I came up with a very neat idea of a new all-hexahedral mesh
generation technique, which is my primary research topic. I was
initially skeptical about practical quality of the new method, but when
I implemented it, I realized it can achieve practical quality, and it
can be the world first fully-automated all-hexahedral mesh generator
that can deal with any thin-walled solid and can achieve practical mesh
quality. If you are interested, I have uploaded a PDF of my paper
my publications list.
I quickly wrote a provisional patent and submitted a paper to the
conference called International Meshing Roundtable. I had never
been this confident before and had absolutely zero doubt about the
acceptance. So it was accepted. And I earned a free trip to
Paris to attend the conference. My airplane and hotel fee was paid
from the research account. I paid for my wife's airline ticket and
made it a cheap vacation.
If you think about France, probably what comes to your mind first
is a Rafale fighter or a Mirage 2000 fighter. Or, the Airbus
industry may come to your mind first. (Is there any disagreement?)
To me, France is a country of Concorde along with United Kingdom.
I wish I had enough time to visit Toulouse, where Airbus is based, but I
had only a few days and could not afford it. Instead, according to
my search, Museum of Air and
Space at Le Bourget has a Concorde and is close enough from Paris.
I really looked forward to seeing another Air France Concorde there.
10/22 (Sat). Left Pittsburgh. Believe or not,
there is a direct flight to Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG) from
Pittsburgh International (PIT). Pittsburgh International is said
to be an international airport, but most of the international flights
are to and from Canada. Its immigration and custom facilities are
not utilized often. I never imagined I could fly directly to Paris
from here. And, the flight leaves such a nice time, 6pm. In
most cases, wherever I go, I need to catch a 7am flight. To get
there 2 hours before, I need to wake up at 4am and leave my apartment at
4:30am. Then I can get there by 5am. To me, Pittsburgh
International has been an inhumane airport. I was using it simply
I had no choice. To me, this Paris flight sounded too good to be
true. But, it was true.
But, Delta Airlines' Boeing 757 was uncomfortable. I tried
hard but I couldn't tilt the seat back. I had to sleep with seat
back upright position in an overnight flight. What a torture!
Their maintenance level must be no much different from
PFTC. They don't make a
fatal maintenance error. But, they don't care passenger comfort
10/23 (Sun). Arrived at Paris early morning (8am).
We purchased a Museum Pass at the airport. This pass allowed me to
go into popular museums without standing in a ticket line.
Especially good to go to Louvre and Orsay museums, where a very looooong
ticket line is formed. On the way from CDG to the hotel, the taxi
passed right next to an Air France Concorde, F-BVFF, which is now
guarding the perimeter of CDG Unfortunately I could not take a
good picture of it. The hotel was near the famous Notre-Dame
cathedral. After dropping the luggage at hotel, we went for a
sight-seeing. We reached Seine river in three minutes from the
hotel. From there, Notre-Dame cathedral was just one block away.
Nortre-Dame Cathedral. I need to be careful not
to misspell the second word.
We then walked along the river toward Orsay museum. I had a
museum pass good for two days from the first day of using. But,
since I had to be in a conference for Monday through Wednesday, my plan
was to use it on Wed and Thr. And, according to the tourist
information center, Orsay museum was free on this day. When we
passed near the Louvre museum, mysterious children surrounded us and
asked to sign a petition for something I didn't understand. I
immediately suspected these kids are coming to my wallet. But, my
bag was guarded with a U-lock, and I was tying it with a string to my
belt. My wallet was well armed. However, they put their hand
on my iPod touch. I shouted at them and they retreated. Had
they tried to grab my iPod touch, I could have returned fire.
Cowardly criminals they are.
Louvre museum across the Saine river.
We arrived at Orsay museum only to find the museum was closed due
to employee strike. We changed the destination to Eiffel tower.
It was just one station away by Metro. Eiffel tower was huge.
I wanted to go up, but gave up because of loooong line for the elevator.
Orsay museum was closed due to employee strike.
We came to Eiffel tower instead.
Then we came back to the hotel and registered for the conference.
I was annoyed by the mistake on the conference program. Someone
else's name was on the place where my name was supposed to be.
Career of a researcher is evaluated by the papers. But, this
program appeared as if my work was done by someone else. There was
no error in the conference proceedings. So, it was not a critical
error. But it still made me uneasy.
After having dinner, I had to search some stuffs on Google.
But, no matter what I did, my Firefox wanted to go to www.google.co.fr,
and didn't let me use www.google.com. The problem of google.fr was
French web sites tended to be shown before English web sites. I
really wanted to search by English. My solution was going to
www.google.co.uk . This worked.
10/24 (Mon). I sent my wife to Notre-Dame cathedral in
the morning. Then I parted and came back to the conference, and
she went to Louvre museum. I had to present my poster in the
poster session and my paper in the last session of the day. In
fact I like to talk in front of a big audience. Especially, this
time I was confident in the content. I enjoyed presenting my work.
Nortre-Dame cathedral from closer proximity.
My wife came back utterly exhausted. She tried to see major
objects in the Louvre museum and ended up with walking very long
distance. It's a typical museum fatigue. When you are
walking at a constant speed, you can walk long distance without getting
too tired. But, if you walk, stop, watch, and walk to the next
object, you repeat acceleration and deceleration. You will get
tired quickly. You can see the same thing in your car. While
you are driving on a highway, you don't have to change speed much.
