Wednesday, August 2, 2017

ICCCN'17 trip notes

I flew with United airlines, with a connection at Chicago at noon to arrive Vancouver at 3:00pm PST. The second flight took 4.5 hours and was not easy. On the plus side, the flights were on time. I don't want to jinx it but I have not had any flight trouble the last 2-3 years. Chicago O'Hare airport still scares me. For at least 4-5 instances, I spent extra nights at O'Hare airport due to canceled or missed flights.

The entry to Vancouver was nice. We used screens to check ourselves in at the border. After answering some questions, and taking a selfie, the screen gave me a printout. The Canadian border agents, only took 5 seconds checking my passport and printout before allowing me in the country. Finally a border check that doesn't suck.

It was also pleasant to travel from the airport to the conference hotel, at the Vancouver Waterfront. I bought a ticket for $9, and jumped on the Canada Line train at the airport. The two-car train did not have any operator, and operated smoothly loading/unloading passengers through 12 stations, about 12 miles, in less than 30 minutes. I guess those trains support some form of remote control if something goes unexpected on the rails.

I stayed at the ICCCN conference hotel, to keep things convenient. I missed the sessions on the first day, but made it to the reception at 6pm. At the reception, I met colleagues/friends and we had a nice chat catching up on things, exchanging notes/advice about faculty stuff.

After the reception, I hit the Waterfront for a relaxing stroll. This was around 8pm. I walked along the sea path till it got dark. Vancouver is a laid back place. The fresh smell and the cool breeze from the ocean makes the city a relaxing place. And then there are lush green mountains around the city. I could feel my stress and worries melting away. (But of course, Vancouver is not as laid back as Hawaii, where ICCCN was held the previous year. Yes, last year, I went to Kona Hawaii, and had a great time there, and never even mentioned that on Twitter or in my blog once. I must be a true gentleman!)

I went to bed around 10pm PST, which is 1am EST. I was extremely tired but of course due to jet lag I woke up at 2am and then was definitely up at 5:30am. So I went to the gym at 4th floor. I was hoping there would be a sauna and a pool. Bingo! Sauna, steam room, jacuzzi, and pool. I spent 10-15 minutes at each one. I was there from 6-7am. Only two other people showed up during that time. This hotel has 30 floors, and about 20 rooms at each floor and only 3 people were using the gym in the morning. This is a very low ratio, but I am not surprised. If something is worth doing, a vast majority of people will pass up.

Day 2

I attended the keynote on the morning of the second day. It was very well delivered by Bruce Maggs, Vice President of Research for Akamai Technologies. I will provide my notes from that in my next post.

After the keynote, I hit the Waterfront again to take on the Stanley park.  The Waterfront seaside path continues around the Stanley park for 10 miles. So to travel around the Stanley park, I rented a bike at the Waterfront at the UrbanWaves shop. The ride was totally worth it for the beautiful scenery.

It seems like Vancouver has some strong runners. A couple of the runners completed the ~10 miles circuit faster than I could bike. Of course, I biked leisurely and stopped many times to enjoy the view and take pictures, but still the stamina and speed of these runners were impressive. They were slim and toned, and ran in perfect form, hitting the ground with front/mid foot first with nice strides.

I attended the panel after lunch. I will talk about the panel in the next post as well. After the panel, I was feeling very tired. Coffee didn't help, and I had to head up to my room to nap. Before the Banquet dinner at 7pm, I went to Waterfront again to write this post.

OK, I shouldn't be having this much fun. I should get back to writing those NSF project reports.

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