Thursday, August 03, 2006

Memlab.. in Vancouver

I attended the annual conference of the Society of Mathematical psychology. It was held in Vancouver, Canada. A chance to visit the beautiful city for free was motivating enough to push me to attend it. We chose to fly to Seattle and drive to Vancouver... the drive was supposedly scenic (I would never know as I slept all the way :P)

The meeting was three day long. The talks were short but they really challenged the limits of my mathematical knowledge (which when compared to that of a Cognitive psychologist, is quite low). I totally blacked out in a few talks and some talks were so intriguing that my minds lingered onto them for the rest of the day rendering it useless for other talks. Queuing Network modeling of Behavioral an Psychophysiological measurements in Multitasking by C.Wu and The Neural Basis for categorization Expertise by Ashby were two such talks which piqued my curiosity. There was a symposium on problem solving on Tuesday which was really fun.. mostly because the talks were given by Computer Scientists rather than Cognitive Psychologists, so they seemed more clearer and cleaner.

Leaving academics aside, Vancouver is the most beautiful city I have ever seen. It has mountains, oceans and GREAT food... what more can one ask for. The mountains and the ocean are pretty much free :P and since all expenses were paid by the department.. food was also free. I had Italian, Japanese, Mexican, Greek and Indonesian specialty cuisines during my stay... man !! i was in heaven. But I must say, all cuisines (except Indian) suck when it comes to vegetarian food. I didn't have many choices.
The weather was really pleasant. Being back at Syracuse, with a temperature of 100F sucks... I wanna go back :(
I along with Vijay, Vinayak and Jennifer, took a walk along the coast to an aquarium. It was only a couple of blocks away from the hotel where we were put up. We were relishing the beauty at our own pace. The aquarium was not all that great ( I find seattle's better).. although I did get to see beluga whales, sharks and dolphins.

The return journey was an adventure in its own sense. Vijay was the Navigator Extra Ordinaire and we were supposed to visit Mt Glacier. We got lost and ended up in a rustic city of Sedro Wooly. It seemed to be scrapped straight out of a Clint Eastwood movie.. For a moment I thought that I got zapped in a time warp zone.

Anyway, we ditched the idea and got back to Seattle to catch the flight back.

PS: Click any photograph to check out my entire album of the trip.


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