Friday, January 08, 2010

My New Workplace

The School of Computer Science has moved into its premises in the new building of Reykjavik University. The building is still a construction site, and will remain so for a few more months at least. You can see some photos here. There is no doubt that the building looks good. However, I am not so sure that it will offer the best working conditions for academic work. For instance, as a consequence of the downsizing of the building because of the economic crisis in Iceland, we have no offices and we are all sitting in an open space. (I'll try to post a photo of the TCS area when I get a chance to take one.)

I am not passing judgement yet on the effect that this will have on my work. The next few weeks will allow me to form an opinion on this issue. I will try to keep an open mind and to make the most of what I have available. However, it is hard to escape the nagging thought that I had a quieter working environment when I was a Ph.D. student.

Stay tuned for more information.


Anonymous said...

When I went to Iceland for ICALP, I heard that it is the richest country in the world. Hope that thing will improve soon.

Luca Aceto said...

That's what people believed then. Even now, the living conditions are good and one cannot complain too much. However, the next couple of years will be hard for Icelandic society at large and for universities in particular. What happens after that will depend very much on how the ICE-SAVE matter gets resolved.

Luca said...

What happened to the old building where you were before? It's a strange decision for the administration to make you move into a smaller facility, if the old one was still viable.

Luca Aceto said...


Before the move to the new building, whose construction will be completed by some time this coming summer, Reykjavik University was spread over three different buildings, which, as far as I know, were rented. Two of the buildings were close to one another, but one was far away and housed a large part of the School of Engineering. By some time this coming summer, we will all be under the same roof, but I foresee that we will run into space problems.

During the supposedly rich days before the Icelandic economy collapsed, the university decided to build a brand new and beautiful building, located in one of the most scenic locations in Reykjavik. The building was supposed to be a symbol of the university's ambitions and to be much larger than the one we ended up with. The teaching facilities in the new building are excellent, as far as I can tell after having spent four hours in the lecture rooms this week. However, space for the working faculty ended up being sacrificed on the altar of financial savings. As I wrote, it remains to be seen what effects this will have on the work of the working researcher. I expect that several of my colleagues will work at home much more than they did before. Probably this will apply to me too.

On a different note, I read in some comments to a blog post today that you are moving to Stanford. Is this correct? Is the move due to the problems in the UC system that you have mentioned repeatedly in some excellent blog posts of yours? In any event, congrats for the new position. When do you start at Stanford?