My avatar across the web: a photo of my feet in grey-white socks and brown sandals.

Ben Babcock

I read, write, code, and knit.

CUMC 2010, Days 3 and 4

It is Saturday, but it doesn't feel like Saturday, mostly because I'm . . . at school. This is the last day of the CUMC. I'm in the last talk of the day, having chosen to attend "Perfect Matchings and Shuffling." Afterward, there is the final keynote, which Ram Murty will deliver on the Riemann hypothesis.

Yesterday I went to a talk on fractal image compression. The talk itself was not stellar, but there were some good questions on the applications of this type of lossy compression, and the speaker addressed those well.

In the afternoon Aaron, Rachael, and I took a bus--yes, a bus--down to King St. This was my first time riding public transit, and it wasn't in my own city! Aaron wanted to visit a small record store, Orange Monkey Records, and then i checked out a used bookstore known as Old Goat Books. I bought more books than I should have, considering they need to fit in my sparse luggage--but I couldn't resist.

The final keynote of the day was delivered by Greg Brill, of Infusion. Although titled "The Evolution of Technology," Brill's talk was not what I expected. He has a Masters in computer science (after coming from a liberal arts background!) but talks like a showman rather than an academic or a businessman. He discussed how mathematics--and hence, mathematicians--are essential to the development of technology, particular business products. For example, he mentioned how his company had been working with motion-sensing technology similar to Kinect, and that the main problem was not a lack of technology but a lack of the mathematics necessary to achieve what we want in that area. Brill is very keen on the idea that we are moving from an idiomatic society to an idiom-less one and is convinced that mathematicians will help make that happen.

Dinner came in banquet form, and while the food was OK, the dancing was better. That's right: dancing. I love to dance, and I had a great deal of fun on the dance floor for about an hour or so before calling it a night. I'm not as young as I used to be.

Tonight we fly home, and tomorrow I go to my nephew's first birthday party (no weekend recovery for me). Then it is back to math research: reading papers, re-reading papers, writing algorithms, and making tea. CUMC has been fun, but I will be glad to be home.