Friday, February 28, 2014

Venice 2.5 - a year-long celebration

When I started the Venice Project Center (VPC) in 1988, I was barely older than the students.  I was a peer, before I became an uncle, before I became a father figure.
My students are now younger than Nick, my son, who just turned 23.  As we say in Venice: "a lot of water has run under the bridges" since the birth of the VPC.
The age-gap between my students and me has grown quite a bit since then, as a steady stream of over 650, perpetually 20-year-old, WPI students have unwittingly watched me age to the same middle-aged man as my dad seemed to me, back in1988.  A quarter of a century has transpired between the first image and second one in this post.
My dad (Cino) was about as old as I am now when I started the VPC, and on this 25th anniversary year, he turned 79 the day the seven student teams presented their final results.  It was quite a show!
The anniversary only started this year, though, and it will aptly end on Cino's eightieth birthday in 2014, when we hope to round up the silver jubilee by publishing a collection of our answers 25 Questions that people may have about Venice and its Lagoon.
The Jubilee year has started with a bang with the 2013 fall program (WPI's term B13).We had a very talented group of students and they did a marvelous job of summarizing and visualizing 25 years of research.  The results they produced are really impressive -- if I may say so myself -- and are all on display in the revamped Venice 2.5 web site.  I summarized the 25th Anniversary results (thus far) in a presentation I recently gave at WPI.  There is a hidden side to what we did that I exposed in that presentation.  A technology that is my personal holy grail...
I promise I will gradually write a blog post about each of the extraordinary achievements of this year's cohort of WPI students.  They each deserve a custom-tailored kudos.
Given the great start of the Anniversary, it will be a tall task to top this year's quality of outcomes, yet we will try to outdo ourselves next fall (as always), so we can end this year of celebration with an even bigger bang.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Annual Report 2013

Well, another (Chinese) year has passed and lots has happened in-between my sparse posts.  The WPI Annual Faculty report was due January 31, on Nick's 23rd birthday, which happened to also be Chinese New Year (of the Horse).
Despite an innate aversion for form-filling, I find this yearly WPI ritual quite useful.  It forces me to take stock of one year's worth of academic and professional activities.  I resist doing it until it's almost due, but in the end it is rather satisfying...  It's like a compendium of blog entries, only more focused.
So, looking back at the entirety of 2013, here are the highlights:
Amidst all that, I was able to visit two of the trifecta of James Turrell exhibits (in NYC and Houston).  One of the highlights of my year was a 4-day cul(ture)inary outing to Verona, Mantua, Parma and Modena with my good friends Chrys Demetry and Rick Vaz, who very recently tied the knot and became officially married.  Congratulations!

Over all, despite all the adversities that life can bestow upon you, I managed to make the best of my past year.  Things are looking up, after the amazing work that was done at for the Venice Project Center's 25th anniversary, that I just summarized in a presentation at WPI last Thursday.  

My personal life is also slowly improving.  Nick is getting motivated...  Change is in the air.
2013 was a better year than I had made it out to be, however I am confident this coming year will be even better...

Enjoy 2014, the year of the Horse!