28 July 2006

ANTs are going home

So, today is the last day of the conference. All the ANTs participated in ANTS are going back home to do more research and come back for next ANTS at Banf, Canada. I thought of posting things daily and later thought that it would be boring for MY readers (now I know there are a couple of my nice friends keeping an eye on this webpage). Last three days also had been quite eventful - more eventful from the point of view of conference and not that eventful from the point of view of site seeing. I had been meeting quite a number of people and having 'small-talks'.

Main places I visited include FernsehenTurm which means "Television Tower" in plain English. I went there with lot of plans in mind. Once I reached on top of the tower which is 203 metres above the ground, I was crazily taking pictures from all sides. I felt that one can see whole of Berlin from there. I saw the long queue to the next floor. I also joined the queue. The entry was restricted - this made me wonder what so special is there on the top. So, I continued to wait. It came to a point that next person to go up was me. The very well dressed lady at the entrance asked me "Wie viel personen ...?" (How many persons?). I gave her a thumbs-up and told "eine" (One). She gave me a strange look, and asked - "fur restaurante?” Oops!! Then only I realised that there was a restaurant on top of that which was the reason for restricted entry. What to do? Should I go there? YES. I decided to go. I know it would be quite expensive. Still, I came this high and waited for quite long time and now how can I just go away?

I got the table 14. Just in another two minutes a pair of love-birds came and shared the table with me. The girl was really good looking and she sat next to me. To be honest, I was in no mood for looking at her nor try to converse with them. Because it was just then I had discovered that the restaurant is rotating!! It was a cool feeling. I am in a rotating/revolving restaurant. I was looking out and had forgotten to make a note of time. Later I noted down the time to calculate the angular velocity of the rotation. The food was really nice and so was the bill. I had expected it to be very high but it was reasonable. I then came out with the knowledge that all my plans are screwed up. I had spent almost one hour for something which I had kept just 15 minutes. I kept walking in the city and didn’t do anything great that evening other than coming back to hostel and sleeping well. By the way, the angular velocity is around 1 degree per minute. Now I am in no mood to put it in seconds and radians which are supposed to be the standards. Also, the restaurant was at 207 metres above ground and it's the highest in Berlin (probably in Germany itself).

There are only two more places worth mentioning. They are Charlie's Check point and East Side Gallery - both are related to the Berlin wall. Check point was the check post between East Germany and West Germany. I would definitely put the pictures at my homepage. East side gallery is a living part of the wall where there are quite a lot of paintings on the wall. Some of them are really good. I was surprised to see the name "Jolly Kunjappu" near a painting on the wall. I don’t think that name can be of any non-malayali.

Yesterday evening was the dinner for all the participants of ANTS. I and Christophe went together to the dinner. I and he were wondering whether we should be wearing formals. Anyway I changed from my half-pants and t-shirt to a decent jeans and a much crushed shirt. He also was more or less the same way. Once in the UBahn (underground train), we met a couple of other participants who were in their half pants and t-shirts. We just shared the thought we had earlier. One of the experienced guy really laughed and told - "no one expects that from mathematicians". I too joined to laugh. But with "am I mathematician yet?" echoing in my mind.

We reached the castle/fortress where we had the party. Went around the fortress to have a look and went back to the party place. The wine they gave was very sweet and the first sip itself told me that it was a quite expensive variety. Anyway that was not my thing yesterday. I and Christophe stood there near a table for a long time. No body was even bothering to come to us and get introduced and since all others were "great people" at least in our eyes, we also hesitated to do the same. Went and sat at a table where there were two seats free. To my surprise, the person who was sitting opposite to me was Ming Huang - so who is he? He is the person who wrote that cryptic paper on which I am breaking my head for the past 2-3 months!! I felt great. Was with him and Blair, the number-theorist, for 2-3 hours. Very nice people. We were discussing just the culture and tradition of the countries we come from - India, China, USA and Belgium. It was very nice and informative.

Later, after the dinner, while coming back to hostel, there was Peter Montgomery also along with us. Since I have this "ultimate respect" factor, I didn’t even think about talking to him except for some small, very small one word answers.

Now, my readers all are enough bored with the travelogue. Let me get to the lecture. Rest of the details will be broadcasted once I reach Munich - which would include the "Gambler's Story and the Model Girl" which I missed out in this post.

Signing off, Sands.

25 July 2006

Met some of them

Had lunch with Alexander Kruppa. Who is this Alex? He is the world rank 3 in factorisation. Using elliptic curve methods, he is number one. These are not the things of interest. The real thing is, he is from Technical University Munich, where he works in chair 14 (LEA) with Prof. Mayr, and his advisor is Hanjo Tauebig. I should be surprised, right? I am at the same chair working with the same professor and Hanjo sits in the next room. Isn't it nice? But sad that I didn't know him before.

