Haircuts and graduations

I have a rule of thumb for when I get a haircut.  I wait until I think I need a haircut.  Then I get one about four weeks later.  It’s actually not a plan on my part.  It’s more that I look in the mirror in the morning and at night and keep intending to get a haircut.  And then I don’t bother to do so.  Eventually, the desire becomes strong enough that I actually do it.

Waiting four weeks too long is not a good rule for maintaining a blog. I have been intending to write a post for a long time, and am finally doing it.  This may be the first post I’ve written that is of a personal nature.

The last few weeks have been eventful.  My youngest child is a senior in high school, and needed to make a decision on what college to attend next year.  We visited two colleges that admitted her.  She decided to go to the Binghamton University, and plans to major in Cinema Studies.  Binghamton University is a great undergraduate college, and the Cinema Studies department is a very good fit for her interests.

My son is about to graduate from Yale.  A major event for him this year was the Yale Show, a musical comedy about Yale, which is an annual tradition at Yale.  It’s written by students, directed by students, and acted by students.  My son was the head writer and assistant director.  My opinion of the show (and I am totally objective about this) is that the show this year was fantastic.  It was very funny, even to someone who didn’t get the references to life at Yale.

As for myself, I gave a plenary talk at the International Network Optimization Conference (INOC), which was held in Pisa two weeks ago. I had agreed to give a plenary talk more than one year ago. However, when I thought about what to talk about four months ago, I did not have any research topic that I thought would make a good plenary talk for this conference; so I volunteered to give a talk on personal reminiscences, especially those relevant to my research in network optimization. As far as I could tell, the talk was very well received.  Participants especially liked the photographs from the 1970s and 1980s.

Nearly half of the talk was about my graduate school days. I attended three Ph.D. programs: Caltech, the University of Waterloo, and Stanford University. I received masters from the first two programs (with the degrees being granted three months apart), and a Ph.D. from Stanford. It takes a while just to make sense of the different academic steps I took, as well as how it led me to my research field. The title of my talk was “Network Flows: my path”, a not-so-subtle reference to the book Network Flows which I co-authored.

In the next month, my son will graduate from college, and my youngest daughter will graduate from high school. It will be really interesting for me to follow their paths, and see where the road takes them.


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