Information Processing

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Venice photos

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I only spent part of a day in Venice. It’s a magnificent relic of a bygone era, but overrun by tourists and the types of businesses that cater to (exploit) them.

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September 7, 2008 at 7:11 pm

Posted in italy, photos, travel, venice

Scifoo 2008 photos

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Scifoo 2008 was tremendous fun. Thanks to all the organizers from Google, Nature and O’Reilly who made it happen.

I guess I’m used to meetings with enormous concentrations of brainpower, but usually the attendees share similar backgrounds. At Scifoo the diversity of knowledge is overwhelming.

I didn’t take very many photos because I was too busy trying to absorb every bit of information I could during the conference.

Here’s a shot of the crowd at the last session, which consisted of 2 minute recaps of some popular talks. Coincidentally, there are a number of physicists in the foreground: Wally Gilbert (a student of Abdus Salam who later won the Nobel prize for work in molecular biology and co-founded Biogen. He was a Senior Fellow when I was at Harvard), Sabine Hossenfelder (Perimeter Institute and blogger) and Paul Davies (relativist and author, looking down into his bag).

In this shot you can see Sara Winge, Tim O’Reilly, Chris DiBona and Timo Hannay at the front of the room.

This is a shot I took at lunch of Shane Carruth, who wrote and directed the movie Primer. I had a great time discussing the similarities between indie film making and tech startups with him. The next day he was off to Hollywood to pitch the script he’s been writing for the last 2 years. Good luck Shane! (As is typical of Scifoo, the guys not pictured who were eating with us included an entrepreneur biologist whose company makes stem cells, and the physicist Lee Smolin.)

This one was taken by Esther Dyson. In the foreground are George Dyson, Stewart Brand, Danny Hillis and Neal Stephenson (who attended my high school and shares my interest in jiujitsu 🙂 George Dyson gave an amazing talk on the history of the Monte Carlo method, focusing on a newly discovered set of telegrams between von Neumann and his wife which spanned the development of the atomic bomb and the first electronic computers. I’ve always been astonished that no one has written a great biography of von Neumann, but George may be taking on that task.

Here’s another nice set at Flickr. And another, which includes this shot of the session boards:

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August 11, 2008 at 6:01 pm

Posted in photos, scifoo

Le Louvre

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A little tourist fun!

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May 26, 2008 at 5:11 pm

Posted in paris, photos

Stata center, MIT

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One of the things I often complain about is that doing fundamental physics is like trying to push a big rock — it’s very hard to tell whether you’re having any effect or making any progress!

Here I am trying my luck with the Frank Gehry-designed Stata center at MIT, home of their Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL).

A funny coincidence — in the elevator I noticed a poster for a talk last Friday on blogging and tagging given by an old friend of mine from Berkeley!

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April 22, 2007 at 9:45 pm

Posted in photos

Barbados pix

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Some photos from Barbados, regrettably taken with my wimpy cellphone camera. The first two are from the beach near Bellairs Research Institute (where we had the workshop) and the third is Jonathan Oppenheim of Cambridge lecturing on black hole information.

I also added a fourth photo of the whole group, taken with Charles Bennett‘s non-wimpy camera. Charles is a talented photographer as well as information theorist 🙂

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March 19, 2007 at 4:21 pm

Posted in photos, physics