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posts about ants.

last week, i was attending the ants ix, which was held in nancy this time (two years ago, it was in banff). this year i also presented a poster. here are some impressions from the city:

a very interesting thing are the trams in nancy. they use one rail instead of two, and work even without it. sounds better then it is, though, if you read this. (the tram in the direction of loria was broken, so we had to use a bus… the nice thing is, the busses in nancy have several screens to show information – but fail to show things like the route, the destination, the time, the next stops, or any other useful information. there is also nothing announced via speakers, so you really have to know where you are, where you are going, and constantly watch out to catch the names of the stops, and better know some of the stops before your stop…)

last weekend, i was in banff. again. this time, i attended a weekend conference at the birs, the alberta number theory days. since it was just a short visit, there wasn’t much time to look around. nonetheless, here are some impressions from the banff centre and its surroundings. note that the lightening conditions weren’t very good as i took the photos in the evening.

the deer was grazing on the banff centre grounds; one sees “wild” animals roaming around there rather often. they tend to pretty much ignore humans, but you shouldn’t feed or touch them. one morning, i could see an elk walking around from my room’s window. i don’t have a photo of it, though.

this week, i was attending the ants. that’s not a conference on ant colony optimization and swarm intelligence, but the eighth instance of the algorithmic number theory symphosium, held in banff, canada.
banff is situated in the canadian part of the rocky mountains, whence one has a pretty neat sight:

here are some impressions from the conference center facilities. the first is a shortcut to the dining hall, the second the professional develop center, and the third one a pathway inbetween:

the next two photos show a view from inside the professional develop center, where we were housed, and me together with my poster:

this conference has been really great. i had lots of fun, learned a lot, met a lot of nice folks (again). and some more.

i haven’t felt so young on a metal concert for a pretty long time now, as on today’s dream theater show in winterthur. on the outside, i really felt dressed strangely, as the number of metal t-shirts was pretty small and most people looked pretty normal. inside, the situation looked a bit different, probably the metalheads were a bit earlier :-)
another pretty strange thing was that the wardrobe was located 100 m outside from the entrance. that means, you have to give away your jacket, queue up in the line for the entrance and stay there, freezing, just wearing a t-shirt. but at least it was not raining…
well. besides all these strange things, and also besides the insane pricing of the tickets, the concert was great. even though symphony x had just around 40 minutes to play. at least, the break for cleaning up the stange was pretty short (around 20 minutes), so one had no chance to fall asleep in between… (i remember some breaks which came near to one hour…) the stage was decorated with giant ant puppets, although i couldn’t see them, too many heads in my way… another gimmick was a traffic light hanging above the stage, which showed red, then turned to yellow when the intro music started, and changed to green when the band began to play.
well. dream theater played for almost two hours and, as usual, produced a really good show. they played a lot from their current album, systematic chaos, some other songs and, as an encore, a long medley, going through different epoches of dream theater.