Monday, September 27, 2010

The Conference: Day 1

So it has been quite a while since I updated this, and for that I am sorry. I wasn't able to post about the first day of the conference since I had to prepare for my presentation as well as go to the conference banquet. The next night was celebratory and so I was up late and so was too tired to blog.

So I figured that I would be able to catch up on Saturday since after walking around Madrid a little I began to feel not so good and then I started feeling really bad and my stomach gave me problems and I just couldn't bring myself to write anything, in fact mostly I was just passed out or laying on my bed all day. Then Sunday was a travel day. So, basically I am begging your forgiveness but this was the earliest that I could write this. So I will split the conference up into the three days, and then lump Saturday and Sunday in one, since Saturday will be interesting to no one.

I also have some stats for the conference, but I think that I will just put those on the last days.

Ok, so the day begins bright and early, especially compared to the wake up times that we have had in Spain. Both Chris B. and Todd are presenting today. So even though we woke up early, Chris B. was still practicing as I got ready.

I look like I am sleep taking this picture, but .... well I have no idea what I am doing, I was tired, Chris B. is going over his slides though, early in the morning.

So then we headed out on our long walk to the train station, well not really long... it was about 10 minutes or so. The conference actually started at ... 9:15, and so we left at about 8. Since there are 4 of us using just one bathroom we all staggered out wakeup times so that we wouldn't all be jostling for the bathroom. Chris B. also made us breakfast which was really great.

Anyway, we get to the conference easily enough, the train ride takes about 20 minutes and the total time is about 45 minutes or so.... the day before the guys had gotten lost trying to get back to the train station so I had expected it to ... be sort of confusing. However, the walk was pretty straightforward.

We checked in and I talked to Chris S. (I know another Chris!), my adviser, about Spain and tapas and all that jazz. He was confused about our failures in trying to get tapas. I explained to him that we were trying to get free tapas, I am not sure that I really explained it all that well though.

So I got checked in very quickly since we were pretty early and I got to check out the free swag, usually one of the funner parts of checking in. However, I already knew what to expect, which was good since otherwise I would have been even more disappointed. Basically, we got a bag full of brochures... which... is not really swag, but more like advertising. I could understand if they had to do that for sponsorship money or something, but it was a little lame.

It sort of reminds me of this scene from the best christmas movie ever:
and since I can't find any video that has the reaction, here is that as well

Luckily, I didn't react like that... otherwise I may have been kicked out of Spain.

So the conference was supposed to start at 9:15, but it ended up starting late, at about 9:30. The first part was just an introduction and they talked about what was going on and then we got a keynote by Ed Chi. I thought the keynote was pretty good, I do have to admit that I didn't really know about Ed Chi much, everyone else seemed to know him before hand and thought he was great... I guess I just don't follow researchers enough.

Picture of the first session (introduction)

So in the room where the presentations are there were only 2 outlets in the whole room.. 2! So Markus and I made sure to sit by one, since it is a valuable resource and perhaps it would allow us to rent out power to people... or else just use it at least.

One of the things we used power for... Markus playing only poker during a talk:

The first group of presentation were about assisting programmers and featured a presentation by Andy Ko, it seemed like his idea was pretty simple but he did a good job presenting it and it looked very useful. The next two presentations were about uhmm... something, (looks at program) I guess a code completion tool and a metric to navigate API's. The API tool looked interesting. The most interesting thing about the Code Completion program was that the presenter gave it while reading from paper notes which... I don't think I have ever seen at a conference, so there are always new and exciting things going on!

Then we had lunch! It was cafeteria food, but it wasn't bad at all, and there was soooo much of it. well... it was a Menu del Dia, which was exciting. I sat with Markus and then Carlos Jenson, a professor at OSU sat with us and talked about Spain and the menu. Then Andy Bagel and Martin sat next to him and we talked about random things like wine importing and vegetarianism in Spain, which I think is next to impossible.

The session after Lunch was the all OSU session and featured Scott, Todd, and Chris B. all presenting there work:

Here is a picture of Scott presenting. He dressed up and even wore a coat!

So here are my notes from Scott's presentation... this might be embarrassing...
Concurrent Programming/Debugging
I like the little spider pictures
Complexity has an effect, so more complex leads to a better score when using diagrams.
Creating diagrams did improve scores
complexity was related to affect
diagram quality related to reasoning ability
looking harder always leads to finding bugs.

The last note was related to a question that asked whether or not Scott thought that the improvement in scores was more based on the fact that when they created the diagrams made the user think more about the problem, which made it easier for them to debug the problem.

I liked Scott's presentation, I thought it was well done and pretty interesting.

Next came Todd:
Again, here are my notes for Todd's presentation:
He should take his hands out of his pocket
He starts out a little nervous, but gets better
His eye contact is better now
Mental Models are stubborn? (Just like normal models?)
Does AutoCoder work for any code set?
runtime is better than logic
Eric asked 2 questions about logic

Basically Todd was presenting a tool that was trying to automatically code uhm... code sets for transcripts and stuff like that.

Last in the OSU group was Chris B. Chris is always a good presenter:

My notes for him are a lot less detailed:
The thing with the properties and related work was really good
no questions :/
ah good, people started asking questions.

Lol... wow those are bad notes, I may need to stop including the notes that I take.

So then we had a break. Oh! So the two breaks during the first day, Eric, Todd, and Chris B. had to stand in the hallway by posters and talk about them if anyone stopped by, so during the breaks I brought them coffee and some of the treats.

The treats were little like croissant, which for the first day I thought was great, but as time went by I got more and more tired of, until by the last day I just couldn't bear to eat them anymore. Some variety would have been really nice... or german pretzels :P

The final session of the day was really interesting. It was about Games and Learning.

The first talk was about seeing if the things people learn about while programming games and be used to created scientific programs. I am not sure that I would have put the focus quite like this. But I think this is really interesting. If people are learning the same kinds of things, then they should obviously be doing whatever interests them. I also thought that I may be able to use this work for something, but I am not positive.

The next couple of talks were good and interesting as well.

So the first day of the conference ended and we headed home. Luckily this time we did not go in the wrong direction, although I did have to argue that my way was better. We went their way. (only because I knew it would eventually get us there)

On the train ride home we talked to this guy Alessio who worked at the university and he gave us a bunch of tips on places that we could go to eat, so that was really cool.

On the way home we again stopped to see the turtles. I don't think that Eric will ever be tired of looking at those turtles:

Right out of the train station we were talking about being hungry and then we walked by this place that Alessio suggested and so we decided that we would stop and try it. So we stopped and got the calamari sandwiches that he recommended... they were ok. Not sure they were worth a recommendation, but they weren't bad.

Todd and Chris B. went out for the night with some people. Eric stayed into Practice and I stayed to finish my slides. Eric didn't end up starting his practicing until like 1 AM... so he got to sleep pretty late, like 2 AM I think. How did he do? That is a story for another Post!