September 30th, 2010

beartato phd

(no subject)

Man I really did have a great time at this conference.

Tonight went out to a seafood place for dinner with people and tried crabcakes. Verdict: sorta tasty, but not super exciting. Talked with qedragon about quantum comp. Need to remember to check my calculations on one funny counterexample to see if I'm actually right about it or not. Had a really enjoyable discussion with chrisamaphone about logic and types and FP and academia and life. Sat down with Dan Licata trying to bang out some Agda code to embed the differential privacy thingy till about midnight when my brain started to completely fuzz over, but we made some good progress.

Oh and combinator emailed me to remind me that I should point out our CMU team won the Judge's prize for the ICFP programming contest! Woot! Major woots are specifically owed to Jim McCann, whose deviously clever asymptotically-one-gate-per-trit encoding is basically what we won the prize for. Although my zeroizer circuit still made it in there at the very beginning, so I can claim I helped in an amount that is O(1) I guess.
beartato phd

(no subject)

I'm in the Baltimore Amtrak station.

There is a synthesized robot voice making announcements about trains. It sounds very, very much like Portal's GLaDOS, a serene lullaby wafting up from the uncanny valley. There's nothing particularly sinister about what it says, however. At least not until it starts arguing with the human.

Attention Please, the robot voice says. This is a boarding call for Marc four two three. En route to Washington Union station. Passengers should proceed to gate track. For your safety, stand behind the PLATform safety strip until the train comes to a complete stop. Thank you for choosing Marc.

There's an eerie warbling formant on the first syllable of "platform".

"Please disgregard," says the human working the microphone at the front desk, "that announcement for the Marc! The train is not yet ready to board. I can't stop the automated system. Once again, please disregard this and all further boarding announcements. There will be an official announcement when the train is ready to board."

And it goes back and forth, back and forth. The robot saying, with inhuman patience, for the fifteenth time, that the train is ready to board, that passengers should proceed immediately to the train, with an almost-perceptible passive-aggressive edge to the tone of its voice, very pointedly not even acknowledging the human contradicting its message. The human insisting that the robot should not be trusted, apologizing that she is powerless to prevent it from broadcasting falsehoods.

I like sometimes that I am actually living in a dystopian future.