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The great writer of our lifetime passed away. I was aware about his illness and ongoing treatment at Mexico city.  Yet, the news of his death brings in a cold wave splashing through my mind.  Sadly the end came all too sudden, especially that he had looked jovial last month on his birthday, when he turned 87. What an incredible literary giant Gabriel Marquez has been. With his death, a huge void will remain unfilled.  The surreal touch of his pen in bringing life, social culture, colors, politics, revolutionary romanticism and then beautifully transform all of them to our minds, at mythical proportions is something Marquez-sh. It was a privilege to share a timeline, albeit brief with this colossal literary figure. The Latin American writers always had a special place in my heart, the reasons are many. Marquez surely tops that line with Neruda and perhaps Miguel_de_Cervantes among the pantheons. RIP Gabo. We will miss you, but your memories and work will stay timeless.

Sadly, the journalist Anthony Shadid passed away all too sudden. It brought a bit of sudden stress on me, not because I know him anything beyond through his columns, but his very vey recent interview on NPR/KPBS radio is still reverberating in my ear and the death has become all too soon to cope with. A fantastic journalist as he always has been, he was often beyond that and largely the window of the middle east to the world, for sure to me. Through his reporting, I still feel as though I knew him very personally. His reflection from Libya, in spite of the horror he had to go through during the dictatorship has always been remarkable.

Now when I start my car to work, when the San Diego FM radio KPBS kicks on, the Terry Gross interview with Shadid on Fresh Air is still ringing. Boy, he was talking about tracing his ancestral village in Lebanon and so on. My mind transcend quickly to my mothers ancestral village in the serene riverside in Kerala. Rest in piece Shadid. Thanks for the sacrifices in reporting the middle east woes and sharing their pain.

I’ve stumbled upon to this nice article (titled Principles of Effective Research) (I saw it through Mahdi’s  blog) by Michael Nielson (yes, the same Nielson who is known for his work on Quantum computation: the author of the popular (technical) book Quantum computation and quantum information). Even though, the title states “effective research”, I thought the underlying methods are applicable to any work, not merely research work. If you trust my word, then many of the points jotted down by Nielson applies well to life and work in general. It appears that he is writing a book on “The future of science“. I am looking forward to that too!

I have been posting my random thoughts, somewhat on irregular terms at Ratna’s ergodic view. The way I was led to this new blogging door is motivated by Compressed sensing. Well, I must not mislead anyone. I have heard about compressed sensing as an active research area, but today’s talk by Martin Wainwright on Statistical estimation in high-dimensional settings: Practical and information-theoretic limits in a way did more help than expected. It was indeed a very very motivating talk. My professor Rudiger Urbanke had earlier suggested to attend this talk and had promised it to be a remarkable one. Martin proved him dead right. Well, that is not the point. During the talk Martin touched upon examples and possible applications of estimations in high dimensional settings in compressed sensing. He described the compressed sensing problem in a simple setting. In all, the talk triggered me to study what is this subject of research namely, compressed sensing. First thing we must do is google for compressed sensing. It leads to the obvious pages. The IEEE signal processing magazine had a small tutorial paper published in 2007 July edition. It was quite an easy read which gave me a good idea on this topic. Then I chanced upon seeing the blog of Professor Terence Tao. Incredible timing and I am so glad that this visit had two immediate effects. First I am heaven pleased with his humbleness to share his thoughts to the world, in spite of being busy with his work and research. In this blog entry I came across, he describe the problem of compressed sensing with a very very simple example. He has not only presented it well for the target audience, but also gave it in a very very motivating manner to aid the interested audience to explore further. To be very honest, I did not expect a Fields medalist to spare his valuable time to help a larger audience by writing about a subject which is not easy to understand. His lucid presentation style is indeed a lesson I like to take as valuable note when writing articles.

In his blog Terence talks about a whole lot of things and I would very very highly recommend anyone, especially students and folks who are eager to learn just about anything. In one blog, he writes about the importance of writing down just about anything we learn, doest matter whether it is a simple thing you understood or a part of proof gathered. I have been following this method for a while and I found it amazingly useful as well. Well, I have decided to strictly enforce this on a more regular term.

Just aside, the beautiful thing about blogging in wordpress is its simplicity to incorporate mathematical expressions (Latex style editing is simple awesome). I have been searching for a simple way and here is the way. I am glad. Say for example this is \int_{0}^{\infty} \frac{1}{\alpha+x} dx pretty. I am going to enjoy this:-)

I promise to write more about compressed sensing (and about several other things as I always) in future blogs. For now, this much is good enough for a first blog!


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