Wednesday, February 23, 2005


This is the third attempt to draft this entry. The first two times, I was cut short when my computer locked up; it does this from time to time -- due, I think, to a known bug in the graphics hardware -- but not so often that I'm willing to get rid of it and get a new computer. There are days, though, when I'm tempted to do just that. This laptop is sturdy, and has done well for the past 4+ years; but it's also getting long in the tooth in computer terms, and it would be nice to have something that didn't run out of juice in 10 minutes on battery power.

To begin again in the way that I began my first two attempts: we shipped a paper today. If you want to read about Elastic PMLs for Resonator Anchor Loss Simulation, you now know where to read. This is just a tech report so far, of course, and we still have to go through the review process; but it still feels nice to have that done.

On other notes, I spent an entertaining half hour reading Foolproof: A Sampling of Mathematical Folk Humor from the most recent Notices of the AMS. If you like math jokes, this goes from Abelian grapes to Zorn's lemons; if you think math jokes are incomprehensible, you still might be entertained by the analysis of mathematical folk culture (the paper was co-authored by a mathematician/physicist and a folklorist). I found this article by chasing links from a post on Mark Zimmermann's page; another such post led me to another interesting article: If a tree doesn't fall on the Internet, does it really exist? While I can't speak of journalism, I find myself in sympathy with the author: computer scientists are also not good at extending their searches to the libraries. I have friends in graphics with whom I've taken courses in computational mechanics, and they've observed that a lot of the physically-based animation research of today seems to be a rehash of technology discovered by mechanical engineers decades ago. Of course, an engineer has a different goal than a CG researcher: one wants simulations which reflect reality, though they may be slow; the other wants simulations which only reflect reality to the extent necessary to look plausible, and is otherwise happy trading accuracy for speed. Still, many of the techniques are the same, and we'd all be better off with research done by people well-versed in the relevant prior art -- including the stuff that's not online.

I think I'd planned to write something else. I'm sure there was something else in the earlier instances of this post. But now I've grown absent-minded, and should probably stop typing, pack my bag, walk home, and eat dinner.