13 July, 2015



many sandals
many backpacks many beards


is it fair
to blame Nicholas Cage
for all those deaths?


this is where you stand
to tell all those scientists
about your science


after the dinner
the balloon roadrunner runs
home with the young boy

1 comment:

Hobbes said...

Boom: the conference season begins. This time, to my great delight, I had my dear wife and eldest son (now four years old) with me, in north-eastern France. They spent the majority of their day enjoying the sights and sounds of Foreign Parts (see ICML, V-VIII), while daddy went to work.

As the first haiku alludes, modern computer science is heavy on the beards, backpacks, and sandals. I must confess to having none of those three. Nor do I have an American or French accent. However, the likes of Google, MS, and Facebook seem to have no such qualms about such things, as they hoover up graduate students for recruitment at their booths in the exhibition hall. It must be a good time to be a student in CS, and machine learning in particular.

The second haiku is from a terribly amusing Chinese presenter. He had performed very many comparisons between unrelated time-series of data, and showed that there was near-perfect correlation between "the number of deaths from drowning in the US per annum" and "the number of films starring Nicholas Cage". His quote, in the form of this haiku, reminds us that correlation does not equal causation. (The talk was on estimating causality between time-series via ML.)

Xiaohu stood on the stage and declaimed haiku number three, as he took in the auditorium filled with empty seats (during a break, when he came to visit with his mother). He seemed to like the idea that, somehow, against all the odds, his father was able to talk about science. To a room filled with scientists.

The conference dinner for 1,500 delegates was held on the last day, and featured a small army of balloon artists going from table to table. While this was popular with your average (bearded, sandal-wearing, backpack-toting) conference delegate, it was immeasurably more significant for a four-year-old. His Roadrunner actually made it all the way home, carried carefully on the Eurostar between France and England, and then in the train all the way home...