[Computational Complexity] Memories of 9/11
We all have 9/11 stories, here's mine, more of a 9/12 story.
Prelude. I was packing up my hotel room in Würzburg after the 1993 STACS conference. I flipped on the TV, the hotel only had German stations, and saw police and fire engines around the World Trade Center and caught the word "explosion". It wasn't until I reached the airport later that day that I learned the towers suffered no significant damage.
In 2001 I worked for the NEC Research Institute in New Jersey. In September I attended the first EQIS workshop in Tokyo and the following week visited the quantum computing group near the University of Tokyo. On the 11th I took a day trip to visit the quantum computing group at the NEC Lab in Tsukuba. The first plane hit the towers at 9:45 PM Japan time after I had returned to Tokyo and I went to bed that night unaware of the events unfolding back in the states. I learned the news when I booted up my laptop the following morning. I then turned on the Japanese TV (I never get CNN when I really need it) and saw the shocking images all at once.
Tokyo had a normal day on September 12 when I wanted to world to stop. I was the only remaining American visiting the group and I felt quite alone. During lunch one of the non-Japanese asked what America had done to deserve this. I almost slugged him.
I gave a talk as scheduled in the afternoon still in quite a daze. That night I insisted on doing something completely mindless and the Japanese complied, taking me to a small Karaoke bar.
I returned to the states on the 16th, three days later than my original schedule. As the plane approached Newark I had a clear view of Southern Manhattan and saw a plume of smoke still arising from where the World Trade Center had stood. The America I was returning too was vastly different from the one I had left two weeks earlier.
As many of you know we lost a member of our community that fateful day, Danny Lewin, an MIT graduate student and co-founder of Akamai. The STOC best student paper award now bears his name.
Posted by Lance to Computational Complexity at 9/11/2006 06:19:00 AM