Thursday, July 17, 2008

Random thoughts

A few days that were:

(1) I go out for long walks every now and then. And I really do it without any definite plans. So there was this time when I did so and met an old gentleman talking a walk through a forest-like patch of trees by a river here. We got talking casually (initiated by myself asking for directions - I was lost :) ), and then he told us a bit about his life in the Royal Air Force before he retired , and a bit of this and that, and believe it or not I finished my 'chance meeting' with him only around after like 2 hrs. Incredible how two strangers, from two different agegroups (he was 70 if I remember right!), from different nationalities (he was Scottish) got along for little reason.
I get along with everyone :)

(2) Went out for this long walk in the city with my professor. Really had no plans about where we were headed- just kept walking, following roads and ending up finally in a gazebo near the main city square. We talked about many things, mostly about generative models :P . But it was a great walk - as walks mostly are.

(3) Visited Ballater with Raghu and my professor. For a moderate trek and walk. Beautiful place.

(4) Sitting on the banks of a river is such a wonderful way to spend your time. You tend to get lost, caught in the sights and sounds that just so much exclusively belong to a flowing river. Maybe your mind then comes closest to being 'thought-less' or void. And you actually give up a little bit of yourself. (A friend said she has found a flat near the sea - and that would help her cogitate. Interesting. She is employed. I am still a student. And probably that's why I just have a river :) )

(5) Quite a few people own dogs here. And they look so cute. I was walking on this road and there was this collared puppy that ran ahead of its owner, which I just had to bend down and pat :).

(And cute reminds me I had walked into this Disney store a few weeks back, and simply had to buy this delightfully attractive doll of Ratatouille - he sits on my table now, with fake cheese in his hands and a comical smile adorning his face)

(6) I tried running - and could successfully run. This must be after a little more than 2 years that I have been able to do so. I guess (and hope) that my slip-disc is finally healing.

(7) After a few funny turn of events at my lab now I am 'officially' working with a lot of mathematics. I am happy about that.

(8) The 'cooking contest' was a big surprise. There was this international contest where they hand you something like 800 odd recipes, and you write artificially intelligent agent to sit atop it and 'learn' in a general way what those recipes are supposed to 'mean'. So if a user asks for a recipe(by characterizing certain attributes of it) that isn't present in the database, the agent is supposed to 'make' one on the fly and present it to the user. We made it to the finals ! (I had little hope, and I am genuinely surprised :))

(9) Have been coding on and off for sometime now. For little or no definite purpose. Worked on some interesting problems in the last few days. Currently reading "Do Androids dream of electric sheep?". I was tricked into abandoning "Grapes of Wrath" midway by someone! :)

(10) My cooking is still as terrible as ever. Or maybe its just only slightly better than before. (Our agent -see (8)- has probably better culinary sense than me.)

(11) Saw some really good movies at the YouTube Screening Room.

And found this really interesting video too, that represents logic-gates with dominoes: