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Solitude and productivity October 10, 2006

Posted by dorigo in chess, computers, personal.
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I am experiencing an outburst of productivity these days. Strangely, I suddenly find time to write code again, after a long hiatus. Basically this is the first time I write serious code since last April, when I last wrote a set of root macros to study the resolution of jets in the CMS simulation, and from it to derive a way to create QCD background events containing large missing transverse energy due to detector resolution effects (I talked about this fancy idea somewhere below a month ago).

So, what have I done in the meantime ? Apart from blogging, obviously.

The fact is, I had three graduations in a row, which for some reason kept me distracted and void of stimuli to just get into my own shell and produce lines of code.

It is incredible how much I found out I am affected by interruptions and distractions. Even a student entering my office to ask me the most trivial of things will get my mind off a given problem, and getting back to it will be then hindered by remembering about that email I have to write, that phone call, etcetera.

The funny thing is, I think the trigger of my restarted productivity was not the decreased amount of interaction with students, but the absence of Giovanni, with which I have shared an office during the last four years. Giovanni has been elected Director of the Physics Department, and is now occupying the Director’s office. So I am alone now.

Giovanni has never caused distraction to me – he is extremely good-mannered, he is not noisy, does not spend his time on the phone, and has always been careful to avoid distracting me if he thought I was intent in something (I think he would not be able to say the same of me). But he has always been very popular, and always has people visiting him. That, to some extent, seems to have been a perturbation of my very fragile concentration at times.

Now, all this is over -for at least three more years, the length of the Director’s mandate. And I feel surprisingly inspired. Today I was able to put together a method to compute the bias of the kinematic selection to the background model we use for fitting the Z–>bb signal in CDF data, and follow in the meantime with my chess co-processor (I think it’s located behind my left ear) the 11th game of the Chess World Championship.

Tonight I feel quite well. I spent an hour playing the third movement of Beethoven’s Appassionata. Everything looks easy again… Surprising how a productive day at work puts you in the best of moods.

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