jonny goes to england

London & co

Archive for March 2009

PLID and Scam

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Recently, during an evening with Friends some guy approached us in a motorbike leather jacket and asked, out of breathe, for money to get a cab to the hospital. He pulled back his sleeve and showed us a pretty ugly wound he got through a bike accident. It was all pretty weird but we each gave him £1 because of his convincing story and gore. Afterwards, we wondered whether we’ve been just scammed by some clever homeless beggar.. we couldn’t decide if that was fake or not.

Just now I received an email of the guy I was out with that night how he came across the same weird dude. He caught him showing his “wound” to some other horrified passers-by, who also gave him money.

Quite a good stunt and I’m glad I gave him £1.


Tomorrow is our workshop PLID where I’ll give a talk. It should be interesting, because there’s quite a few people attending who do work in our area. I’ll let you know how it goes..


Written by jk

March 29, 2009 at 9:24 pm

Posted in english, London

Cambridge Workshop

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So, I was in Cambridge, attending the workshop “Frontiers in Computational Reasoning” at Microsoft Research. Too bad I couldn’t find the battery cable for my camera, so only a few, low quality pictures

It was quite an interesting workshop, as it brought together many researchers who reason about programs in different ways. The most interesting talk (beside the first one from Byron Cook) was the last talk about “On Reasoning and Intelligent Behaviour”. It questioned whether the approach we use these days to make computers “intelligent” is the best way and how its different from what early AI reseachers in the 60ies thought AI going to be. Basically, now a days, all successful applications are using very primitive techniques plus a lot of data. Google can provide you with accurate answers, not because it’s smart, but because it’s backed up by billions of data entries it can run statistics on.
Modern machine translation is able to translate Chinese into English without understanding either of the languages, purely driven by lots of training data and statistics over it. This is however (probably) not how humans reason about their environment. One member of the audience however pointed out that it’s a very naive idea to try to build artificial intelligent after a model of how humans are thought to think. Mostly, because we don’t know ourself how our brains work.


Being at Microsoft Research itself was interesting too. Every participant got his/her (although I counted a total count of 1 woman besides the catering girls, strange!) own wifi login and a complex password with expiry date, that’s how access control should be :). I had an ms visitor batch hosted by Tony Hoare, which was nice.

Then I was visiting Cambridge .. and to my surprise, I enjoyed it! Even worse, I realised how very stressful London can be at times. Cambridge was quite peaceful, slow and I can imagine how people can perform well in such an environment. And with five trains an hour to London (50mins) it’s not too far away from Mayhem either.

That’s how it looks like when you go into a sports shop. Certainly not what you would see in a Swiss shop:


On the way home, close to Liverpool street:


Written by jk

March 22, 2009 at 4:31 pm

Posted in english, german, QMUL


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Yesterday was maybe the first really sunny and warm (for a moment) day of the year. I quickly went outside in our “garden” for the first time. The people building this house must have run out of cash, because the garden hasn’t been touched for a few months now. Not that there is much to do with it anyway, since it’s all cast in concrete more or less. Anyway, .. it really does have a weird shape (also the rooms have strange layouts).


Written by jk

March 16, 2009 at 12:55 pm

Posted in english, London

March & co

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So I started going to these live poker tournaments in a nice club below (or rather inside) Southwark Bridge. The first time it went very well, I dropped out at 6t or 7th position from 90 people starting. Too bad that was only one place before they start paying out money! Last time it didn’t go too well, but still learned a lot (especially how NOT to play in such a low-stakes tournament).

In other news, March is quite packed with thing. Mid-march our group organised a workshop with title “Frontiers of Computational Reasoning” at Microsoft Research in Cambridge.

End of march, I will get notified if our paper got accepted at CSF. I’m again cautious with looking forward to it, because it’s a really prestigious place and acceptance rate is low.

End end of march our (small) group within our group has another workshop planned, PLID’09 (Programming language interference and dependence), where I will give a talk about my recent research. Perhaps I’ll upload slides of it later on.

Written by jk

March 8, 2009 at 11:37 am

Posted in english, London, QMUL, Travel

Ubuntu Drink

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Today, I discovered this coke drink in our union shop:


An Ubuntu drink. Funny. Haven’t tasted it yet.

Written by jk

March 3, 2009 at 6:13 pm

Posted in english, food