Wednesday, June 08, 2011

The Longest Day

Tuesday at FCRC.

7 AM: A grad student at Northwestern administers my final exam at 9 AM Chicago time. He has my mobile number just in case but luckily I never get a call.

7:30: Saw Sampath Kannan in lobby. Says he has a sister who is married to a finance professor at Northwestern. I say, wow that's a coincidence, Ravi Kannan's sister also has a husband who is a finance professor at Northwestern. Then it hits me.

8:30: First STOC best paper winner talk by Madry gives better algorithm for approximating undirected max flow.

8:55: Skip second best paper talk to go across the hall to see Northwestern student Nima Haghpanah give his EC talk.

9:20: Back at STOC for the best student paper by Bernhard Haeupler. My favorite FCRC talk so far, a simple method for spreading "gossip" through a network with an analysis that uses a clever union bound that cannot possibly give tight results, yet it does.

9:43: Email saying 10 exams are being FedEx'd to me for grading. There are 12 people registered for the course.

11:30: Ravi Kannan's Knuth Prize lecture. Working in high dimensions can often do wonders for algorithms.

12:30: Electronic Commerce exec committee lunch to talk about location of EC 2012.

2:04: Email from student who thought the final was on Wednesday.

4:00: Find out the SIGACT Treasure can't make it to San Jose. Sends me material for the business meeting.

4:25: My only FCRC talk, an EC paper with Michele Budinich, an Italian student who couldn't make it to FCRC.

6:00: EC Business Meeting. Starts late so they barely get through introductions when I have to leave for

6:30: SIGACT Exec Comm dinner

8:15: Stop in at Complexity Reception

8:30: Stop in at EC Reception

9:00: STOC Business Meeting where I serve as emcee. I put all the slides here. Some highlights

  • A little over 300 registrants at STOC
  • Accepted 84 out of 304
  • Poster session considered highly successful
  • Give out Knuth Prize (Ravi Kannan) and Gödel Prize (Johan Hastad)
  • FOCS 2011 in Palm Springs October 23-25. 
  • ITCS 2012, now sponsored by SIGACT, January 8-10. Submission deadline August 7.
  • SODA 2012 in Kyoto, January 17-19. Submission deadline July 5.
  • STOC 2012 in New York, May 19-22.
  • STOC 2013 will be in Palo Alto.
  • Not much love for Salil Vadhan's proposal to require on-line archive version of paper on submission.
10:30: Meeting Ends. Talk with Paul Beame about timing of next Knuth Prize (FOCS 2012) and off to bed.

Another busy day today as STOC, EC and Complexity all have talks at the same time. But at least my jobs are done.


  1. July 5 is the deadline to *register* SODA submissions; the actual submission deadline is July 12.

  2. Is the coincidence that Sampath Kannan IS Ravi Kannan or do they merely share a sister?

    I got more or less the same takeaway from Kannan's talk, although I foolishly made a very precise note to work in 300 dimensions in future. I'm hearing lots of very precise numbers at the conference ... 98m, 100m, (say).1, (think).99. I think it must be a new trend in information transfer pedagogy.

    Speaking of Kannan, it was a nice touch for him to tell us that his announced topic "Algorithms: Recent Highlights and Challenges"
    should have been retitled "Vectors and Randomness", and then at the end let us know that there was no time to discuss Randomness. So should it have been retitled "Vectors"?

    Thanks for all the slides from the business meeting. Vadhan's "A Proposal to Require Online Posting of Submissions" looks provocative.