Saturday, July 11, 2009

SIAM Annual Meeting

I spent most of the last 5 days wandering around the convention center and watching math talks that were way over my head. (Somehow I also managed to go to judo once, work one afternoon, make it to my class and do most of my homework. I am BEAT.)

There was a career fair Monday night, which combined with meeting lots and lots of about-to-graduate PhDs, gave me way too much food for thought about what I want to be when I grow up. I didn't meet anyone else who was working (not counting the one guy from our school - I didn't meet anyone NEW to me who was working.) Things I had never thought about before: there are non-academic jobs that still have to do grant proposals. There's a whole network of national labs that work on anything they can get the funding for - but that involves a LOT of chasing the funding. I am even more amazed at how many government and government contracting jobs there are out there. (and how they are ALL in the D.C. area.) I met _4_ people from real industry, and 2 of them work for IBM.

I can feel my brain slowly sorting out the talks and making connections to things people I know are working on. So my brain still hurts, but I don't feel as dumb as I was for most of the week. :)

Things that are going to be really really big over the next 5 years:
  • parallel computing
  • multiscale dynamical systems (example: modeling both how the bacteria act within a person and the social networks that have them moving between people)
  • techniques for insanely big datasets
  • measuring uncertainty (there's a fancier word for it that I'm not remembering right now)
It was very much not a statistics conference. I met one person who actually identified as a statistician. It was funny to me how much talk there was about how they wanted greater interconnection within the math community, but how stats does not seem to be part of that community. (Computer Science is though.)

Now my poor brain has to do game theory homework (the last talk I saw seemed to be about proving that the next homework I have due will be harder than the last one. Seriously. ) and try to start on a game theory paper.

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