So I’m off to the Reconnect conference tomorrow, leaving here at 10:30 and arriving in New Jersey in the afternoon. This is more of an intensive minicourse than a conference, with the proceedings getting underway at 6:00 PM tomorrow and going pretty much all day, every day until 3:00 PM Saturday.
I’m taking this conference a lot more seriously than most conferences I attend. I’ve spent a good portion of the summer reading through the core chapters of the two reference books we were given, even though the web site says that we don’t need to have read any of them prior to arriving. And I plan on spending my time at the conference actually studying the stuff we are doing and making connections with my fellow participants and other folks there. I’ve been quite intentional about giving this stuff (natural language processing, machine learning, etc.) a go as a possible new avenue of scholarship, and I would like very much to come away from this experience not having had the whole thing go over my head but rather like I’m off and running in a new area of study.
I have bad memories of a topology conference I attended while a third-year graduate student — young and stupid in general, and really ignorant of topology in particular. It was also a week-long affair with talks going from 8 AM to 5 PM every day. I remember getting hopelessly lost around end of the first half-hour on Monday morning and never getting back in the game, and what was worse than that was that I couldn’t just amuse myself, sleep, or do productive work on anything else during the remaining 4.9 days because my advisor was sitting right next to me. I don’t want Reconnect to be like that!
I hope to blog this while it’s going on, but: (1) I’m serious about spending my free time doing conference-related stuff, and (2) I have no idea if anybody would find this stuff interesting. So I’m not promising the usual one-post-per-day average until next Monday, although some brief dispatches may make it out.