My Most Memorable Event of 2017

I travelled a lot in 2017. The most I have ever traveled before. I flew 163,195 miles which is equivalent to 6.6x around Earth. I was on 114 flights. I spent almost 400 hours (~16 days) on a plane. I visited 17 countries: Austria, Argentina, Canada, Chile, Colombia, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, India, Mexico, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, UK, Uruguay. I was in Austin for 164 days (my home), 61 days in Europe, 28 days in Colombia and 16 days in India. I slept 30 nights at a Marriott, 27 nights at an Airbnb and 13 nights on a plane.

Given all this travel, I asked myself: what was my most memorable event of 2017?

The answer was simple: dinner at the Royal Society of London with Bob Kowalski and Keith Clark.

In July, I gave a lecture at the 2017 Reasoning Web Summer School and attended the RuleML+RR 2017 Conference. The conference dinner was at the Royal Society of London. Bob Kowalski gave the dinner speech titled “Logic and AI – The Last 50 Years”. It was the 50th anniversary of when he started his PhD, which gave the rise to logic programming. Additionally, by pure coincidence I sat next to Keith Clark. The combination of sitting next to Keith Clark and listening to Bob Kowalski’s is what made this my most memorable event of 2017

Why?

Early during my PhD, my advisor, Dan Miranker, encouraged me to read about the 5th Generation Japanese Project (if you don’t know what this is, go look it up NOW!) During my research, in order to trace back the relationship between Logic and Data, I encountered the landmark 1977 Workshop of Logic and Data Bases organized by Herve Gallaire, Jack Minker and Jean-Marie Nicolas. That workshop is where Ray Reiter presented his paper on Closed World Assumption, Bob Kowalski presented his paper on Logic for Data Description and Keith Clark presented his paper on Negation as Failure. I even have a copy of the proceedings:

 

Every time I give a talk on this topic, I reference that 1977 workshop to provide historical context of where we are today. See slide 4:

Bob concluded with two open questions:

1) What is the relationship between declarative and imperative representation of knowledge?
2) What is the relationship between different types of rules?

As you can imagine, sitting next to Keith Clark, listening Bob Kowalski’s talk and having the opportunity to chat with them is what made this a truly amazing evening.

With Bob Kowalski
With Keith Clark

What an evening! An evening I will never forget! Thank you Bob and Keith!

Oh, I even saw Alan Turing’s Certificate of a Candidate for Election into the Royal Society.

 

Mind blown!

A Weekend in Antigua, Guatemala

In May 2017, Escape ATX shared a deal for Austin to Guatemala for $300! I immediately jumped on it. Last weekend I visited Guatemala, specifically Antigua. This small town used to be the capital of the Kingdom of Guatemala (which included most of Central America) in the 1700s and is now UNESCO World Heritage Site. After the peace was signed in the mid 90s, Antigua started to boom with a lot of tourist but continued to maintain it’s small town appeal.

For me, the best way to summarize Antigua is the following: imagine a typical pueblo in Latin America (in Colombia think Villa de Leyva o Salento) mixed with the cosmopolitan vibe of Austin. Cobble stone roads, colonial style housing, park in the middle of the town with the cathedral in front, with high end luxury restaurants, bars with pub food, local craft beer, hole in the wall bars.

I observed three types of foreigners:
1) tourists
2) short term: foreigners coming for volunteering or “figuring what I want to do with life” who come for months and may end up staying for a year or two
3) resident immigrants: foreigners who have been living in Antigua for many years and are owners of a bar or restaurant

Antigua is a bubble within Guatemala. It is not cheap (same prices as in Austin). But it has a charm, a “no sé que” that wants me to come back. I can see myself going back and working from Antigua for a week or two (who would be interested?)

These are some of the places that I visited which I recommend:

Chermol: Argentinean restaurant. Wide variety of local craft beers

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The Snug: Small irish pub with live music

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Panza Verde: high end restaurant, romantic ambiance. All the food was delicious.

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Cafe No Se: The famous Cafe No Se. It’s been featured in NY Time’s “What to do in 36 hours in Antigua Guatemala”. It’s a hole in the wall, mostly full of foreigners. In the back they have the a mescal bar where they only serve Illegal mescal and beer. Music is blues/soul which reminds me of Thursday night at Barberella in Austin

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Caoba Farms: an organic farm where they have a farmers market every Saturday with local cusine. During my visit they had an Oktoberfest

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Cantina Royal: cool bar

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Saberico: Eat in a beautiful garden. Breakfast was delicious.

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Whiskey Den: Whisky, why not? There are a bunch of other bars next to this one.

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Angie Angie: awesome pizza! Live music. Outside patio is relaxing. On Sunday Pizza is 2×1.

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