Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Back to the Future

The new year is three days old, I have been head of department for two, and I have been thinking about doing a 2006 rewind, following the tradition of The Wire, one of my favourite music magazines despite the fact that I stopped subscribing to it last summer after about 15 years. However, the more I thought about it, the less I felt I had anything meaningful to say about concurrency theory in 2006. My colleagues produced several excellent papers, and a look at the proceedings of conferences like CONCUR 2006, FSTTCS 2006, ICALP 2006, and LICS 2006 will suffice to get an idea of some of the best work done last year.

Others have done a great "2006 rewind" for complexity theory and mathematics. (From the latter blog, I encourage you to read the opinions on category theory. Savour John Baez's one liner `I hope most mathematicians continue to fear and despise category theory, so I can continue to maintain a certain advantage over them.')

I encourage all of us to learn from Lance Fortnow's advice on how to deliver a job talk. That piece of advice, and the comments to the post, apply to any talk, not just our job talks.

Finally, I hope that during this year I'll follow the following piece of advice from Allan Bay, an Italian cook and food writer, whose sixth piece of advice in Cuochi Si Diventa (one of my favourite cookbooks) reads:

Cook with calm; haste and anxiety are your worst advisors. If you know you have little time, opt for a quick recipe, one that you can cook as well as you can in the little time you have at your disposal. This virtue is useful well beyond your kitchen....

Indeed, haste and anxiety are usually not conducive to good research work either. (The advice we give others is the advice we ourselves need.)

Hopefully 2007 will be a great year for concurrency theory, ICE-TCS, all of my collaborators and friends, and, why not, a decently productive one for me too. I wish that I could begin by attending this talk :-)

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