Friday, June 26, 2009

[research] We're hiring PhDs!

I am looking for a PhD student, starting around next September (2009) at INRIA Nancy on this topic . The profile is a student with a master degree, a strong background in Computer Graphics, familiar with Graphics APIs (OpenGL and/or DirectX) and image processing. Optionally, a background in machine learning would be appreciated. But, most importantly, I am looking for someone with a strong motivation to learn new things and explore novel ideas and algorithms. Is that you? Then contact me!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

[various] 1 dollar = 2 euros

We all know pricing policies do not exaclty match the globalization trend. But sometimes it becomes so ridiculous that it is worth noting.

I need a new keyboard, and I need it to be a QWERTY keyboard (here shops sell AZERTY keyboards which is not great for coding - I am in fact using a QWERTY layout on an AZERTY keyboard ... confusing!). I was shoping for books on Amazon US, and decided to have a look. I found the 'Logitech Illuminated Keyboard' to my taste. At this date it is 66.48$. Here I am, checking out, when suddenly the killer message pops up 'This item doesn't ship to your country'. Well, no big deal, let's check out Bad news: 1) AZERTY only 2) out of stock 3) 87,89 euros! That's only ... wait ... 122.852$ !!! (today's rate). On Logitech website it is even better: The keyboard (QWERTY version) sells 94.99 euros, or 132.7$.
Yes, that's twice more. Pretty nice huh? (I am assuming Logitech is preventing amazon from shipping - this is more or less what is implied by Amazon as the reason for not shipping. EDIT: Apparently none of the keyboards on Amazon ship to Europe! I'll have to stick with my AZERTY for a little longer)

[code] The library watch

"There are no bad tools, there are only bad workers" Well, there may be some truth to this, but surely good tools cannot hurt! Any skilled programmer has a few libraries up his sleeve, ready to be launched after some nasty problems lurking at him.

In fact, I find libraries to be an essential tool for a researcher in a hurry to prototype ideas - which often involves solving non-trivial sub-problems. So, what libraries are you using in your every day endeavors?
Here are my favorites (I'll skip the basics such as libpng, zlib, etc.):

  • Loki - the libary that made me realize what templates are for. Andrei Alexandrescu's book is a must read!
  • TAUCS - linear solver for sparse matrices
  • ANN - approximate neighbor search
  • AntTweakBar - GL/D3D gui, simple, clean and powerful
  • LUA - scripting, very easy to integrate
  • tolua++ - makes lua even easier to integrate with c++
  • TClap - command line parameters, template based
  • ODE - physics
  • Bullet - physics
  • fftw - fast Fourier transforms
  • SDL / SDL_net - media library. I essentially use it for multiplatform threads and networking. A bit old-school but still very effective.

Now, some libraries I am planning on using much more regularly:

  • Boost - how could I live without it! (the answer is Loki+Tclap+SDL+home-grown-stuff ;-) but of course Boost is a must-use)
  • SQlite - SQL database in a local file (no server, no config, all is done from your application). Thanks to Anteru for pointing this one out!