ICALP coffee directions

One of the most important tools for surviving a conference is coffee. Strictly speaking it’s caffeine, but that always translates into coffee for mathematicians. This is why conferences usually provide default coffee during breaks. However, default coffee is not good for your stomach/soul/brain so you owe it to yourself to get a good cup of coffee every now and then.

In the US you can always count on Starbucks to get decent coffee, and they seem to be everywhere, but I like going somewhere new for coffee. RANDOM last year was in Princeton, and it didn’t take long to figure out that Small World Coffee was the coffee place of choice. I wished someone had told me beforehand so I wouldn’t have wasted any time. Ideally this should be a part of the conference materials, perhaps even in the call for papers.

Now that ICALP is coming up I thought I’d give detailed directions for good coffee. The conference is in Reykjavík University which happens to be right next to Kringlan shopping center. Kaffitár has a small café inside the shopping center, which serves ridiculously good coffee. To get to the café just enter the shopping center opposite from RU and walk to the opposite end of the mall (don’t worry, it’s a big mall, but not US-big), take the escalator to the first floor and the café is at the bottom of the escalator. Once you’re there you can’t miss it. Te og Kaffi is also in RU, but I’ve never been there and I’m a bigger fan of Kaffitár. In any case you can’t go wrong with either one of these places. They take coffee very seriously, both have had silver medalists in the World Barista Championships, can you see that happening at Starbucks?

First post!

First things first. My name is Páll Melsted,but others will spell my first name as Pall since nobody knows where á is on their keyboard. I’m a math graduate student at CMU and I come from Iceland. When I pronounce my first name (correctly) all I get is a blank stare as if I were speaking Klingon. I guess that’s not so surprising, since the “ll” sound in my name is quite close to the “tˡɬ” sound in Klingon, or so the internet tells me. Come to think of it, Klingon and Icelandic have about the same number of speakers, and certainly more people have heard Klingon spoken so I guess that’s quite natural.

When people ask me what I do, I usually reply “random stuff in random graphs” because (a) it’s funny, (b) an accurate description of what I do. All kidding aside I work in Probabilistic Combinatorics and Theoretical Computer Science, usually average case analysis of graph algorithms and that sort of stuff. For papers and preprints visit my academic site.

Anyway, the idea for this blog is just yet another research blog where I talk about research, things that I find interesting and stuff that’s happening in the research community. In the next week or so I promise to give a detailed description on how to do cool animations with ipe and beamer and tell you where to find good coffee for those of you going to ICALP.