Rollerblading afternoon

I went rollerblading 12kms with my brother Theo and the dog Toufou, it was very nice! (And even nicer to beat the rain by a few minutes :-)) I love my family and I love the countryside!


Three Penguins in Copper

J'ai offert ces trois pengouins en cuivre à mes trois frères: Je les ai dessiné au Chili, et Alberto et Ivan Navarette, les artistes du cuivre de la "Place des Armes" à Santiago, les ont adapté en cuivre. Alberto dit que ceux sont ses préférés parmi mes dessins, et qu'il compte en faire d'autres copies pour voir si les touristes vont les acheter. Je suis très fier!!! I offered those penguins in Copper to my three brothers: I drew them while I was in Chile, and Alberto and Ivan Navarette from the "Plaza de Armas" in Santiago adapted them in Copper. Alberto said that those were his favorites of my drawings, and that he would do more copies of them to see if the tourists buy them. I am proud!!!


Stick Figure animation of "Salute to the Sun"

A sequel to this morning's sketch, the animation version.
I thought that this animation software on my cell phone was interpolating between the positions, it seems it does not. Yet I like the ease with which I could do such a short animation, and how it expresses what I wanted in non-verbal style. Maybe I could sketch some courses on Algorithms and Data Structures in non-verbal style too?

Salute to the sun

As it's raining/pouring outside, and I don't have my dear cycling tablet here in France, I thought I would go back to some yoga from a long time ago. I thought I had scaned the pages of my yoga book describing my favorite exercises, but I couldn't find those! I redraw one of them from memory instead, I find it cute.

Any yoga master out there should feel free to correct me of course: this is the sequence I remember as the variant B from the salute of the sun of the school of Ashtanga yoga, but it differs from Wikipedia's description. I tried both and prefer this one, which feels more fluid. Now to breath!


Monsters: Worst Case vs Adaptive Analysis

J'ai réalisé ce dessin pour la couverture de la thèse (d'habilitation à diriger les recherches) que je veut écrire, sur l'"analyse adaptive d'algorithmes et de structures de données". Alberto et Ivan Navarette, les aristes du cuivre de la place des armes à Santiago du Chili, l'ont adapté en cuivre: Je pense que la photo rendra très bien sur la couverture de la thèse! Le monstre de gauche, avec un oeuil et deux jambes, est supposé représenter la manière traditionelle d'analyser l'efficacité des algorithmes, basée sur une seule instance, la pire possible. Le monstre de droite, avec une multitude de jambes et de globes oculaires, est supposé représenter la manière d'analyser les algorithmes et structures de données que je présente et défend, une "analyse adaptative" où l'on considère familles d'instances pour rafiner l'analyse traditionelle dans le pire des cas. Alberto et Ivan ont fait un travail sensationel! I made this drawing for the cover of the thesis that I want to write, about the "Adaptive Analysis of Algorithms and Data Structures". Alberto and Ivan Navarette, the copper artists from the "Plaza de Armas" in Santiago de Chile, adapted it in copper: I think it will look even nicer on the cover of the thesis! The monster on the left, with one eye and two legs, is supposed to represent the traditional way to analyze algorithms, based on a single, worst possible, instance. The monster on the right, with many eyes and many legs, is supposed to represent the way to analyze algorithms and data-structures that I present and defend, an "adaptive analysis" where one consider families of typical cases to refine the traditional worst case analysis. Alberto and Ivan made a fabulous work!!!!


France tomorrow !

I am flying to France tomorrow!

End of 2012 CursorLab competition

Yesterday was the finale of the Competition of Android programming organized by Cursor. A group of my students got the second prize, but all projects were impressive, and all the students who managed to build a complete application in just one semester from scratch deserve to be proud of themselves!!!


French Academia

12 years ago, Claire wrote an interesting post on the french academic system. While I disagree with some point of details (the 6 weeks cycle of the coop program and the confusing calendar are [from what I saw in other French universities] oddities, even in France), my conclusions are very similar concerning the most common position, "Maitre de Conférence": comparing my former position in Canada with similar positions that my friends got in France, the salary is half as much, the teaching load is twice as high, the administrative weight is orders of magnitude heavier, and the stress if you are trying to do research is consequent.

I would add a few comments, about the recruiting system: the number of positions allocated to each university is decided by academician in committees at the government level (in Paris), which currently leads to a disequilibrium between the capital and "country-side" universities. As the same schema is reproduced for funding, the system becomes more and more bipolar, with most universities outside of two of the bigger cities concentrating on teaching, and a few having the lower teaching load and the funding required to do proper research.

As the universities don't have too much time for recruiting, all interviews happen at the same time, within the same month nationally, and within a few days for each university. Interview days and time are assigned, and changing them is difficult. You can be interviewed in Marseille (South of France) at 8am and in Rouen (all the way to the North) at 4pm. Also, as the universities don't have too much money either, there is no refund policy of the travel expenses of candidates. In the best case, candidates have 20 mins to present their research program, 10 mins of question, and then the committee listens to the next candidate, in a all-day marathon which leaves the committee members exhausted, obviously not in the best conditions to make any wise judgement. As a consequence, the recruiting decision is most often taken beforehand, and a necessary condition to be recruited is to be already known, to come several times before to give talks in the year before the application.

This situation yields various oddities. When I was applying to various universities in France, a friend told me that I could avoid a long trip to her university: the decision had already been taken and I was not the chosen one. At another university, a hiring was cancelled because such information was leaked to many candidates, to increase the chances of one local candidate to be hired: the recruiting process was done again 6 months later. When discussing about it with some French researchers, I was told that, as candidates are recruited directly with tenure after their PhD or Postdoc fellowship, they should be willing to bear with the recruiting system...

I left France 10 years ago. I am now going back to France for 7 months, to write a thesis of "Habilitation à diriger les Recherches", which would allow me to apply for Professor positions in France (which is only an option, not really a goal yet). It will be the occasion to renew contacts in France, make myself known if I want to apply in the future, and get again a taste at the academic life in France!!!


Yann Tiersen en Cuivre!

Certains de mes dessins ont été adaptés en cuivre para Alberto et Ivan Navarette, deux artistes Chiliens (père et fils) de la Place des Armes à Santiago. Ils disent qu'ils vont en faire d'autre copies et essayer de les vendre!!! Some of my drawings were adapted in copper by Alberto and Ivan Navarette, two Chilean artists (father and son) from the "Plaza de Armas" in Santiago. They say that they will make some other copies and try to sell them!!!

J'ai dessiné la pièce ci-dessus le jour du concert de Yann Tiersen à Santiago: la tête est supposé être la mienne, et la scène avec le piano représente mon anticipation du concert. Je pensais demander à Yann Tiersen de signer un autographe sur le dessin, ou lui donner le dessin, mais il y avait bien trop de monde autour de la scène, j'ai fini par gardé le dessin pour moi-même :) I drew the drawing above in anticipation of Yann Tiersen's concert: the head is supposed to be mine, and the stage with the piano representing my anticipation of the concert. At some point I thought that I might get him to autograph it, or give it to him, but there were too many people pressing around the scene, so I ended up keeping the drawing for myself :)

J'ai dessiné celui ci-dessus après le concert. Chaque animal est supposé carricaturer le musicien d'après son comportement sur scène, et Yann Tiersen est representé par un Kokopeli, rayonnant sur ses musiciens et les spectateurs. I drew the one above after the concert. Each animal is supposed to carricature the musicians according the behavior they showed on the scene, and Yann Tiersen is represented by a Kokopeli, shining on his musicians and the spectators.