Holger's Miscellanea

Event Organisation
- conferences, workshops and symposia I've helped organise

Reviewing, Editing and Paper Selection
- including special issues and PC membership

Other Professional Activities
- steering committees, SATLIB

Outside the Ivory Tower
- my non-academic life (yes, I have one!)

Odds and Ends
- a collection of interesting, unusual and amusing items

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Event Organisation:

I currently serve as programme co-chair of the 2nd Workshop on Engineering Stochastic Local Search Algorithms (SLS 2009) in Brussels, Belgium. Recently, I have been co-chair of the 23rd Conference on Artificial Intelligence (AAAI-08) Intelligent Systems Demonstrations and of the 22nd Conference on Artificial Intelligence (AAAI-07)Intelligent Systems Demonstrations, as well as programme chair of the Workshop on Learning and Intelligent Optimization (LION 2007) in Andalo, Italy and co-chair of the Workshop on Engineering Stochastic Local Search Algorithms (SLS 2007) in Brussels, Belgium. Previously, I have served as co-chair of the 7th International Conference on Music Information Retrieval (ISMIR 2006), as co-chair of SAT 2004, the 7th International Conference on Theory and Applications of Satisfiability Testing, and as programme co-chair for ISMIR 2003 (the 4th International Conference on Music Information Retrieval). I was also a co-organiser of the IJCAI-03 Workshop "Stochastic Search Algorithms".

Reviewing, Editing and Paper Selection:

I am area editor for Metaheuristic Methodologies of the Journal of Heuristics, as well as a member of the editorial boards of the Journal of Artificial Intelligenc Research (JAIR) and of the Journal on Satisfiability, Boolean Modeling and Computation (JSAT).

I currently serve on the programme committee of IJCAI-09 and LION-3 Recently, I have been a programme committee member for the 18th European Conference on Artificial Intelligence (ECAI-08), the 11th International Conference on Theory and Applications of Satisfiability Testing (SAT 2008), the 2nd Learning and Intelligent OptimizatioN Conference (LION 2), the 20th International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI 2007), the 5th International Workshop on Ant Colony Optimization and Swarm Intelligence (ANTS 2006) and the 9th International Conference on Theory and Applications of Satisfiability Testing (SAT 2006),

Together with Thomas Stützle I have edited a special issue on stochastic search algorithms of Annals of Operations Research; and together with David Bainbridge, I was a guest editor for a special issue on music information retrieval of Computer Music Journal.

Other Professional Activities:

I am the vice-president of the Canadian Artificial Intelligence Association / Association pour l'intelligence artificielle au Canada (CAIAC). I also serve as a member of the Steering Committee of the International Conferences on Theory and Applications of Satisfiability Testing (SAT), and as a member of the Steering Committee for the Learning and Intelligent Optimisation (LION) Workshop Series. I have been a member of the Steering Committee of the International Conferences on Music Information Retrieval (ISMIR) between 2002 and 2007.

Also, together with Thomas Stützle I maintain SATLIB, an online repository of benchmark problems, solvers, and tools for SAT-related research.

Outside the Ivory Tower:

As one might guess from my computer music interests, music is generally one of my favourite occupations, including both passive and active aspects, theory and practice. I've been playing the bassoon for many years now and have been member of several amateur and semi-professional ensembles (orchestral and chamber music) in the Frankfurt area (in Germany) for most of that time. I love the instrument's woody sound and flexible character, and have a great time playing together with others.

If you'd like to share some of my musical experience and taste, or if you are simple curious, have a look at my little Music Cabinet, a special collection from my favourite pieces. Also, a while ago, I have composed some small pieces of music, two of which - along with brief explanations and comments - can be found here.

Some years ago, I began creating pictures using a process that is mainly based on digital manipulation of specific kinds of photographic material. A little gallery these works can be found on my art page.

When I arrived in Vancouver, I started SCUBA diving, which is now one of my main outdoor activities. Diving in British Columbia can be quite spectacular, although the water is rather cold. I also started to cave dive a few years ago. Why do I like diving? It opens the door to another world, full of life, adventure, relaxation, and discovery. It also lets me escape from the gravity of life, both in a metaphorical and literal sense. If this sounds interesting to you, I have a collection of diving related links which you might want to check out.

