16:57 Thu.
22 Nov, 2018

It's been long 5 years.

Stockholm , Sweden
-1 °C
7:59 am
12:00 am

It’s been a long five years since I left Sweden. A lot has happened in the meantime, I have visited 3/4 of countries in Europe, been in Australia, Hong Kong and USA, some of it as business trips to different conferences or meetings. It just so happend that this year the biggest conference for AI was happening in Stocholm, it was a no brainer, I had to go. I have planned my trip so I had about 8 work days in Stocholm at the beginning then 4 days with Jean and about a week in Luleå.

We flew from Ljubljana over Copenhagen to Stockholm. We arrived in early afternoon and quickly took the fast train to the city. The train is I believe quite new, and much faster than the one I  took to Luleå all those years ago, somewhere at the midpoint the train slowed down a bit, probably waiting for another train to pass, and my coworker complained why are we going slower than Slovenian trains, after checking the actuall speed,  the train was still going 180km/h.

Trains in Sweden
Trains in Sweden

We soon reached our hotel, it was located in the city center, on the same square as the cinema, from where I watched Hobbit last time I was here. The hotel was nice, with view over the square, the whole hotel was themed like an movie stodio, with losts of props from movie sets in early 20th centruy.

Hotel in Stockholm
Hotel in Stockholm

The first thing we did, after checking in was fiding some food. As it usually turns out in foreign countries the easiest thing to find is usually a fast food joint on a nearby corner. Since we were in Sweden, we decided to go into a Max – a Swedish version of McDonalds, although much better. It was interesting to find that you did all your orders through machine, got a number and when your number was up you could go pick it up.

Placing an order over a machine.
Placing an order over a machine.

First couple of days were very intense workwise, I had one presentation the next day early morning and another in two days. Despite the work I still managed to walk around the city a bit, find my favourit food in Sweden and do some basic sight seeing.

My favourit desert from sweden. Now that I'm googling it it might have originated in Denmark.
My favourit desert from sweden. Now that I’m googling it it might have originated in Denmark.

The last time I was here in Stocholm it was early January, the days were extremely short, there was snow, cold and fog. During the summer it was completely different city, we were just so (un)lucky to go there during one of the biggest heat waves in Sweden’s history. The skys were clear, the sun was shining 18 hours per day and the heat, the heat was unbearable. Since usually Stocholm only has couple of hot days (about a week) per year, almost nothing has AC. The worst was using metro, it must have been over 40 degrees inside, and to top it off they were always crowded. Another thing I noticed severly different than from my memories were amount of people on the streets. The streets were crouded, there were really a lot of tourists in the city and you could spot them a mile away.

The conference was in a big convention center to the south of the city center. It should be an easy place to reach, just hope on the metro infront of our hotel and jump off infront of the convention center. However, commicaly, the escelator broke (so it turned into the stairs?) on the main train station and because of this almost all lines had some problems, ours for example didn’t run. So instead of 20 min of no-transfer travel, we had to ride 2 trains, walk 20minutes to change train somwehre in between and all this in 35C. To ease the transfer, we took a taxi couple of times, when we had lectures really early in the morning, the taxi fare was about 50€ for 15min drive.

Somewhere between those train transfers I found a company from Slovenia. :)
Somewhere between those train transfers I found a company from Slovenia. 🙂

Despite all, the conference was interesting, but what was more interesting were the events that accompany it. We had a welcom event at the Skansen ZOO, then reception at the city council, dinner at Vasa museum and another dinner at University of Stocholm.

After one week the conference was over and it was time to move to Jean’s appartement. He was located just beside the conference venue, so I was able to visit him few times already.

After failing terribly at playing Angry birds, scoring lower than a computer. But nontheless the conference was sucesfully finished.
My coworker after failing terribly at playing Angry birds, scoring lower than a computer. But nontheless the conference was sucesfully finished.


20:00 Thu.
10 Aug, 2017

IJCAI 2016

New York , United States
22 °C
12:00 am
7:54 pm

The conference started on Saturday and I was lucky enough to have my presentation on the first day. I was a bit nervous but luckily it was soon over. After that I had a chance to enjoy presentations from others – among who the Google was the best. They presented their system which won game of Go early that year.

Computer beating humans at game of GO.
Computer beating humans at game of GO.

It was not all work – if you can actually call it work. We had several social events in the evening like visiting the Modern art gallery where they had paintings from famous artists like Van Gogh, Picasso and many others I don’t recognise.

The conference was interesting, yet very intense. The lectures were happening in parallel in at least 5 different halls and you had to be careful you didn’t miss the one you wanted to hear. It was very intensive mentally, a lot of presenters had strong accents combined with in depth math theory behind their programs it was hard to follow. Luckily there were some easy, more fun oriented, topic covered also. For example there was a competition in Angry birds game where humans were pitted against computer.

Presenting my article at IJCAI
Presenting my article at IJCAI