|Panorama view from my room at the Nest Hotel in Incheon. The Incheon Airport is visible on the right.|
Earlier this month, I was in Incheon, South Korea, to present a talk at the Symposium for "Statistical physics, machine learning, and its application to speech and pattern recognition", organized by Prof. Kang-Hun Ahn as part of the Korea Institute for Advanced Study (KIAS). I was specifically invited to give a talk there (along with Jörg Lücke and Steven van de Par). One does not refuse such an invitation, esp. as a post-doc trying to make an academic career happen.
As a conference, the event was very good, in both of scientific content and forging connections that hopefully can continue in the future. Many interesting discussions happened outside the sessions, too.
|The location of the Symposium banquet. It was excellent. Don't ask me for the name though; but I can give the coordinates: 37°25'53.1"N 126°25'27.0"E|
The trip was bizarre for me for one reason, though. It's the first time I traveled that far just to present at a conference. Unfortunately, this symposium was scheduled not long after I had returned from Italy (where I was at MLSP 2016, coupled with a 1 week vacation), and the week before classes start here at the University of Oldenburg; so I had no time to do any sightseeing in Korea. I literally arrived the day before the first day of the symposium, and left the morning after the last day. Total time in Korea: about 66 hours. Total time flying there and back: 30 hours. We (myself, Jörg, and Steven) never went further than about 5 km from the Airport.
I certainly hope to go to Korea again, but then stay a little longer! There is so much to see, and I have friends in Japan I'd like to visit, too. (I've been to Jeju before, so I know Korea can be very beautiful. Next time I'd like to bring the wife and kids along!)