Ravi Mohan's Blog

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Intoxicating Conversation

I just got back from our end of the month "Losers' Club" meetings (more on these here). In the absence of the one person in our group who maintains an interest in enterprise software, we focussed on the more "blue sky" aspects of software/comp sci.

Topics that came up for discussion - Haptic sensors for robots, micro robots, challenges in building a simulation of the human cardio vascular system, metrics for each component of a research effort, Randy Pausch and his lecture on Time Management, the Bhagavad Gita, Reinforcement Learning as a methodology to learn control algorithms, Computational Fluid Dynamics and Aerodynamic modelling, building SkyNet, using histograms to model discrete probabilistic distributions, Algorithms for probability Density Tree construction, how to keep tight focus on research projects that spin off more areas for exploration with every step taken aka how to balance exploitation and exploration in the context of Rogue Research, proof techniques as weapons in a personal arsenal, abstract problem spaces, Lush as a lisp for day to day work, overcoming the fear of Calculus, Django (yay!) vs Rails (bleh!), the non importance of learning java script, Prototype vs jquery, Goal Driven vs Capability Driven learning styles, continous phenomena in genotype decoding, a proposal for a facebook style app for researchers, Aikido, conferences in Goa, and of course status reports, "iteration reviews" and plans for the next month.

Aaah, Life is Good!


Sonny Gill said...

Interesting that you mentioned Aikido.
Is it getting popular in Bangalore?

I used to train in Australia. In around 2000, I came back to India, and looked around really hard for any Aikido dojos, without any luck.

Also, very impressed with what you are doing professionally. All the best.


Ravi said...

I don't think there are very many (or any) Aikido dojos in Bangalore. None of our group practice Aikido :-) though a couple of us were karatekas long ago). We were discussing Aikido in the context of "using an obstacle's power" against itself" and the "the importance of maintaining harmony" (when you get frazzled and start pulling your hair out when facing tough research problems).

Peter Thomas said...

That sounds really good. Overcome fear of calculus, I need that. Maybe when we meet next.

Ravi said...

You have a standing invite to the Loser's club meetings :-). More than calculus I think you should look up Randy Pausch's lecture on time management heh heh!

Peter Thomas said...

ouch :)

*types 'Randy Pausch' into search field...*

Ravi said...

Randy Pausch's lecture on time management.

Updated the blog entry with the link too.

As Rajesh was saying yesterday, management-ey buzzwords like "Time Managament" cause an instinctive revulsion in hacker folks. But Randy Pausch is a brilliant researcher and professor and when he talks about time management, we listen.

I am glad I did. I plan to incorporate several of his suggestions into my work.