Monday, February 20, 2012

Aggie for a Day

About 25 years ago I visited a college friend, David Jackson, then a grad student at Texas A&M. He was a Ph.D. student in Food Science doing his doctorate research on starch. He had a tortilla maker in his lab. Made me wonder if I was in the right field. David is now making tortillas in Nebraska.

Last week I made my second trip to College Station this time to visit the CS department, give a talk and meet lots of great researchers.

Landlocked Texas A&M has one of the world's leading Nautical Archaeology programs. We went to visit and a grad student came out, said "Howdy", and gave us a tour of models of the ships they have been excavating.

Robin Murphy arranged a tour for me at Disaster City (that's us pictured above). Disaster City is one of the largest training grounds for emergency responders with collapsed buildings, rubble piles, derailed trains and other sites to train people, dogs and robots, the last of which is Robin's specialty. Some of Robin's students were testing out a flying video drone that day. Robin gets involved in disaster areas such as Fukishima. Saving lives with computer science. Makes me wonder if I got in the right field.


  1. “I must study politics and war, that my sons may have the liberty to study mathematics and philosophy, natural history and naval architecture, in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, tapestry, and porcelain.” - John Adams

    I think computational complexity counts as poetry, architecture, and tapestry.

  2. That's a wonderful quote, Anonymous, thanks.

  3. Not true. It looks cool but they have not saved any lives to this day.