I wasn’t built to get up at this time…

27 November, 2008

Four hours after going to bed, I got up again to catch the stupid-o’clock train to Athlone for the 6th Lero Researchers Workshop.

A rough summary of the two days:

Doctoral Symposium: in which the newbies watch and learn about all the nasty questions that will be asked when you have been doing a PhD long enough that you are supposed to know what you are doing. Useful but slightly scary. Can you explain your PhD a) in great detail? b) in the context of all the other research in your field? c) in one sentence? d) to your gran?

Coffee, chocolate biscuits and networking. Networking, it turns out, is not so bad; it can also mean geeking out about the Parrot open source project, predicate logic, being a demonstrator, design patterns, Agile methods…

Dinner and Table Quiz: with an American theme. While my table could have answered questions about Ireland, England, Spain or India, none of us was exactly sure which sport is played at the Superbowl, let alone how many times it’s been run. Still, we didn’t lose. Go Team Grinch!

Bar: in which the lecturers get very, very drunk, and I stay up talking nonsense until my eyes are going purple from lack of sleep.


Breakfast more sleep.

Workshop on current research: in which every other presentation mentions state explosions. What is a state explosion??? I finally found someone who knew in the taxi on the way home. It roughly means “more possibilities than my computer can handle”.

Back to Dublin. Sadly, in the mad rush to catch the 4pm train home instead of the 7pm, I was unable to get a postcard for County Westmeath, so the Postcard Project of Awesomeness is no further on.


  1. How would you explain your PhD to my gran?

  2. We were supposed to do _that_ sort of networking? Dammit! I tried all the available wifis, checked for HSPA reception, what more can they reasonably expect …

  3. Now, is your gran a Universal Granny, or is she also in touch with her inner geek and holding unexpected computing qualifications?

    How about: “When you join a company it takes time to learn how everything is done there. This is especially true with software development. I’m trying to help software developers understand other people’s work so that they can make improvements to it.”

    I would then offer her a cup of tea, because I suspect that these things run in families.

  4. baseball i think.

    and mmm postcards. shame the project had a small hicccup

    For some reason i can imagine Abi’s gran being a bit of a rebel and only drinking coffee.

  5. That would work. Except she would make the tea and insist on feeding you biscuits and/or cake. My Grandma’s ace 😀

    She does, in fact, only either drink black coffee or green tea.

  6. @BadInfluence: have a geek point. At least you had wifi working, I had no internet for two days and was forced to go and talk to people instead :S

    @gemma: not bowling, then?

    @Abi: mmm cake. Have I met your grandma? Is this the same grandma that went hot-air-balloonning?

  7. Hmmm, thought it was American Footie…
    but thinking about it, it could be English Boules… we all know Americans can’t spell and love the English 😉

  8. Bowling? How do they do that without a white electronic wand in their hand.
    Actually Scott might be right, i have no urge however to wiki it… surprisingly

  9. […] They like bizarre injokes, obscure technology, niche memes and weird food, and you will have a state explosion on your hands if you try to cater for even a small subset of this for every permutation of For My […]

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