Confessions of a researchaholic

August 10, 2023


Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 10:25 pm

Great talk by Efros about big data + nearest neighbor algorithm.

Take out lunch from Cow Cafe, my favorite vegetarian restaurant in downtown LA.

Great poster for blue noise engraving.

Andrew Glassner gave an accessible talk about quantum computing.

The last new techniques in animation session was well attended and my first non-paper talk (aside from the appy hour in 2017) received more questions than my past paper talks.
The 411 theater is also a nice place for talks given the staggered seating arrangement.

Almost got hit by a car while crossing the Pico-Figueroa intersection, but fortunately the driver screeched to a stop in time.

Bumped into a guy whom I chatted with in the afternoon, realized that we will be on the same flight, and took the metro to the airport together.

August 9, 2023

SIGGRAPH Wednesday

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 9:54 pm

Any talk from NASA about astronomy fascinated me; a particular interesting point for this one is about artistic rendering which is needed to visualize far-away exoplanets.
In fact, we need some sort of artistic touches for almost all scientific visualizations, as the raw data is often invisible to the human visual system (e.g., out of the visible light spectrum).

Chaired the “colorful topics in imaging” paper session in the morning.
(I actually did not know if one of the presenters will actually show up until the turn of that paper, but fortunately she was there just not in the front row.)

The committee lunch in Sol Agave took too long and the place was too noisy for conversations, so I ended up chatting with the guy sitting opposite me via a mobile app, even though the food is decent (salad, fish tacos, and churros).
In a noisy party, everyone can try to talk over other voices, causing a positive feedback loop for volume.

The exhibition is smaller than past years, but I still found some interesting demos about digital painting.
The app looks worth trying.
The Rebelle watercolor did not seem as realistic as Fresco’s equivalence.

I skipped all the dinner parties, bought some vegetarian food from a nearby Whole Foods, and ate my dinner in my hotel room while watching the electronic theater streaming.
(The content is OK, not as great as previous years.)

August 8, 2023


Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 9:16 pm

Highly recommend the Eniac 6 keynote talk; pay particular attention to the part about how they did not receive the recognition they deserved.

TVCG editors lunch in Pine and Crane DTLA: the food turned out to be quite authentic (I tried dan-dan noodle, seaweed salad, and shaved ice), and saw Jensen Huang in the same restaurant.

Most of the bouncers in downtown LA finally stopped asking me for ID (probably thanks to my white hair threads) but I might have reached the age for which attending 3 consecutive parties would be too much for my stomach/brain to handle all these party food/chats.
Fortunately, my soul can still enjoy all the LA street art.

August 7, 2023


Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 9:14 pm

The quantum computing keynote is excellent!
A future direction is about combining classical and quantum computing to solve problems that are more suitable to tackle by individual components via a hybrid approach.

Took two former advisees to El Patroncito Mexican Cuisine for lunch.
Last time I enjoyed their fish tacos and the relative quietness compared to other restaurants closer to the convention center.
I tried their fish soup this time, which was good, even though the wait was long.
Many more conference attendees showed up than I thought would given the relatively remote location of the restaurant.

Tried several very interesting demos in the VR village.

A year ago on a flight for SIGGRAPH 2022 the passenger sitting next to me told me that he was a student also attending the conference but his paper submission was rejected. I told him just to resubmit.
I bumped into him again tonight at a party. He told me that he resubmitted the paper and it got accepted this time, and he will present it in a paper session that I would be chairing.

August 6, 2023

Arriving at SIGGRAPH 2023

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 8:17 pm

I took the LA metro for the first time today from LAX to downtown LA via line C (light rail) and line J (bus).
The whole trip took about 1.5 hours, and the cost was only \$1.75.
(I guess I only paid for line C, as the operator of the J-bus told me that the ticket machine was broken and waved me through.)

The experience is not bad; the TAP app actually worked on my moto-x4 (for both trip planning and payment), the cars were clean and (aside from the bus connecting the airport to the metro station) not too crowded (on a Sunday afternoon).

I noticed that I was one of the few passengers who are not black or brown for the whole trip.
On the J-910 bus I saw a druggie couple sitting right opposite to me, who seemed physically weak and dozed off all the time.

There was a union strike right at the front door of the hotel where I stayed.

There is a Whole Foods store right near the hotel, so I bought some hot takeout for dinner while watching the paper fast forward in my hotel room.

I felt a bit too low on battery to attend the SIGGRAPH 2023 paper committee party tonight.

July 24, 2022

Lufthansa inflight snacks

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 9:26 pm
Tags: ,

A 1-hour flight between FRA and PRG would naturally not provide much food or drink, but I like the quality and simplicity of a bottle of water and a piece of chocolate.

July 9, 2022

EGSR in Prague

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 6:16 pm
Tags: ,

I have thoroughly enjoyed the EGSR conference and the Prague visit, and wish to have more time to explore this fantastic city.

I did not have time for drawings aside from a few very quick finger sketches on my small mobile phone, but plan to draw some from visual impression later.

July 4, 2022


Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 11:28 am
Tags: ,

Upon arrival at FRA I learned that my connection flight to PRG was delayed to the next day, so I took Lufthansa’s offer for free taxi rides and hotel stay in Kronberg, which turned out to be a very nice town with a historical district (including a castle) and nice restaurants.

June 18, 2022

Pavement cubes in Prague

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 9:22 pm
Tags: ,

I noticed that sidewalks in Prague are predominantly paved by the same types of stone/concrete cubes, whose size and shape might cause (or at least less effectively prevent) the underlying layer to gradually deform over time.
I also saw a construction worker manually put one cube next to another to pave a surface.
So I guess these cubes have low enough manufacturing/material costs (via economy of scale) without too high manual labor costs (low hourly wage for construction workers and/or the curved streets are less amenable for machine construction).

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