Was talking for sometime. What I understand in that there are quite a number of students here who are not able to follow many of the talks. We haven't had any formal education in Mathematics, we are trying to learn it for ourselves, we have jumped in, now learning to swim is absolutely essential to survive. This is true with atleast me, Christoff from Brussels, Alex and also the associate professor from Lebanon who is now trapped in Germany because Beirut airport is closed. When he told me that he is slowly understanding algebraic geometry, I couldn't believe my ears. There is no wonder I am struggling to understand algebraic geometry. A person like him is understanding it now. So, I also will take some time. The less I take the better for me. Every beginning is small which later grows to something big. (I hear him saying - destined to do great things)
It's time for the next lecture, let me go. I just thought of scribbling this into notepad but now decided to post it to blog. So that I don't have to worry where I saved it and search for it. Will be easy to revisit at a later time and remind myself about my own status.

- sands.
Tail Piece: He made a bold and brave decision. I am so happy for him. Have decided to put a testimonial for him in orkut. Let me get back to my room in Munich.

24 July 2006

First day in Berlin

As usual, I was late in packing my stuff and all. Anyway at the eleventh hour things were done.
Yesterday was my first experience with 'Nacht Zug', which means night train. To be honest, second class sleeper journey in Indian Railway is far better than this Nacht-Zug business. Eight hours from Chennai to Kerala or the journey back, how nicely we can sleep. Here I had one push back seat and all, but it's like the bus journey (don't misunderstand to be VOLVO). The sad part is that one side ticket is 70 euro.
But one should say all of it. There were a couple of good things too. It started and reached at RIGHT time (Punctual up to seconds). It had very clean wash rooms. Above all there was a personalized reading lamp.
I read almost till 2:30 Agatha Christie's Crooked House. I definitely won't recommend that book. May be because I am so obsessed with this Sherlock Holmes, I couldn't enjoy that 'crooked house'. What Holmes would do in 15-20 pages was explained in some 180 pages. Again, one should say it all. The twist at the end was good. I think, I being a doctorate student in Math, I should put out two conjenctures.

Conjencture 1: There is no detective story as good as Sherlock Holmes.
Conjencture 2: There is no city in the world which is cleaner and safer than Munich

It seems to be correct again and again. Paris isn't, Brussels isn't, Berlin also isn't safe and clean as Munich. There is no wonder Munich is one of the best places to live. I have to compare it with Zurich and Vienna.
No need to explain the small troubles I had to get my room. But, I cannot avoid writing about the room and building. The building is an antique. Later at night when I asked the youth hostel warden, he told it is 115 years old. Narrow corridors which are always dark. Rooms too are very small and look really old. The lift/elevator is a piece of work. Made in 1959!! It's going to be the Golden Jubilee of it in another 3 years. Still it works fine.
I had a strong feeling of insecurity, the whole day. I don't know whether it was because of the old building I live in or is it because of the not-so-good-city. More about this later.
At the conference "ANTS" I was really having a good time as well as bad time.
First of all, after getting my registration, I went for my copy of LNCS 4076 (LNCS = Lecture Notes in Computer Science). I was surprised and was glad to see that CPR is in the editorial board of the book. I still haven't realised how BIG is CPR. Then I comferencewalking in the conf hall and reading the name tags of different people. I first caught the attention of an Indian fellow and smiled at each other. By the time one old prof came and started chatting with him. But, I heard him introducing him as 'Venkie'. I knew who was this 'venkie' - Head of Cryptography and Security Algorithms, Microsoft Research.
It was during Lunch time, I got to talk to him. To my surprise, he remembered my story. I had to tell him that I am CPR's student and had had some email-conversations with him. He told felt rest. Cool, it really fet great. May be I wasn't good enough for him at that time, but he had noticed and still has in mind. Two minutes later he came to me and asked whether I have a head-phone-set. I gave him my ear-phones of my iPod. A down to earth man. Why all great people are so?
While talks were going on, one short fellow came and sat next to me. I was shocked to read the name tag - Paul Zimmerman. Later while his talk, I came to know that Lenstra was sitting behind me and Peter Montgomery was a just couple of seats away from me. I don't have any idol worship kind of stuff. But, I was feeling really good. To be together with these people is really great. Then again I understood the value of this conference.
Me being too intelligent, I hadn't installed the driver for my WLAN. But there is always the good old LAN. I used it for my network activities.
Venkie's talk was a little different from others' talks. He had more application point of view. His was PPT were others had PDF. His had the pro touch than others. But all were the same for me - went far above my head.
Later in the evening I went for my Berlin tour. Started at around 6.30 and was back at 10. The hauptbahnhof is really terrific. I think it is better than even stationort. A real great railway station on the banks of Spree. Went on walking till the Reichstag - Parliament. Yesterday, iPod was in a good mood and the charge wasn't getting depleted very fast. Good for me.
The building is nice, eventhough it badly needs a cleaning and painting kind of stuff. It's nice to keep the old things in tact. But, why cant they keep them clean? The top of it has been done wonderfully. The glass dome and the funnel kind of stuff, everything is done nicely. Still, I don't understand the need of it. Isn't it beautification for the sake of beautification? According to Roark, we don't do anything for beautification, the good design automatically has beauty. Anyway it was good.
Then I went to The Gate - there is no other gate to be called 'The Gate' other than "Brandenburg Gate", "Brandenburger Tor" in German. Took pictures and then back home.
For the first time in my life, while walking all the way I was a little lonely. I felt it slightly. Generally, wherever I go, I alone or with others, I am complete. But for the first time, I felt some kind of incompletion. May be I wasn't in a good mood. That's all. Today I will be fine.
Before sleeping, I was thinking why I was having the insecure feeling, quite many times during the day. I knew that was because of my gadgets. I had a laptop, ipod, two cameras, another mp3-player, a thick gold chain, quite a good amount of money and a not so bad new mobile. Then in that case, I think, I ought to have the feeling. Not insecure feeling - but a need to be very careful. Took the decision to avoid having these many things while travelling.
It has become a long article now. Should stop, not because it's long but I have to go for today's talks. I need to send mails to home and to some other people.
Signing off, Sands.

