Sunday January 16th

A Symposium, a Workshop, a Conference, and Networking

This has been a LONG week

  • I have been in a week-long workshop based in the Mediterranean, with the most amazing speakers. Additionally, I presented two talks; one through the workshop, and one through the Jane Street PhD Symposium.
  • The workshop was amazing, in that the talks were incredible, the lessons and exercises were very thorough and useful, and the people were incredibly friendly and helpful. During my talk, I started out speaking with two individuals, and when I stopped sharing my screen, I saw a room full of people. That was an incredible experience and surprised me. On top of that, I got really great suggestions about work that might be helpful and in line with the work that we are doing for this project. I told my advisor about the recommendations and he was really excited about it!
  • Everyone at M2L is so kind, so humble, and brilliant! It was a really great group of people! Everyone was so warm and legitimately cared about your contribution and what you had to say! I would highly highly recommend attending!
  • I also attended the Jane Street PhD Symposium, and made friends with a bunch of PhDs! I cannot speak much about what we learned over the two days, but I can legimately say that Jane Street has brilliant employees. My impression is that persons there were also incredibly humble and intellectually curious. Between M2L and Jane Street’s PhD Symposium, I was in intellectual curiosity heaven. I legitimately had moments this week where I met persons and thought “wow, what that person does is COOL!”, and imagined what it might be to do work like that, too. It made me smile.
  • I attended a bit of Real World Crypto 2021 (RWC), which was also very fun! This was also a great group! I spent this evening reading the Signal App paper, and the PrivateStats paper from the conference.
  • I started my Stanford class, which I have been auditing since Monday. It’s great, and it’s on internet-scale consensus and blockchain. I had to miss the second class, but the instructor was pleased to hear a great bit of news I shared with him (and his TA) today.
  • I started my EsoLang and Ostromian Computing workshops, which are short workshops of three weeks long and six weeks long respectively.
  • Finally, I used Glimpse to reconnect with some persons from my school and to network, and got three great connections out of it. I found out that my undergrad has a half arts half science major now, which I think in retrospect I might have done if it were available when I was attending. But somehow, I guess I was able to do it in a roundabout way, in the school of life, which is funny.

Good news!

  • I was in my Ostromian Computing workshop when I looked at my phone and saw 6 notifications. I don’t know how I had missed it before. As it turns out, one of the organizers, Matteo, told me that I should prep because I had won an award. I was also put in a channel labelled winners. This was all unknown to me, as M2L started at 3am where I am, and ended at noon typically, and because of my other workshops, I had forgotten to sleep at all on some days this week, and ended up catching up (by accident!) on sleep today. By the time he had sent these notifications, I had been in dream-land.
  • I looked at my phone in shock and messaged him, and he confirmed that this was the case, and wished me Congratulations! Of course it was now really late where he was, so he said he would follow up with me next week. As this was all going on, I had forgotten that I was actually cooking a black bean burger in the next room, and both of my smoke detectors suddenly went off, screaming at me to “Evacuate immediately” (I’m not joking). And of course, it was also snowing heavily outside. Fortunately, I was able to turn on a large fan, open the front door, and the smoke detectors eventually went off. What a day!

Unexpected friends

  • I made so many friends this week! I hung out with some friends from my SF hackerspace, and we celebrated a birthday and watched and played video games early one morning, just before I was ready to start attending my 3am workshop again. I befriended a Physics post-doc on the other side of the country, people on the other side of the world, and persons in just another state who are just going to graduate. I also made friends with someone in the place from which I moved, who I had never met before, who had lived there as long as I had!
  • I found myself up at 2am thinking about my long bus rides home after 9pm, when the bus would show up every hour (and not always on time), and about a conversation I had with another student with whom I would take bus-rides to downtown LA, through “Flood Town”, as it was called, because it would supposedly always flood in that part of downtown LA. I remember he told me that he didn’t know anyone in his immediate circle who had been to college, and that he was struggling to believe that he could make it (he wanted to be an electrical engineer). And we were having a conversation, (in the middle of the persons with large bags and those hoping to stay on the bus for as long as possible because they had no where else to go) why it was important for him to make it, to be the first. I wondered where he was now, and if he had continued to find it in himself to keep going. I hoped. And then I wondered why I was spending my time at 2am thinking about such things. About dreams and why we stopped pursuing them, or how we could find it within ourselves to keep going even when people around us, even those we loved, tried to take those dreams away from us. I hope my friend is still pursuing his, as I am still mine. Just for this week, I was thankful that I held on to mine.

M2L Certificate

  • How cool! You get an awesome one for participating (and in my case, presenting a poster!)

Outstanding Poster certificate :)

JSC Swag

  • Thank you so much! I enjoyed meeting all the incredibly smart, collaborative and humble people from your company :)

And that’s it

Written on January 16, 2021