Wednesday, April 30, 2008

AAAC in Hong Kong

I just came back from an all too short trip to Hong Kong for the first annual meeting of the new Asian Association for Algorithms and Computation. The AAAC would like to become the Asian version of SIGACT and EATCS. The conference was a good start but dominated by the Japanese and needs in future to draw researchers from across Asia. I went as a speaker, but also as a supporter as I would love to see theory grow around the world and while East Asia has produced a few great researchers, it has not even come close to reaching its potential.

This was my first trip to Hong Kong and the three dimensionality of central Hong Kong is quite striking with many tall buildings built on various points on a hill and in some cases seemingly on top of other buildings. To get from my hotel to the conference at Hong Kong University, I took a series of outdoor escalators, crossed a bridge and then an elevator followed by some stairs. You need to keep track of elevation to get around that city.

I had never been to China. Did this trip to Hong Kong count? Technically yes, since 1997 Hong Kong is officially a Special Administrative Region of China and shares much of the culture and cuisine of China. But a different currency, visa requirements and economic structure makes it seem like a separate country. Someday I will get to mainland China and make this point moot.


  1. I believe many people will tell you that mainland China is still very culturally different than Hong Kong. I've been to both and the cultural difference is much much more striking than just the different currencies.

    I'm also suprised that you can call any trip to Hong Kong short! Especially if you're starting from North America

  2. The "shortness" probably refers to duration, not distance. There is so much to do and see in Hong Kong that a trip there of any duration could be considered short, I suppose.

  3. Hey Lance how about we go to Beijing City for the Olympics? Just in time for the RAGHAV conference.

    Also, there's a conference on computability, complexity, and randomness in Nanjing next month