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Monday, July 11, 2005

Experiment

As already noted in the entries and comments below, this morning Paul Cohen gave a rock solid statistics overview/review for data and experiment analysis. One of the things it started me thinking about is the claim you see every now and then along the lines of "Experimental science is dead!" Granted, this refers mostly to the "real" sciences---physics, biology, and chemistry---so much of which now involves simulations and analyzing existing data (at least, as I understand it, and assuming that no real science could possibly have "science" in the name). It's interesting then talking about increasing and improving the experimental component of computer science, just as this is arguably declining in other fields.

Right at this moment I'm not possessed of the mental faculties to continue this line of thought into interesting areas, so allow me to just ramble on for a moment.

The agent school officially concluded today, with the tutorial sessions in the morning, demos in several of CMU's robot labs in the afternoon, and a rockin' barbecue in the evening. Jay Modi and Paul Scerri get a lot of credit for putting together a pretty solid sequence. I thought it was largely all interesting, useful, and well organized. They lose a point for having only pizza at lunch the other day (vegans, unite and we shall rule the world!), but partially made up for it by having incredibly deep dish pizza (I confess, I was weak and starving and looking at many more hours to go before I could get more food and ultimately had some). They redeem themselves completely however by taking good care of vegetarians/vegans the rest of the week, and Paul grilling up a storm at the barbecue, including a pile of veggie burgers. However, the most valuable member of the agent school organizing committe was clearly Bruce, who did more than his share of shepherding people to and from the various demos around the Robotics Institute:

Bruce!
(Paul's dog Bruce, who apparently owns the RI hallways on weekends. He seemed ready, willing, and able to show those robots who's boss... after his nap.)


I also want to thank all of the speakers for putting time into preparing lectures that were generally introductory and accessible yet still interesting and useful to those familiar with the topics.

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