Saturday, July 10, 2010

Summer Time - California and Silicon Valley

Arriving to San Francisco International Airport doesn't really show San Francisco, from there you have to take a BART train in order to get to the downtown. The feeling that you get after getting off from one of the subway stations and you first see the real San Francisco can hardly be described, so I took this picture right after getting there:

Yes, at the beginning of this summer I traveled to California. I attended CVPR 2010, one of the main conferences in Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition. The world of datasets keeps growing and getting richer, most notably imagenet and the scene understanding database.  I could also see the demos and the insightful research that's going on in every major research center. This was a really insightful experience that I will try to use in the best way I can for my own research projects.

Going back to the San Francisco Bay Area and Silicon Valley brought back many good memories. I visited the headquarters of AMD in Sunnyvale where one of my classmates is working now for the summer. Since they bought ATI, they have been heavily involved with graphics and this is reflected in many of the details of their facilities although overall still keeps the feeling of a traditional software company. In contrast, I then visited Google and for my surprise lots of people outside of my old group could still recognize me. I had lunch there and then spent some time playing games. By night I and some friends visited Castro Street which looked more crowded than it used to be, night life in Mountain View is apparently getting better.

Right after my trip to California I shortly visited my home country. This was probably the last time I could see my sister in the following two years since she's planning to move to France to get a masters' degree in Biology. I had a very good time there although I didn't have the chance to visit many places. But as I have always thought, I prefer the people over the places. Now I'm back to research and work at Stony Brook, which is also good.