One of the main reasons, probably the only one, why I came to Australia at this time was the IJCAI conference. Again I was lucky enough to have had a paper accepted to one of the workshops that are included in the conference.
The workshops have started on Saturday this week and I’ve been going to lectures and presentations since. It’s quite rough, I usually have to wake up around 7 AM to be at the conference at around 8 AM and we don’t finish before 6 PM, sometimes even later. This was especially hard during the first few days when I had full effects of jet lag. I almost fell asleep few times during the afternoon and despite going to sleep early, I usually got really tired afternoon. For some unexplained reason I also woke up sometime in the middle of night for no apparent reason, luckily I was able to fall asleep soon after.
I had my first presentation on Sunday. I was presenting a paper my colleges wrote, but were unable to come here, JSI Sound – paper about sound classification.
During the Saturday and Sunday the conference was held at the University of Melbourne and wow, I haven’t seen more beautiful building yet. It can’t be more than 5 years old, it’s full of LEDs everywhere, strange shapes and stairways like Hogwarts. Must be really cool to study at such cool university.
On Monday we moved to the Melbourne convention center, that is just across the river from our hotel. In the afternoon I was presenting my paper Intelligent Assistant Carer for Active Ageing at BOOM workshop. Somehow we were lucky enough to have won: best paper award. It’s great thing and will look good in my CV, although I don’t think it will further my PhD research anytime soon.
In the evening we had reception at the cricket stadium nearby. It was without doubt my best day in Australia yet. We had some great food, drinks and native Aborigine playing didgeridoo. But the best part was … they brought some native Australian animals to the reception. This included koala, kangaroo, dingo, snake and some lizard. I was even more surprised when I was able to pet the dingo a bit, not only that but I was able to feed him some meat his trainer gave me. The evening only continue to get better as I was able to scratch baby kangaroo behind his ears. His fur was surprisingly soft, like touching a cloud.
Beside kangaroo there was also a Koala bear eating a bag of eucalyptus. Whole area smelt of it.
On Tuesday the real conference started. We started at 7.45 with introduction talk and welcome by some aboriginal representative. There are I would guess around 2 thousand attendees at the conference listening to around 600 papers that were submitted. Everything runs in parallel in 7-10 rooms and sadly every other presentation is done by some Chinese guy with almost impossible to understand accent. It is mentally exhausting trying to focus on problems they are presenting and the bad language doesn’t help at all. At the end of the day I can barely think or walk. Yesterday I fell asleep as soon as I came home, 8PM and slept until 7AM next day.