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Too early for tomorrow... our pet project

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


You must have heard of those talks that go on here every day (and sometimes more than one in a day). Well there was this talk by John Hopcroft (of Hopcroft-Ullman fame) the other day that people say was very nice. I don't know for sure because I was fast asleep in my room when it took place.
As if to make amends for my sleepiness I went to this French guy's talk in the evening (sorry I can not recall his name at all). He talked on Lambda Calculus (of which I knew nothing beyond the spelling), had a heavy French accent (I could not decipher half the words he spoke) and cracked a joke once in an hour (I couldn't laugh as I was too dumb to get them). And after two and a half hours of endless drawling he finally said that it was over. I had just sat through the worst talk in my life. I fell half asleep and hurriedly ran to the coffee-shop as I had a report to complete. The talk had started with around forty people in the room, but, as people could stand it no longer and trickled out, there were only five left in the end.
But there are these nice talks too. There was one on P vs NP. A professor sitting through the talk was trying very hard to stay awake but was invariably dozing off on his neighbour's shoulder. On another such occasion, a professor was nodding off and as his shoulder strained he jerked to consciousness. This happened every 5 seconds. And every time he awoke with a jerk he put on an expression that he was the most attentive listener this side of the table.
But the best show was put up by a senior professor who came in late, took a chair, closed his eyes, leaned backwards and went off to sleep. He kept nodding in his sleep, as if to agree with the speaker. He was brought to reality by his phone ringing. He went out answering the phone and never returned.


  1. Couldn't get it... Where did the Hopcroft-talk take place? In your institute?