Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Event Summaries

Experiences in Commercializing Research - March 30 2007

AI Grads hosted a panel where Craig Knoblock, Kevin Knight and Ed Hovy spoke about their expriences commercializing their research, and they gave great advice based on their histories. All of the speakers agreed that it is more important that a business idea solves a useful problem rather than just being really cool technology. The speakers also spoke about raising money and protecting your intellectual property. Another constant theme was the importance of hiring good business people such as lawyers and executives. The speakers explained that research companies can use SBIR and STTR grants to raise money, which was really insightful. We ate C & O Italian food and a tasty cake. 37 people (not including the speakers) and 1 dog attended this event, making it one of best attended events yet.

AI Grads lunch with alums - February 16th 2007

We had Greg Barish from Fetch Technologies, Radu Soricut from Language Weaver, and Marcelo Tallis from Teknowledge come in and discuss the transition to working in small business research setting. They pointed out some interesting differences between research in industry and academia, such as the necessity of weighing the potential of research ideas so as to keep a high level of productivity. They also described differences in writing proposals for SBIRs as compared to educational research grants. Marcelo also showed a really cool demo of integrating a deductive logic engine with a spreadsheet application like Microsoft Excel. We had about 27 people enjoying pizza and ice cream cake.

"AI in Games" a discussion by industry professionals - May 31st 2006

We had industry speakers from Savage Entertainment, Heavy Iron, and Pandemic Studios come and talk about their experiences with AI in games at their respective companies. Topics included how to simulate AI in games ("More Artificial then intelligent"), resource constraints, trade-off between expert AI and a fun user experience ("If your smart AI always kills me when I come into a room, that's not a game, its a torture chamber"), and working at game companies ("I make games for a living how bad can it be?"). We had 31 attendees including students and researchers. We served Johnnie's Pizza and soft drinks. (Pictures from the event)

LaTeX Document Formatting Tutorial - May 10th 2006

We had Matthew Michelson and Martin Michalowski present a tutorial on formatting documents using LaTeX . Matt gave a brief overiew of LaTeX and why we should use it. He followed with some "advanced" LaTeX tips and finished by showing some tools for Windows, demonstrating a couple of interesting features of each. Martin showed the main tools available for Mac, focusing on TeXShop in particular and presenting some of its cool features. The seminar also included an open discussion of specific questions related to LaTeX. About 20 people attended the event and empanadas, salad and cake were served.

Life After Graduate School - March 29th 2006

We had three speakers from our division at ISI present their views on different aspects of obtaining jobs after graduate school. The speakers were : (1) Prof. Kevin Knight, (2) Dr. Mark Moll, and (3) Dr. Yu-Han Chang. All three speakers had different backgrounds and perspectives. Prof. Knight talked about what he looks for when he hires graduates, while Dr. Moll talked about his experiences as a post-doc. Dr. Chang talked about how he got hired after graduating. About 30 people attended the event, which had Chipotle burritos for lunch.

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