China Trip Nov 2006:3

On a nice day to travel, I took a train from Hangzhou to Shanghai.  Lu Hong had already arranged a ticket.  The trip went very smoothly.  Train stations are clean, modern, well equipped, and as most stations are — crowded.  Ride was smooth and punctual.

Shanghai is true to its image.  It is definitely one of the most impressive cities in the world.  It does not appear from a developing country — it rivals with any city in the world — and is definitely one of the best.  Impressive sky line — the most amazing night skyline (I posted several pictures on Flickr).  Roads appear well planned.  Definiely Bangalore has a loooooong way to go to come even close to Shanghai. 

What impressed me more than Shanghai was the country side that I saw from the train.  Lots of new buildings and well farmed fields.  Very few huts or dilipidated houses.  Good roads.  Clearly China has done remarkable job in building the infrastructure.  In this area, India has a long way to go.  People say that this difference is due to the political systems in the two countries.  I feel that the political system may be a factor, but there is definitely much deeper issues that one needs to consider.

Before going for real sight seeing, I got a chance to meet and listen the research reports from members of Prof. XianYang Xue’s research group at Fudan University.  Fudan is also one of the top university.  Fudan definitely has the tallest tower of any university I have seen.  I heard more machine learning talks than I have ever heard in the meeting.  Definiely one of the strongest effort in machine learning applied to multimedia is going on here.  Very exciting topics.  I was expecting a strong group based on my frind JianPing Fan’s recommendations.  But this was even better.  I did emphasize that one should look into right granularity for learning elements and the alphabet for the photos.  It appears that message was well received.  But due to the polite reverential culture in China, you never know whether they agreed or just don’t want to discuss.

 Some other issues.  Chinese hosting has been remarkable — they did not want me to even worry about my roller bag so a person came to help me in Hangzhou and another was on station in Shanghai.  I feel embarassed, but impressed.  Next, the internet was terrible in the HNA resort in Hangzhou, but is definitely one of the fastest in any hotel in Shanghai — in Crown Plaza in Fudan.  This Crown Plaza was built last year on 100th anniversary of Fudan University in front of the impressive campus — and is one of the best Crown Plaza I have stayed.

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