Saturday, February 24, 2007


Bristol in UK is a Pittsburgh-esque city, with a prosperous industrial past in mid 1800's that has left remnant signs in its mansions and grand construction projects, some due to Brunel. UK continues to be intellect-centric: a TV program required participants to generate a target number (or as close to it as possible) from a given set of numbers using standard arithmetic operations (in less than 30 sec, and the target number was something like 423 in one example from 6 integers); a couple on the flight from Bristol to EWR (direct, no less, thanks Continental) who persisted with a Sunday times crossword puzzle during the entire flight; ...

The Bristol Algorithm Days drew its share of acronyms (DAD, MAD, LAD for Durham, Manchester and London, resp.). It was good to see a significant fraction of algorithmers from UK at the meeting, and some of the talks were very good, including ones on Burrows-Wheeler transform, power scheduling algorithms, worst case data structures and quantum computing. Slides should be online soon. Raphael Clifford and Paul Sant were excellent hosts, both shepherding good talks through and urging discussions about open problems (will some one write them up please). Paul, always the adversary, tried to distract the audience during my talk by giving them a Sudoku, which, I managed to solve later and was pleased to win/earn a wooden puzzle as a prize. Lots of puzzlers there.


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