More recently, I started snowboarding, and although I am probably still a rather pathetic boarder, I love doing it. I used to dread the rainy winters in Vancouver, but now I can hardly wait for the rainy season to begin ... ;-)

I also enjoy reading and a good cup of tea; especially after a dive or a hike in a beautiful or exciting natural environment (which is not hard to find in British Columbia where I presently live). Finally I regard meeting interesting people and discussing intriguing ideas as one of the best ways to spend my time.

There's a lot more - but if you really want to find out you have to meet me in person ... :-)

Odd and Ends (and - yes, I admit - a few Rants):

Wikipedia - an extremely useful, free encyclopedia, and very much worth supporting. I have contributed some (short) articles on the piccolo heckelphone, local search and DIR diving - of course, by now, these have taken on a life of their own.

Hessian - suppressed for decades, the German dialect of Hessian has become fashionable again. If you plan to visit the region between Hessian Siberia (Kassel) and Hessian Kongo (Darmstadt), or for your next stop-over at Frankfurt International Airport, you may want to learn at least the basics of Hessian - this Hessian-English Dictionary will get you started.

Alexander Graham Bell - did not really invent the telephone, Philipp Reiss did, and he also introduced the name "telephone".

Thomas Alva Edison - neither invented nor patented first the light bulb, in fact, light bulbs existed for many decades before Edison patented them in the U.S. (However, Edison did develop the standard E26 fitting that is still widely used today.)

The imperial system - has outlived its usefulness more than a century ago. To see why, just consider the differences between US and imperial measures, such as the fluid ounce and the gallon. (Information on the history of some of the discrepancies between the - abandoned - English system and the US imperial system can be found here - in a nutshell, the British "adapted" an older, French system of weights, while their North American Colonies stuck to the - slightly more regular - original system.) Contrary to widely held beliefs, even the USA has adopted the metric system many decades ago and is using it heavily.

International paper sizes - should really be used by everyone for almost every purpose. In fact, there is an ISO standard, which has been adopted by every country in the world, with the exception of the USA and Canada. (In Mexico and Colombia, the US "letter" format is also still frequently used, although these countries adopted the international standard decades ago.) The standard originated in Germany in 1922 and (perhaps not very surprisingly) is very logically structured; based on an idea proposed almost 150 years earlier by the eminent scientist, Georg Christoph Lichtenberg, the ISO paper sizes, such as A4, have the property that the two halfs obtained by folding or cutting along the middle, have the same aspect ratio as the original sheet. (One sheet of A4 also has a surface area of precisely 1/16th of a square metre.) The excellent Wikipedia article on paper sizes has more information, including the somewhat amusing fact that the traditional size that is closest to the international standard in terms of aspect ratio is called "Super Royal" - perhaps that makes the ISO standard "Hyper Royal" or "Trans-Royal". (Anyone feeling the urge to look at a system even more arcane and fiendishly logic-defiant than imperial units of measurements and US paper sizes will be interested in learning about the way paper weight - i.e., thickness - is measured.)

Decimal time - sometimes also referred to as "metric time", this is an interesting approach to bringing our somewhat dated system for measuring time up to modern standards. While not convinced that it will widely adopted anytime soon, I am a dedicated supporter of decimal time. Some information on decimal time can be found here.

The Grandiloquent Dictionary - is an indespensable resource for those striving to expand their (English) vocabulary. According to some estimates, the English language may have at least half a million words (where the issue of how to count words is not nearly as trivial as one may think), which can be grouped into about 50000 word families (under the exclusion of proper names, etc. - an enlightening discussion of this and related issues, as well as the source of the following statistics can be found here). Of these, the average, university educated native English speaker, appears to know about 20000, about 6000 of which are sufficient for understanding 90% of most written text. So, there may be little formal justifcation for spending time learning new, grandiloquent words, but think of the entertainment value ...

The end of the internet - can be found here.

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© 2004-2008 Holger H. Hoos - last update 2008/12/18