18 November

A few thoughts on highlight before and during the pandemic

After a year and a half of covid-world, and the prospect of another tough winter taking precautions regarding covid-19, I am have been thinking about some of the great experiences I was lucky to have in the preceding few years. Many of these are personal, and related to time spent with my family, but here are 3 of the generic ones.

I visited Delhi in 2010, and especially Old Delhi. For a North American like me, Delhi was an eye-opening experience, with a panoply of culture, sights, smells, people, and modes of living. While there, I took time to visit Agra and the Taj Mahal, which is certainly one of the most impressive human artifacts on earth. The trip was made even more exceptional by the fact that my friends Yogesh Girdhar and Sofia had their wedding while I was in town, and the chance to attend was a very lucky opportunity for me.

In past years I have had the chance to work in Barbados almost every year, and even gone scuba diving as part of my work there. Barbados was been a very special place for me and I have always been very fond of the people there and the culture that they embody. Our robotics work on the reefs has let me observe their unfortunate decline, but despite that the ecosystems there are strikingly beautiful.
For several years Iíve been on the board of the Bellairs Institute there. Providing some advice targeted towards developing that facility has been a job I feel fortunate to have been involved in. The last time I was there was right at the start of the pandemic in 2020, and hope I can back sometime soon.

In 2019, I was able to start building the Samsung AI Center in downtown Montreal.
It's hard to believe that we have been out of the office almost completely for over a year, while we are still building up the lab. There are people on my team that I work with regularly, yet whom I have only met briefly in person. That is beyond any mode of operation I had ever expected. Maybe itís not that strange for some teams that are used to outsourcing, but for a small research-intensive team, itís very unusual by the standards of 2019. Nonetheless, it has gone much better than I would have anticipated.

As many aspects of life inch toward normalcy, it's both good to reflect on what was missed and the ways we have adapted.

By Gregory Dudek at | Leave a comment |    
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