Sturm auf La Bastille!

I have been at the INRIA-Illinois Joint Lab workshop in Grenoble this week. It was a great workshop and I had amazing interactions with some French. I think we will form some interesting collaborations!

On the fun side, I ran up La Bastille in Grenoble! It was really nice, perfect weather (very light rain and warm)! It took us 45 minutes to run up (including getting there from the hotel) and 30 back. It was really great.

Here is a picture of La Bastille:
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Lame people could take the bubble lift … but not real men :-)
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So you know what to do when you’re in Grenoble the next time! Btw., we ran up the stairs (which was nice) and down another path/street :-) .

Taste of Chicago!

I was at the Taste of Chicago festival (yeah, I skipped the Taste of Champaign and went to the real one ;-) ). Thanks Dries! It was pretty nice and I had some good food! There were also some strange people attracted by the crowd (as usual). The banner of the weirdo-family says:

“Men should: Lead their families, provide for their families, bring up children for the lord, not be sports idolators, hate rock, rap and country music, have short hair, be masculine. Read Bible for details”

:-D . This is hilarious! And I’m sure that the guy with the megafon is doing all this. Well, he has short (or no?) hair as far as I can tell!! :-)

Supercomputing 2011 and 2011 Committee Meeting

Right after the conference in Tucson, I had to go the the SC11/SC12 committee meeting in Seattle. It didn’t seem useful to fly back to Champaign over the weekend (I could have spent 20 hours in planes and 6 hours at home, probably sleeping anyway. So I just stayed in Seattle over the weekend. I received very bad news during that trip but fortunately, I was around a friend and we went hiking in Seattle (thanks Frank!).

We did two day-hikes that were not trivial. Unfortunately, I had my knee injured before but it was ok. On the first day, we climbed mount SI, acutally, we climbed from the bottom to the *very* top (the rock thing on the top!!). This was quite a hike. Approximately 4000 feet height difference and three hours walking (one way). The last climb was up a massive rock wall, it was very dangerous (adrenaline!) but also very impressive and nice. We beat the mountain!

The second day hike was to a large waterfall and a lake at the top of a mountain at Lake Serene. It was just stunningly beautiful even though I got a bit wet in the waterfall, and slipping was somewhat dangerous too :-) .

Here is the GPS tracking of our Lake Serene hike (my new phone rocks!):
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Here are some pictures:

2011 International Conference on Supercomputing (ICS’11)

This year’s ICS has been in Tucson, AZ. I have served on the program committee and also contributed two papers (one with Marc Snir and the other one with the folks from IU) to the conference. I also co-chaired a workshop with Kamil Iskra. So I had tons of reasons to go there — I wasn’t very thrilled about the location (isn’t Arizona a boring desert, eh?). And actually, it’s not too easy to get to Tucson, it was a 21 hour travel from Zurich *uff*.

Well, I was very surprised! The hotel was just amazing and the landscape even more. I would have never believed that such large cacti exist! I mean – wow! And they’re hundreds of years old. The pool was also amazing, during the day it was full of “tourists” and at night, many computer scientists accumulated around (and in) it :-) . It was really nice!

The conference was amazingly well organized. Actually, this was one of the best (if not *the* best) conference I visited since a long time! Congratulations Dave!

Here are some pictures:

Visiting ETH Zurich

I visited ETH Zurich at the end of last month. Zurich is probably one of the most beautiful cities in Europe and definitely one of (if not the) most expensive city :-) . Public transit is just a dream, I believe one really doesn’t need a car around the city (I know multiple people who live there and don’t have a car). The city is very hilly (I had to climb 1000 stairs to get from the main train station to my hotel, quite workout :-) ). ETH itself sits majestically on top of a hill and offers a beautiful view. Especially the Professor’s lunch area, on top of the main building has an absolutely stunning view on the city and the lake. I also had many very interesting technical discussions and like the CS department there. Here are some pictures:

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The gate to the computer science and chemistry building.

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The entrance to the computer science building, all very impressive. The doors must weigh a ton but they are automatic (not like in Chemnitz where one really has to move the heavy doors ;-) ).

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The majestic main building. I gave my talk here.

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View of the city from the main building.

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Another view of the city.

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Another view of the city.

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The main building’s back entrance :-) .