this "page limit" business. I've spent the last week turning a 25 page paper into a 16 page one, and the process has been painful, damaging to the paper's contents, and wholly unscientific. Instead, why don't we let a paper's length simply be evaluated as part of the peer review process? So many smart people would spend so much less time fooling around with LaTeX, and we could get a whole lot more interesting things done instead.
It's Puzzlestorm 2005! Despite having only 10 hours of notice (they just told us last night at midnight that it was going to be today), we've arranged a great team, called Now Picnic, which will win puzzlestorm once and for all!
Back in 1999, when I was an undergraduate, my math friend Dan Bruner and I decided that an appropriate Pi Day celebration would be to write as many digits of pi as we could on the sidewalk for everyone to see. We used really big digits and didn't have very much chalk, but we wrote about 888 (going from Wean Hall to the University Center) starting at 1:59AM, with our fingers freezing and our lungs wheezing at the end. In the following years we did the same, with more and more volunteers (once, our work was snowed on before daybreak!), each year doubling the amount of digits that we wrote, and also starting a bit earlier in the night and writing smaller. (Dan eventually graduated but I'm still here as a PhD student.) In 2003 we got 8192 digits with the help of about 20 people, which I thought of as the pinnacle of pi writing. When CMU moved its spring break to overlap Pi Day in 2004, and with most of my undergraduate friends graduated and most of my graduate friends working on their theses, I thought that would be the end of our chalking exploits.
Paragraph break for emphasis. I was wrong. Today I walked into campus to find that a group of CMU Pi Ninjas had picked up the disused torch, dusted it off, and carried on the tradition with aplomb; they had doubled our previous total to 16,384 digits!! I walked the entire route grinning. Fucking great job, guys. I am impressed, honored, and absolutely ready to have pi day chalking be an autonomous CMU tradition. Pi lives!!
UPD: Welcome to the Machine
(11 Mar 2005 at 18:09)
I released a new version of Escape, which features three kinds of robots. Robots are like other (cybernetic) players that can help or hurt you as you try to solve the levels. Loads of clever possibilities are open to level composers now, so try it out!
Based on this image, I decided not to go to hockey tonight, even though it not raining right this instant. This storm has been encircling us ominously all day, and the hockey instructors have a bad habit of cancelling only after we've taken the trouble to actually drive out there. Let's hope I'm right!
After a small type-theoretic victory last week, I'm back to proving theorems in Twelf. This should be easier now that my "theorems" are not known to be false. I still want to be writing a proposal by the end of the semester, since everyone around me seems to be doing that, or at least graduating.
I am still addicted to hacking on escape. Rather than fixing certain obvious deficiencies (sound, solution sharing, editor cut-and-paste), I have been making large changes to the gameplay by adding in robots of various sorts. I think robots will compound the fun factor polynomially, he said, which, to his delignt, causes cringes in those who hate idea that mathematics and fun could possibly be associated, deliberate and delightful in the same way as doing type theory in a bar.