Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Visit at Computer Vision Centre, Universitat Autonoma Barcelona

I had planned to get up at 7am, so that I would have enough time for possibly getting lost on my way. But I had not set any alarm, simply relied on waking up through the daylight brightness in the room. But when I opened my eyes at 9am, it was still quite dark due to the thick curtains. I had a nice breakfast at the buffet in the hotel, then put on my suit and went out. Since the metro entrance is right near the hotel entrance, I did not have to walk much. With L3 to Place Catalunya. From there with a train towards north. S55 and S2 would be suitable. There are red dressed officials everywhere whom I could ask for quick directions to the trains, as the ticket machines were all in Spanish or Catalan. My zone-1 T-10 ticket would not be valid, so I had to buy a zone-2 roundtrip ticket. Then waiting for the train.

The train stations I have seen so far are all underground, linked to the metro system. This makes the commute easy, but the air there is very warm, and the walks along those tunnels are sometimes quite long.

The train leaves exactly on time. I txt Antonio that I would arrive soon. He is there at the station to pick me up and drive me to CVC, as the distance is not very short.

Last year, I had participated with CVC in a joint bid to the EU in the FP-7 program. So I had thought that it might be a nice opportunity to combine my travel to Barcelona with a visit to their institution. I had prepared a talk about my work and the Centre for Creative Technology, to give an overview over the many topics on which we could to collaborate.

When I entered Antonio's office, I first saw Prof. E.D.Dickmanns' latest book. He had been here for a visit a few years ago. Meet then also Angel, and Fernando.

I try to get the mobile phone working, with GPS and Wifi, but the GPS reception is poor. It is quite interesting that the stand-alone Garmin GPS is so much fasterin initialising, while the XDA sometimes takes quite a while until it gets a fix. This might have its cause in the GPS acquisition being somewhat crashed, as for a long time there are no satellites at all. On the other hand, once the phone has a GPS fix, the tracking of the position works remarkably well, even under deteriorating conditions.

My talk is scheduled from 12:30 to 13:30. I have 72 slides, am supposed to end in 40 minutes. It takes overall 50 minutes. Some slides have the wrong order... I should have reviewed the set again after finishing it at 3am the night before. But overall the talk goes well.

Afterwards, we go to lunch in the cafeteria. A large buffet, with excellent samplings of the Spanish/Catalan cuisine. I was told that my introduction at the talk sounded funny, when I said "good afternoon" (at 12:40), because it was still considered morning. Afternoon would be now, after lunch, at 3pm. Ok, next time I know.

Angel, myself, Antonio (left to right)
Angel, myself, Antonio (left to right)

Antonio then shows me a presentation of their work. Very impressive, many technological advances in computer vision projects, a wide variety of approaches. We discuss a few things, very interesting. At 16:30 I head back, walk to the station through the campus. Quite a large campus, two train stations (one at each end) from different lines coming from the city, very green, hilly. Most buildings are quite hidden away under trees and in valleys.

Back in the city I head to the Exposition centre to register for tomorrow's conference: the Marie Curie Workshop. It is now quite unbearably hot in the subway and in the endless tunnel hallways, outside the air appears to be fresher.

No dinner tonight, as I am still full from the delicious lunch. I fall asleep for two hours before I update my blog here.

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