Currently I am at the Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition, held at the Egan Convention Center in Anchorage. I have been here for about 4 days and every day has been a joyful experience. Being a researcher in vision, working on image classification problem, has trained my brain to apply classification in every domain of life, hence my experience at CVPR itself I am classifying into three categories – the experience of being in Alaska, the experience of the conference itself and the experience of meeting people at the conference.
Alaska is a land of big proportions – biggest state, highest peak, gigantic vegetable, largest fishes… What has made a real impact on my experience is the length of a day. Being at Anchorage during the summer solstice means that you practically live in daylight, day and night. The sun sets at around 11:55 pm, thats 5 minutes before midnight and rises at about 4:15 in the morning. Thats 20 hours of sunlight, and 4 hours of twilight. No no-light. It all started with the flight from Phoenix, taking off 15 minutes after sunset, and landing at Anchorage 30 minutes after sunset. The total flight time being six hours. Anchorage in itself is not extraordinarily unique a city, its beautiful, no doubt – surrounded by snow clad mountains on three sides and a river on the fourth. Its pleasant, no doubt – the temperatures ranging between 50-70 F (10-22C), mild sunlight throughout the day. Its tourist friendly, no doubt – scores of activities in and around from biking, hiking, fishing, water sports, food, drinks, shopping etc. Nevertheless it still lacks a cultural heartbeat. You an find Home Depot, JC Penny, Costco, Walmart, Subway and the likes of culture eroders anywhere you go. Hopefully my next week of travel in Alaska would be a more satisfying cultural experience.