Monday, July 14, 2008

Perimeter Institute - Waterloo - 3

My short stint at the Perimeter Institute is finally coming to an end. I will be leaving for Los Angeles tomorrow evening. I still have a day and a half left to enjoy the good weather and charms of this sleepy town.

I met up with Marcus Appleby at PI on Saturday afternoon. He had promised to explain me the connection between SIC-POVMs (Symmetric Informationally Complete - Positive Operator-Valued Measures) and the extended Clifford group. He and his wife both joined me in my office and we spent all of Saturday learning about this stuff. I liked his presentation and I quite enjoyed learning about this area since it has quantum mechanics, group theory and a bit of number theory and I enjoy reading and thinking about all three fields. Along the way we shared some stories and had a few laughs. It rained here a couple of days ago and one of the things that I found out about this sixty million dollar building is that the roof leaks in several places. The lobby was checkered with buckets and so were the second and third floors. I wonder if PI realizes that they have a huge liability on their hands. I found puddles of water on the stairs and that's an accident waiting to happen. I really think that they need to tear down the roof and start anew since they have been trying to patch up the leaky spots on the roof for quite some time now without an positive results.

Toward evening, I called up Sundance and I ended going with him and Philip Goyal to a local Indian restaurant on King Street called "Masala Bay". I must admit that I have rarely, rarely ever had such delicious food at an Indian restaurant in Los Angeles. King street is a short walk from PI and by the time we got to Masala Bay it was around seven in the evening. It was a bit cloudy, but there was very little humidity. Because of a gentle breeze that was blowing constantly in the evening and the nice weather we decided to sit outside on the patio which by the way is quite spacious. In my opinion the best way to enjoy Indian food is when you have three or more people so that you can treat your palate to a variety of flavors. I ordered the "Murg Tikka Makhani" which was essentially boneless pieces of chicken cooked in a mild, buttery sauce. Along with that I ordered some plain basmati rice and "naan bread." Sundance ordered the "Kerala Fish Curry", and the "Subj Diwani Handi" along with some saffron basmati rice. The "Subj Diwani Handi" was essentially a mixture of different vegetables and it went really well with the rice and the naan. Philip got an order of "Saag" and the "Machi Afgani", i.e. "Fish Afghani." The food came in these tasteful and cute copper bowl with copper ladels - very traditional and I quite liked the presentation. Now this was real Indian food. Not the mild, bland, Americanized stuff that one is usually tormented by in Indian restaurant around Los Angeles. So if you are in Waterloo, looking for some excellent ethnic food, I highly, highly recommend Masala Bay. The service is excellent, and the food is delicious. It may be a bit pricey, but the quality speaks for itself.

I woke up late on Sunday and headed to Cafe 1842 for some breakfast. I liked the ambiance and the food was quite good. I ordered an omelet, but then again there aren't that many ways in which one can make a mess out of an omelet. The weather was so gorgeous that I decided to take a walk around Silver Lake. This is the lake which is right next to PI. The lake is also part of Waterloo Park which I found out also has a small zoo. There are cages for Llamas, peacocks, ponies, and pheasants. The park was full of families and the children were all having a ball interacting with the animals. There's an old railway track that divides the park into two. On the east side you have Waterloo Park and on the west Centenial Park. I wanted a little peace, quiet and solitude so I headed to the latter. I walked for an hour in the park and then rested under the shade of a pine tree. The whole park is lush green with maple, pine and fir trees. I actually fell asleep for an hour. I woke up around five and then explored the park a bit more. The park has a couple of soccer fields and I ended up watching a game being played by a group of people from the Middle-East (Saudi Arabia, I am guessing) who were there for a picnic with their families.

I think it was a weekend well spent. Today I have been mostly typing up some notes on process tomography, reading a paper by Chris Fuchs and filling out an expense report form that I have to hand in to the PI folks before I leave for Los Angeles tomorrow.

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