Location: Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

What's the score of SF?

FSTTCS (Foundations of Software Technologies & Theoretical Computer Science) 2005, the Silver Jubilee Conference which was recently held in our campus shall remain etched in my memories for a number of reasons.

The Conference took place for 6 days(!) including the Pre-Conference Workshops. I happened to volunteer for this conference which happens to be my first experience of
witnessing a Theory conference. There were number of Greats who came all the way to our campus and it was a wonderful experience to talk to, to listen to their talks
-Prof. Russell Impagliazzo, Prof. Raimund Seidel, Prof. Joel Spencer, Prof. Jaikumar Radhakrishnan, Prof. Manindra Agarwal and so on...

My memories of the last day are a li'l fresh. So I begin with one of those that I remember the most. The last day began with a nice talk by the Invited Speaker Mathematician, Prof. Joel Spencer on "Erdos Magic" - I choose not to concentrate on the contents of this talk now.

Prof. Joel Spencer is one of those few who spent a lot of time with the legendary Hungarian Mathematician Paul Erdos (see Erdos Number if you are not interested in Mathematics). Thanks to him, there was a 1-hour documentary on Paul Erdos "N is a Number" which was played to all those interested at the end of the conference. I was fortunate to have seen it. Here is something which caught my attention.

Erdos was never a great believer in God, who he called as SF (or the Supreme Fascist ).

He always used to remark that all of us constantly keep playing this game with the SF.

If you do something bad, then the score of SF increases by two.

If you know that you can do something that is good and you don't do it, then the score of SF increases by one.

If you know that you can do something good, and you do it - then the score of SF is none.

The one who wins the game is the one who gives the least score for the SF.

Of all the three, I feel that avoiding the second one is the most difficult one. That's all from me now. Keep track of the score that you add to SF..


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