(... don't worry, the ones who didn't fit into the picture are awesome as well!)
(... don't worry, the ones who didn't fit into the picture are awesome as well!)
It is an interesting conundrum, when the person responsible for writing the usual farewell blog is also the person that has to say goodbye. Now, while talking about myself in the third person and saying goodbye on behalf of the lab definitely caters to my oversize ego, I will instead turn things around and take this space to talk in the first person instead.
I arrived at LASA in 2006, and since then I've had the opportunity of doing plenty of things, meet and get to know a lot of people, and had immense fun. I've compiled a quick list of things I did during my stay in the lab, which you can see below (click to get the proper size!).
It is always difficult to point to specific events in the time between my arrival and my departure, as events and encounters mix together in a non-linear set of multi-modal experiences that as a whole make up what I will carry with me as I go on. However it is much easier to think of beginnings and endings: I remember Florent (Guenther!) talking and joking from his computer while I set up lights to take the picture of the Hoap2 robot that still decorates the first page of our web side; I remember discussing with Sylvain and Eric about the merits of having multiple monitors while I set up my computer on a temporary desk in their office; I remember Aude telling me "talk with the gals and guys if you have any problems and you'll be fine" on my first day in the lab, which is an advice that I took to heart ever since (you might have noticed that :D).
And while memories are a fond luxury to dwell on, I've actually got pictures of what my departure has looked like!
Needless to say, I was touched and moved (and incidentally very well fed!) by your efforts, kindness and friendship.
So as a final note, good bye, fare well and see you again in the lab, in the city, at barbecues or elsewhere. I'm like bad weed, you won't get rid of me that easy…
Missing in action were
Klas, the two Guillaumes and Ajay
Running, on a rainy day...
In an everlasting effort to partake of the local life, to experience the place in which we live, and to enjoy a grand event together, the Lasa team took part in the 20km de Lausanne this saturday, sporting 8 participants to the celebrated running competition. Since we're still scientists and not weathered sportsmen, we elected to run the 10km, which accompanies the participants along the lake shore, then sends them up to the Parc de Milan, down again through the Vallée de la Jeunesse and eventually back to the Vidy park.
The weather was bad, rain and cold worsening by the kilometre, but it could not mar the spirits of the Lasa members and their support teams (wives, girlfriends, friends, sisters) who cheered and motivated the by then soaked and trembling runners in the middle and in their last stretch of the race.
As for the aftermath, the humble author of this here text will spend the day on the couch, dreading the moment in which he will have to get up to fetch the laptop charger, and generally trying to remember that, while not necessarily being able to sense them, he still has 4 articulated limbs…
In any case, to provide some data (we are, after all, a machine learning lab) here are some results on the race itself.
The LASA Participants:
Plus some 7000 other people who managed to finish the race..
So let's have a look at the age distribution for all participants to the 10km race
We could speculate about what this graph says about the competitive spirit, or the willingness to take care of one's own body, or health consciousness of men and women, but to be on the safe side, let us just remark the definite shift toward a younger age for female runners, and the curious gap between the peak age (28 for women, 34 for men) and the plateau of participants that are some 10 years older than that...
Let us start with the overall results for the 7000 something participants to the 10km race, segmented by age.
It is interesting to note that, while it is true that women run a tad slower than men (this can be explained in part by the fact that on average they have shorter legs...), their performance does not seem to suffer from age as much as men's (this tendency is clear as day in the 16-60 years range).
And now, since we're here to talk about us after all, let us look at the results, in infographic format, of the LASA participants:
And here are the same results plotted on the same graph above
And to describe these results in terms of numerical achievements:
And of course, the methodological caveats (latin for "excuses for why we're so bad…") :
All in all, these results count as AWESOME in my book! So kudos to Guillaume Pihen and Klas Kronander for their outsdanding results, congratulations to all the others for finishing the race so fast and a big hooray to the LASA team and friends for an unexpectedly and deserved good performance!
It is always a bit sad to say farewell to someone who has been working with you for a while. The latest installment of our goodbyes is for Otpal Vittoz.
Since his very arrival, he was a vocal participant in the debates, discussions, gossip, elevated cultural diatribe and garroulous chit-chatting that goes on at the lab, in the coffee rooms and at the cantina. Amidst the world-spanning and exotic members of the lab, he's provided an inner view on the life and society of the place we live in that educated and entertained both the locals and those from far away. Wise and cultured, and with a pinch of cynical realism, Otpal has been a source of enjoyment to us all.
So good bye, good luck and see you in town, colleague and friend!
Last friday saw the end of yet another short but very enjoyable stay from a visiting fellow researcher.
The latest temporary arrival to the LASA was Tim Waegeman. In but a few weeks, Tim managed to settle in, get to know the people and partake in the idiosyncracies that make the lab feel unique. (Plus turns out he's almost more of an apple fanboy than I am!)
So thank you Tim, good luck, fare thee well, and 'till next time from the LASA!
The LASA has joyfully and beautifully celebrated the passing of yet another year by gathering together for a couple of glamourous days in the snowy landscapes of Les Diablerets.
After a whole day in the snow medium, where seasoned veterans, eager initiates and courageous beginners had their respective bouts with slopes, mounds and flats,
the merry band of brothers and sisters in snow debated, studied and finally fixed the traditional fondue, which was consumed with gusto by most, and with avid gourmandise by some…
After celebrating Sahar's birthday, the night ended in discussions, tales, games and singing and dance performances…
The next day saw our comrades group themselves into cohorts of snow fighting daredevils chasing one another through the streets and pathways of Les Diablerets, and dishing it out in what became a frenzied mayhem and audacious melee.
In conclusion, a big thank you and see you next time to all who participated, and a couple more pictures for those who might enjoy a replay of an entertaining, funny, and enjoyable time.
My AWESOME labmates, after my public PhD defense. I have enjoyed each moment of my PhD life thanks to the amazing atmosphere at our lab. Every working day was full of interesting scientific and non-scientific discussions with such an awesome multifaceted group of people. Thank you all for your helps, availability, and friendship!
As summer comes on, bathing the lab in sunlight, scorching the skin of some, heating the office of others, it is time of holidays and departures.
After a 10 week visit, Saurav will be going back home to India. Having you around has been interesting, captivating and fun, and we're looking forward to your return (next year?). Other people will be leaving soon, either going back to their homes or going forward to where their careers and lives will carry them. To them we will say farewell and good luck.
and of course, Saurav deserved the obligatory Goodbye Slap: