ICFP trip, contest report, race, etc.
(23 Sep 2006 at 16:22)
The thing that chewed up all my time was my trip to ICFP 2006. For it I prepared and delivered three talks. The first two were in ML Workshop and they were called ML Grid Programming with ConCert [paper] and A Separate Compilation Extension to Standard ML [paper]. You need the Flash 8 player or later to view these, so you might need to upgrade. These are kinda straight-up research stuff, and also perhaps less exciting than usual because I was saving all my vim for my third talk. These talks went well but nothing particularly special.
All through the conference I had the odd but cool experience of being recognized by people who know my name from research or fonts or music or games or whatever. I guess these people probably see my blog so thanks! I'm sorry for not having much time to hang out more...
The third talk was the ICFP Programming Contest, which I spent weeks preparing for. The ICFP Programming Contest is a yearly open programming contest that the academic conference organizes; we organized this 9th incarnation. The contest itself, which ran July 21–24, was a huge success and the most ambitious ever in terms of its organization. You can check out the slides from the talk (again, with Flash 8 or later) but much better would be to watch the presentation video (130Mb Quicktime) that Malcolm Wallace shot. If you don't want to download 130Mb (for some reason it refuses to stream) you can check out the almost unwatchably low quality google video version. But really, go with the Quicktime. Also it's like an hour long so if you wanna fast forward to the end, my feelings won't be hurt. Isn't it a little eerie how, if you are wearing matching "Cult of the Bound Variable" logo polo shirts and conference badge and the same glasses and haircut, one can look so similar to his advisor?
That's why I usually prefer to wear brighter orange shirts in group photos because like nobody has one of those.
The conference itself was really fun. I had a good time at the talks that I was able to make it to, and a much better time talking with all the smart people—some old friends—that attended over beers and hippie west coast food. There are a lot of great breweries in Portland, my favorite of which was probably Bridgeport. I can't believe that I somehow forgot that one of my favorite American breweries, Rogue, is in Portland. I also missed out on Powell's outrageously enormous book store, so I will have to go back some day with more free time.
I did get a chance to wake up bright and early and run in the Portland Race for the Cure, which they claim to be the largest West Coast race "event" (that means that when they say 46,000 participants they are talking about the Run and Walk for the Cure and Row for the Cure and Sleep In for the Cure), but it was quite fun and a nice way to see a new city. Also, as respects my last post, I felt a little bit good about the fact that I witnessed the very front of the pack (5–10 guys) go the wrong way and have to be turned around. Hah! Those were like, pros. The only other thing to say about the race is that I think my Pittsburgh training has been helping on hills, because when we came to the one like 3.5% grade hill in the whole race I started to be a lot faster than the local like permanent press runners and that was a pretty nice feeling. There were no chip timers and I have no idea how I did really except for my own inaccurate stopwatching, so I guess I have to wait patiently for the hand-tabulated chads like in the old days.
What else? On the flight home I saw a major lightning storm from above, which was perhaps the coolest thing I've ever seen while flying. The whole sky was lighting up all over, and every once in a while a huge bolt would shoot down to the planet or occasionally upward. Highly recommended.
So now I am back in town and ready to spend some time on projects and relaxing and friends. My birthday is in four days, in fact, when I turn 27. I'm going to try to finish my entry to the KVR VST Plugin contest (prodding will help, Destroy FX fans), catch up on some reading and video games and sleep, and then ease into my thesis. Talk to you again soon!
Hi! I'm finally back from a series of time-consumed weeks that I will tell you about in separate posts in order. Two fridays ago I ran in the CMU SCS "Pretty Good Race", and I tried hard to do well. Play an easy game of "Where's tom7?!" Unfortunately since there was nobody nearby to follow and I was in the zone, I accidentally took a wrong turn and only did 90% of the course, so my effort was for naught. Embarrassing, right? Had I kept up my pace for the entire distance, I would have finished in about 20m30s. So my goal remains to do an official 5K in under 20...
Another high speed video. This was towards the end of the evening when we thought we'd have to return the camera soon, so we just put a bunch of stuff on an aluminum plate and smacked it with a steel rod.