15 July 2006

Oru kili paattu moolavae... LYRICS

Singers: Chithra K S, Yesudas K J
Music Director: Raveendran
Lyrics: Kaithapram

Oru kili paattu moolave maru kili etu paadumo (2)
Madhu vasantha mazha nananju varumo
Oru swara thaaram pole japa laya manthram pole
Arikil varaam parannu parannu parannu parannu njaan
Oru kili paattu moolave maru kili etu paadumo(2)

{Valam kaal chilambumaay virunnethi ente nenjin
Mani thaazhin thazhuthinte azhi neekki nee…}(2)
Ninakku veeshaan venthinkal vishariyaay (2)
Ninakkurangaan raamacha kidakkayaay njaan
Ninte raamacha kidakkayaay njaan
Oru kili paattu moolave maru kili etu paadumo (2)

{Thiriyaay thelinju nin manassinte ambalathil
Oru janmam muzhuvan njaan eriyillayo}(2)
Ninakku meettaan vara rudhra veenayaay(2)
Ninakku padaan njaanenne swarangalaakki

Ennum njaanenne swarangalaakki

Oru kili paattu moolave maru kili etu paadumo
Madhu vasantha mazha nananju varumo
Oru swara thaaram pole japa laya manthram pole
Arikil varaam parannu parannu parannu parannu njaan

Oru kili paattu moolave maru kili etu paadumo(2)

10 July 2006

Happy now

For some reason I am happy now.

One factor of being happy is that someone is reading my blog and commenting. I am happy about it. :) [see the previous blog.] Am I acting too childlike?

Somebody for whom I have high regards, told me to write small blogs. So, I decided to make this blog (just this only) a small one. ;)

signing off, Sands.

9 July 2006

Good morning

Got up a little late today (7:20 AM). Since today is Sunday, it's fine. Holidays make you a little lazy one right? Was going through the news - Keralakaumudi is the one which comes in pdf, so that's my favorite. I think I've never commented anything about the politics/similar stuff here in this blog. This is the time for it.
  • Management College + Reservation + Fees + Minority Issues.

I don't understand why no one is doing the right thing. Nobody is bothered about what is to be done or what will do the good of society. I am not going to say what should be done nor going to explain the situation here. Whatever LDF does, oppose it - that is now things have to be done. I think this is the only policy of opposition(UDF). And now, if they do it, they have to stand for the minority classes and others(majority) wont like it. So change the color just for this issue. Really, the junta consists of idiots - with no choice left.

  • Police Force Improvement

I am seeing news these days saying the improvement of police force in the state. They are slowly starting to use technology. I wish, someday Kerala Police will be known like Scotland Yard. I think we do have the potential for that.

  • Meera Jasmin, Shabharimala Issue

WOW!! This is the best thing happening in the past 1-2 weeks. Meera entered some temple and now they have cancelled all the "pooja" they did for five days (Five days after she entered only they did the "cleaning" of the temple). How can someone take back the prayers? Isn't it funny?

