Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Ben leaves tomorrow to go back to CA. It has been a good summer. We both worked hard and had a lot of fun. It was good to get away and experience another culture. Overall, it has definitely been worth it.

I have to pack tomorrow and get all ready to go. I am almost completely ready.

Tonight I am meeting Nikolai, an old friend from high school, at the Hauptbahnhof. It should be fun to see him again and to hear his story about how he ended up here.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Well, only a few days left here in Germany. Soon I will be going back to the United States of Love

Thursday, September 14, 2006

The demos are now finished! Our hard work has payed off and the demo went on without any problems. The software performed just as expected, so it has been a good day. :)

Today is the day of our big demo. There are people from the government all over the place now and hopefully the demo of our code will work out great. It has performed fine in all the test runs, so I anticipate no major problems.

Monday, September 11, 2006

And now to continue on with the stories about our trip.

3) L'viv, Ukraine

From Budapest Kileti station, Ben and I took an overnight train to L'viv. The trip itself took about 14 hours, with about 3 hours required at the border to do passport control and change the train wheels to a different gauge. Most of the train ride was spent in a storm, with quite a bit of rain and lightning.

The train car itself was actually quite nice. We had a very small room with 3 cots in it. Ben and I had the room to ourselves until a woman joined us at the border. Overall, it was a very pleasant ride and we were able to get some sleep.

My cousins met us at the train station in L'viv. It was actually a beautiful station. I hope I can have time to post some photos of it.

We left the station in a cab and ended up at my father's aunt's house, where we stayed for the duration of our trip. Then we went downtown to the center of L'viv, where there is a statue of Taras Shevshenko. The bus ride to the downtown of L'viv was actually quite interesting. It only cost about 20 cents, but it is not really a bus, but a van that is full of people, so you have to stand and hold on very tight to the handrail. I have a photo of it that I hope to post.

My cousins showed us around the downtown and then left us for awhile. Ben and I continued to walk around the center and we ordered some food at a restaurant. It was very weird to order, actually, since the language is so different. We ended up with some good food, though.

We later met my cousins again and we went back to my dad's aunt's house to eat dinner.

The next day my cousin Taras, Ben, and I woke up super early to get a train to the Carpathian mountains. It took about 3 hours or so to get there, so it was a pretty long trip. We got to ride third-class, which was kind of interesting. My cousin said that a few years ago there was only third class, but now there is first and second class on the trains. Apparently life there is changing rapidly. Housing prices have quadrupled in the last 4 years. Such are the forces of digitized globalization. Also, as Simon theorizes in "The Sciences of the Artificial", as systems build up their hierarchical structure, evolution can progress more rapidly. So, we can probably expect the rapid global cultural changes to progress at an even higher pace. But I digress...

Ben and I arrived at the Carpathian mountains and hiked up at a fairly quick pace. The mountain we were hiking up was huge, so we only made it up 1/6 of the way before we had to turn back. Just as we started to head down the mountain, the weather took a drastic change for the worse, and it started raining and there was quite a bit of lightning. We ran down the mountain as fast as we could, but it was very steep and the road was extremely bad, so it took a long time. It probably took about 40 minutes to get down, running as fast as was possible. It was raining extremely hard the whole time, with lightning. It was like being in a shower, it was raining so hard. I had my camera in my camera bag, but I wrapped the camera in plastic and used my jacket to cover the bag. Fortunately I made it down and my camera did not get wet. Unfortunately, all three of us got totally wet all over; even our shoes were completely soaked. It was very cold, too, even though it was summer, since we were in the mountains.

We went back to a resort that Taras's friend owns. We were still cold for awhile, and never truly warmed up, but we got some food. We had some Carpathian pizza, which is pizza with no bread, but just cheese at the bottom to hold it all together. It was extremely wonderful.

Finally, Taras's friend drove us back to L'viv, which took several hours, since the roads in Ukraine are not very good in that area.

To be continued...

fra-foa: Aojiroi Tsuki 「青白い月」

So I am done programming my work for the big demo here at CoSy. So, here are some videos that I recommend:

Laffee: Prinzesschen

The Back Horn: Yume No Hana 「夢の花」

Shiina Ringo 「椎名林檎」: La Salle De Bain

Friday, September 08, 2006

My presentation at the OR conference went well. Hopefully CDM will benefit from my work.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Ben and I are at the Operations Research conference in Karlsruhe. It is a very interesting conference and it is also the largest conference I have been to, with about 600 attendees.

Tomorrow we intend to return to Bremen, after I present at this conference.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Ben and I go tomorrow to present a seminar on software engineering of metaheuristics at FernUniversität in Hagen. Then we are going to Karlsruhe for the rest of the week to the conference, Operations Research 2006.

It should be quite a busy week!