Thursday, July 31, 2003

Got back yesterday after a three day sojourn in Columbus. It was a rough three days, but it was nice to take a break off from the life at Athens. The occasion was GT/CM 2003, a conference that brought together the brightest minds of the cellular manufacturing world. My advisor was organizing the whole thing and we were in strength to give him support. An additional duty was to give a presentation of my work towards my thesis, which is also in cellular manufacturing. That went on well, but there were hiccups elsewhere, which fortunately did not really affect anything for the worse.

On Monday, which was the first day, I spent close to three quarters of an hour trying to get the LCD projector and a laptop hooked together. Did all sorts of things including the “Fn-F8” method, which usually accomplishes just what I wanted in a jiffy. But that was not to happen. Then this jerk comes in and changes the situation and leaves with a “that is why you need a expert” look on his face”. Zip it buddy. From then on, it was smooth sailing, only that the jerk kept popping in with his “smart ass” comments and threatened to change my demeanor. However I managed to keep my pleasant profile throughout those three days. Well, not exactly, but by the time I lost a bit of it, the conference was already over and we were due to check out of the hotel. Tuesday night was a good time. We had dinner at the Annapoorna, which is this small restaurant at this mall on the Dublin-Granville Road in Columbus. Nice place, which more or less compensates for its lack of atmosphere with this awesome chat buffet. Dr.Masel warmed our hearts by making it there to Annapurna and having one single pani puri and a gulab jamun (having had a full dinner with the other brains at the Marriot). Awww... we dont have any pics together with Dr.Masel. We were back home by Wednesday afternoon.

But the highlight of the whole trip was my meeting the god himself – Dr.J.T.Black. For all those of you who have a degree in Mechanical Engineering coupled with interest in cellular manufacturing and concepts like JIT will identify the man as the guru that he is in these concepts. Spent a couple of minutes interacting with him and came back enriched. I missed his tutorial though, due to organizational duties that kept me confined to one hall and also due to the fact that my presentation was also scheduled almost at the same time. Also met a couple of other people who I have just heard spoken about with respect – Dr.Wemmerlov, Dr.Dagli, Dr.Askin and Dr.Suresh. These are experiences I will cherish. I also met Dr.G.Srinivasan from the IIT in Chennai (which happens to be my hometown). He was visibly pleased to meet someone who spoke the same tongue as him, though I have to apologize for having been the cause (though not by myself, alone) of him having to miss part of the concluding panel discussion (see pic here).

As for my presentation, it went on really well. The session started with very few people in the audience. A couple of friends made it there to give me support and also to ask a few questions (or so they threatened). But by the time I made it to the podium, the hall was more than half full with some people whom I really feared taking their seats. My advisor was there too. I was not too worried about the how I did, but was dreading the questions that might follow. There was just one question and it came just from the man whom I did not even notice – Dr.Dagli who was one of my advisor’s gurus. I fumbled a bit, but then he got his answer and a smile came to his lips. Then I knew I was ok. He had some good words too and that made my day. The session chair had a couple of suggestions that might change the course of my thesis. I am on a “wait and watch” mode now.

As for other things, the OUCC lost their match against Lexington. But we came out with our heads held high. The two Hammads made half centuries but the OUCC gave Lexington their best fight so far. The winning margin was just 15 runs, which is exemplary considering the fact that Lexington had made 285. This was the closest margin of victory for Lexington. Their other victories had all been a matter of more than 75 runs. Hats off to all the batsmen and Sriram (lol) too for his six Lexington wickets. A home game against UKCC beckons this weekend, but a blaze of injury problems threaten our prospects. But if a team is strong enough that someone of my caliber sits out, then the team is in good hands. Like I have said many a time, my ego drives me ;)

Verse of the Day

A professor named Black in his prime
Worked in manufacturing systems design
On cells, he was keen,
In factories quite lean,
Where all the parts came Just In Time.

(Dr. J. T. Black, And The World Came To See: New Manufacturing Systems Design and Industrial Revolutions.)

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