Come on, First of all the idea of non-Hindus being forbidden in the temple has to go away. When will these priest-community have some brains? Is it so difficult to understand that Hinduism exists in mind, not in the caste? I enter the temple compound whenever I go home, I am no believer of God, still there is no problem. But if Yesudas, a true devotee of SreeKrishna enters a temple, it creates a huge issue. It's high time mallu's should grow up. Atleast change it from "non-Hindu" to "non-believer". That makes a little sense.

Shabarimala issue makes Meera issue look very small. Starting from the Kannada actress' confession, it's complete chaos there. Now the fight is between the astrologer and the 'thantri'. I pity them - I cant say anything else. Simply pity them. People are again proving they are idiots - they were always good at it.

I think, the journalists should be able to reduce the importance of these stuff. These priests will stop all non-sense once there is none to pay attention to their "assholism" ;)

A genuine-doubt :- Cant Mr. Ayyappan@Shabarimala control his mind while seeing ladies? If he loses his "bhrahmacharyam" just by having look at a woman, is he good enough to be a God? Better pray to our president Kalam, he is still single. He must be dealing with all kind of people including women of all varieties.

Signing off, Sands.

PS: Added a copy of a graduation speech at my homepage.

8 July 2006

Life's Cool

Was never through this much of tension in my life. Mind is going through real stress-test. Still I am okay. That's why I say Life's Cool.

Wanted to talk to somebody. Vimal/Karthik/Hiran were the first options but was lucky to get chechi online today.

How are the problems going to end? How long it will take? What will be the aftermath of all this? How long it will last? What will I gain? What will I lose? Who all will lose/gain?

Think a lot dude... Think a lot. Do all the best you can. Why do I feel like talking to Guru now?

- Sands.

4 July 2006

Getting frustrated by a bath in DIRT

This post, as far as I think now, is going to be a long one. Generally, I think about the readers at times, when I write. But doing that will make me cancel this post.

Spoiler Warning : I am going to narrate something which pissed me off very well and I am going to blame the person who was behind it. Sorry dude, cant help it. (At the end, you have my usual blah blah blah about improving myself and doing lot of things and a little general knowledge)

Character #1 : Balaji
Character #2 : Rajyalakshmi alias Ammu
Character #3 : Sandeep (Myself)

From April beginning, I am here in Deutschland (Germany) and during those first days I had started looking for a room for me. It was then, character #1 got the permission to go to EPFL to do his Master Thesis on Quantum Computation/Coding. So, after talking to him, I made sure that once he leaves, I can inherit his room and for that reason, I stopped my room-hunt.

It was not in his control to get the Visa. It took about 1.5 - 2 months to get his visa ready. Ten days back, which was a Friday, he got the information that visa is ready and could be collected on Monday. According to what he had told, I expected him to leave by Wednessday. Finally, it was on Saturday he left.

So the room came to my posession. The room was a real mess. I, along with character #2, started cleaning up the room from one corner. The room is definitely less than 20 sq. metre. There is no exaggeration if I say it took 4-5 hours for two persons to get the room to a good shape. It was full of dust everywhere. The garbage lying around a corner was ages old. Since both of us are allergic to dust, now we are enjoying the pleasures of cold. This is my story of frustration. Cleaning a room for 4-5 hours and getting cold, when you really should have gotten a clean room was enough to get me pissed off. Remember, he had one week's time before he left.
Now, I am cooled down a bit. But the cold is at its peak and I am sneezing big time.

Anyway, I am not angry with Balaji and all. Was pissed of at that time.

Next : World Cup

Germany has come upto semi-finals. I am very happy. I hope they will be the champions. Somehow, I have this love for Germany. My friend told this as reading from my mind - "Germany is our second motherland". True, it feels like that.

Peculiar News - One of my friends fell sick when his favorite team lost in the quarter-finals. :)
He's fine now.

Next : Organize

I am trying to get myself organized better - like having a better style of living, having more predictable schedules. If somebody asks me - "what is your plan for next week this day, this time?". I should know about my plans and should act accordingly.

Good News - I am very very slowly getting organised myself. Made my plans for the next quarter. (I struggled for this while in industry)

Next : Internet history (I dugg it up from digg)

Did you know there is this site where you can find out the registration details and history of websites? http://whois.domaintools.com/ is the one which gives details. For example, to get the details of blogger.com, try http://whois.domaintools.com/blogger.com. It seems nordu.net (1984) and Symbolics.com (1985) are the oldest web-sites still alive.

End of entry.

PS: It's high time I should learn German properly.