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Anas Salah Eddin :: Blog

August 14, 2011

Next week will be my last in Montréal. My short project was about improving brain masking using an AdaBoost classifier. The time needed to train the classifier has been growing exponentially along with its features. When I first started, one iteration lasted for almost a minute, now an iteration can take up to almost four minutes! Unfortunately, adding more features turned out to be unnecessary because it reduced the classifier performance. I came to this conclusion after running several training jobs, the last of which took almost 35 hours (500 iterations, approximately 4 minutes each).

For my last week, I will be working on finalizing the reduced features scripts so that the group can use them in their pipelines. 

Nothing new or interesting for this weekend, I just took a walk around the old port, just like I did the for the first weekend... 


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August 07, 2011

The vibrant mix of cultures in Montréal brings with it a very interesting food culture. You can basically have a good dish from any of these cultures. Of course I had to try the local dish of Montréal called "Putine", which is French fries (obviously) with cheese and gravy on top, or in short heart attack on a plate :P... Having said that, I had to try one from my own culture so I went and tried several and ended with a good Lebanese Shawrma place that makes really good Shawrma! The place even delivers up until 4:00 AM (yes AM!!) almost like home J 

Anyway, after the good meal I was on my way back home, and as usual, I had to stop and check one of the festivals on the way, this time it was the "Fashion & Mode Montréal", the festival was in the middle of the week, the middle of the street and right in the middle of tens or maybe hundreds of spectators. One of the shows was a very artistic one that had Techno music combined with Opera and Classical music, in addition to the Models! Just the perfect combination.




This weekend, one of the Phd students in the lab suggested that we go and check Montréal's botanical garden "Jardin Botanique de Montréal", one of the largest in the world. Knowing the harsh winter weather of the city, I was impressed with the number of plants they could grow, visiting the garden during the best season probably added to the amusement, here are some pictures:




Keywords: Botanical Gardent, Fashion & Mode Montréal, Putine

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July 31, 2011

Montréal is a relatively compact city, it's amazing how much you can see and do in a short time. Every weekend part of the downtown area is closed for a different festival, the most prominent of which is the "Just for Laughs" one. Luckily these festivals are as close as 2 minutes walking from where I am staying!

Yet, there are more things to do in Montréal than just these festivals. This weekend, one of the PhD students in the lab and I decided to bike around the old port. Renting bikes in Montréal is so convenient, bike stations are all over the city, you can take a bike from one station and return it to another, it's free for the first 30 minutes or you can have it for the whole day for $5! Having explained how easy renting a bike might be, riding one is a whole different story :), especially if you haven't done so in years. Luckily Montréal has dedicated bike lanes that made it easier for me to repractice.

After biking around the old port we went to see the final day of the international firework competition, which was called "Attribute to the Beatles", a lovely 30 minutes firework show synchronized with some very famous Beatles songs.


 The next day, I decided to go and check Montréal from above, here is a sample of what I saw from the tower in the Olympic Park:




After taking some pictures I went to a near by Biodóme, lots of kids but it was worth it :) we are all big kids after all.



I thought that my day will end by going back home to eat and write this blog but it didn't :) A friend of mine called me and said let's go and check Mont Royal (the royal mountain and hence Montréal). About 40 minutes inclined walk that is totally worth it. Again here is Montréal from above from a different angle and time of the day:



Keywords: Biodome, Mont Royal, Montreal Tower

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July 24, 2011

Everyone says "Canada is too cold!", well, my first week in Montreal was NOT COLD at all. Buildings are well designed to keep the heat in, and of course with no AC (who needs it, it's too cold in Canada after all). After boiling for the first 3 nights I figured out that I can actually rent a fan (air circulator as they call it here) for CA $1 a day. This was really helpful.
This weekend I decided to go and check Montreal's old downtown, a lot of the buildings are stone built and it feels out of North America, I guess it's the French effect on the city.
Anyway, I found a nice fountain and thought that it might be a bit cooler next to it. The very first thing I saw next to the fountain was a ”No Swimming" sign which I thought is a bit weird (for Canada)! However, a minute later I saw people getting very close to the water and filling out some colorful (colourful in Canada) containers. Some guy came and said something in French and he blew the trumpet as a sign to start a fight. At this point I saw what these colorful containers were :) They were water cannons, and these people were in a water fight :)
I guess Canadians are law abiding citizens, they couldn't swim in the fountain so they figured out why not take the water out of the fountain and soak ourselves in a fun way!


Keywords: Fountain, Heat Wave, Montreal

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