Last Conference Day

Well today was the last day of the conference, so tonight is the last night in Boston. Man, time goes by quickly, particularly when you're being kept crazy busy! Tonight's post is only one day of coverage so shouldn't be quite so long. This morning was another 8am wakeup. The night before we had Brad and Chris stay the night in our room since they hadn't had a place for the night. Apparently the hotel hadn't managed to find them a room in the hotel for them that night despite them being on the waiting list for a room over a month ago. Plus a couple people we personally know booked rooms since and got in. Weird.

Anyways, we got up and proceeded to get breakfast again before heading to the first paper talks of the day. The hilight of the day were the talks by Mike Smith and the other speakers at the "Hall of Champions". The first speaker was from Austin, Texas and he talked about their general game playing program (they had the 2nd annual competition this year at AAAI). The 2nd speaker was from the DARPA grand challenge winning team from Stanford. It wasn't the same guy as the last talk from the same group - instead it was the lead programmer. Not a long talk since it was for a paper, but it was still very interesting to hear them talk about the sort of challenges they had to deal with. Mike did well at his talk, considering he had to follow up such a crazy intelligent presenter. The pool stuff is actually really cool, so I don't think there was much trouble having people pay attention to his stuff.

After the talk, we wandered over to a session that was pretty much a UofA hilight session. Michael Bowling gave a talk, his student gave a talk, and Doug (another UofA grad student) gave a talk as well! All told, Michael Bowling had his name on SIX AAAI papers this year, which is pretty insane. That's a whole lot of work he's got his fingers into.

Lunch was the next thing on the plate, so we organized and went out for lunch again at the LTK. It was okay, though they weren't quite so snappy with the service that we've seen in the previous visits, so I wasn't as impressed. Still, I was happy.

The last talk we attended was the results for the three competitions that were run. In particular, these were the general games playing competition, some sort of robot interaction/integration competition, and of course our poker competition. Yay for the UofA!

We had the afternoon/evening free from the conference as this pretty much wrapped up the events. So we got up and headed out to find an ice cream place Nolan claimed was supposed to be really good. It was called Toscanini's, and it was actually not bad but I'm not too sure it was worth the long trip and the cost of the ice cream itself. It wasn't the marble slab! Still, one cannot argue with ice cream!

We returned to the hotel to meet some people after wandering around Harvard with our ice cream. Then we headed out for dinner - and got lucky. We tried the "Barking Crab" which looks like a popular place. Unfortunately, so popular that we had no chance of getting in in time to sooth our hungry stomachs. So we left and headed downtown - and caught the kitchen still open with about 10 minutes to spare at a bar called Coogans or something of that flavour. The food was alright, but nothing incredible. Still, it was good to get some food. This being the last night, several people drank heavily but I didn't really feel like having too much. I did join them for a drink called the "Dirty Girl Scout" which turned out to be a drink with Baileys, Creme de Cacao, Creme de Menthe and Kahlua. It was *really* good - so you should try it sometime!

We stayed for awhile until the bad bar music got on our nerves and several of us left. I had brought my tripod and got some neat shots of the tower that was close to the quincy market. There was a fog over the city almost all day and this made for some interesting pictures.

And now we're back in the hotel room. I'm gonna try and pack up most of my stuff so I just have to shower and meet up with Mike - we're off to foxwoods tomorrow morning! w00t! Wish me luck!