Play, Act and Learn and Eating, Fun and much more
The last week was very exciting and I don't really know where to begin. I was at the Interdisciplinary College (IK), a spring school with courses from the areas of Artificial Intelligence, Neuro Biology, Psychology, Cognitive Sciences and some other. This year's focus theme was "Play, Act and Learn". The event was placed in the Heinrich-Lübke-Haus in Günne at Lake Möhne.
You could chose from a little bit more than 24 courses. Most of the courses consisted out of four sessions, each with a duration of 90 minutes. Therefore, one could attend about fife courses completely. Typically four courses were in parallel. However, the sessions of some courses were not always in parallel with the same three courses. This made the course selection not very easy. But you could check out also more courses and areas of research. Now I am better informed what you are doing in Computational Neuroscience or in the area of artificial intelligence in computer games. That will help me probably a lot with my decision for a Master program.
One talk which should be mentioned is Entertainment Computing by Don Marinelli. This person should be known by everyone who has seen Randy Pausch's Last Lecture. Actually, he is a drama professor and the course was as expected very entertaining. Anyway, the content was not that much and it was mostly an advertising for his Entertainment Technology Center (ETC).
Another good and funny course was done by Justin London about The Rules of the Game: Cognitive Constraints on Musical Virtuosity and Musical Humor. Unfortunately, I only saw the last session.
Not less important than the courses was the social interaction. Within a few days I got to a whole lot of interesting people. But also got to know some fellow students, with whom I did not had much to do yet, better. It was very interesting to meet many Master and PhD students. You could also talk to most of the speakers. (To exchange some words with Don Marinelli was great!)
There was a whole lot of possibilities to have some fun with the other participants in your free time. For example there was a skittle alley for free use, table tennis tables, a billiard table (however, without the black eight, but with three threes) and a swimming pool that could be used nearly at every time. Some of the participants played each night water ball. The bar where a bottle of beer costs just an Euro was also often frequently visited. The only disadvantage was that this resulted in few hours of sleep. But sleeping can be done after the IK! (If you are really to tired just skip the breakfast and the first course in the morning.)
Not to forget the food: This was not just incredible, but also very rich. There were practically three meals each day: It began with breakfast, followed by a coffee break after the first talk, continued with the lunch, another break with cake and ended with dinner for the time being. Some hours after the dinner they served some snacks in the bar.
Accordingly, the suprise dinner was very good at Tuesday. There you could wear fine clothes. Anyways, the width of closing styles was that wide (from a simple t-shirt to a suit) that you could hardly be over or under dressed. Afterward we were presented a colorful program with music, an impressive juggling performance by twins and several other performances. The Power Point karaoke, where lecturers had to do talks to unknown slides without preparation, was very funny as well.
Probably I did not mention quite all of the stuff I could tell about the IK2010. Nevertheless, I hope I gave some impressions. I had a lot of fun and will come back in the next year if it is somehow possible. The focus theme will than be "Decisions, Consciousness and Free Will".