That's why you get a better fuel mileage. If you are driving in a
city, you stop at a traffic light or a stop sign, and move again, and
stop again, and so on. You will have much worse fuel mileage in a
city. It's the same thing for a human.
During my presentation.
Nonetheless, she made to famous Mona Lisa. According to her,
there was a pile of people who were trying to get closer to the picture.
She courageously dived into the crowed and got some pictures. All
of them were shaky and indicating a heavy competition over the vantage
point in front of Mona Lisa. I still don't understand why that
picture attracts that much interest. Isn't it just one of nice
10/25 (Tue). I skipped some sessions and visited the
museum of modern art. My wife was supposed to go together, but due
to museum fatigue, she stayed in hotel during the day. After the
museum, we walked through Champs Elysees street. I stopped by a
store called FNAC. It's just like Best Buy in the U.S. and sells
laptops, CDs, DVDs, Apple products, appliances, etc. Everything
looked familiar except that everything were all in French. It
gives a feeling as if I came to a different world. I had a similar
feeling when I moved to the U.S. from Japan. We then walked all
the way to Arch of Triumph and then came back by Metro.
Museum of modern art.
At night, we went for a conference banquet dinner cruise on Saine
river. Since I graduated from Carnegie Mellon, I always love free
food, although this was included in the registration fee, which was paid
from the research fund. I'm not paying. My wife also enjoyed
the cruise. I paid for her from my pocket. The food was very
nice. When I served as a committee of this conference, we had to
cut down things due to tight budget. Especially I wanted to have
the banquet at Carnegie Mellon, but to get discount hotel price, we had
to do it at the conference hotel. I hope this conference keeps
this level of nice food for the coming years.
Arch of Triumph.
Eiffel tower from the cruise boat.
10/26 (Wed). Finally, we visited the
Museum of Air and Space at
Le Bourget airport. We took RER train from St-Michel Nortre-Dame
toward Charles de Gaulle airport. Le Bourget was the fifth stop.
That was my intention. But, the train we took apparently was an
express train and skipped Le Bourget. We ended up at Aulnay sous-Bois.
We had no idea what "express" is called in French. We were able to
decrypt French messages and was able to get on the local train to the
other direction that took us to Le Bourget. Then we took bus #152
to the museum. We almost got off one stop before the museum since
the bus came to the edge of the Le Bourget airport, but the bus driver
was kind and told us where to get off. The nearest bus stop was
right in front of the museum.
I hoped we could skip the ticket line with our museum pass, but we
had to stand in line. Only two employees were dealing with a long
line. It took 10 minutes or so to enter the museum. We then
headed straight to Concorde hangar. This museum has two Concordes.
One used by Air France, and the other used for pre-production
experiment. The beautiful airplane they are. I have no doubt
that Concorde is the most beautiful airplane that has ever been built.
I have no feeling about Mona Lisa, but Concorde impresses me more than
Gate of the Museum of Air and Space
At the museum entrance.
Oh, poor Concorde. It should still be able to fly at Mach 2 over
Atlantic. I wish someone restores one or two of them and keep them
flying in the future. For that purpose, all of the Concorde must
be kept in good condition. The Concorde kept in this museum looked
in a very good condition. Much better than the one at Intrepid Air
and Space museum. Maybe it is not possible to make it flyable with
fully loaded passengers any more. Maybe it will not fly at Mach 2
any more. But, I believe it is possible to restore it to the state
in which it can fly for commemorative flights. The landings of Concordes I saw at Heathrow was more graceful than any other landings I
had ever seen.
Air France Concorde! What a beautiful airplane!
The other side is an pre-production experimental version of Concorde.
Its signature point nose.
Tail number F-BTSD. Sierra Delta.
One of the thrust reverser was deployed.
Some kind of drain? near the exhaust.
You can enter the pre-production plane from its tail
Signature of pre-production Concorde. A mach
meter that can measure up to 2.0+ mach.
Pre-production model cockpit.
Commercial model cockpit.
Nose of the pre-production model.
Tail number of the pre-production model. F-WTSS.
Main landing gears.
In the same hanger, they were keeping Mirage IV. Outside the
hanger were French primary air-superiority fighter Rafale, and previous
air-superiority fighter Mirage 2000 (although it was labeld as Mirage
4000, I never knew Mirage 4000 existed), and former Swedish primary
fighter Viggen. Since they were kept between hangars the sun was
blocked by the building. I couldn't get crisp pictures.
Probably if I come in summer, the sun is high enough to shine between
the buildings. They also had other airplanes that I cannot see in
the U.S. very often including German Air Force F-104 Starfighter, DC-8,
Boeing 747 that was used by Air France. Although I couldn't come
close, I saw Mig-23 and Mig-21 parked outside the museum. My
primary purpose of visiting was seeing Concordes. I achieved my
So long, Concorde. I'll come back to see you!
French primary jet fighter, Rafale.
Mirage 2000. (4000?)
SAAB Viggen. Swedish air force.
Luftwaffe F-104 Starfighter.
I thought it was B707, but it actually was DC-8.
Cockpit of B747.
Since it is air and SPACE museum there were a lot of
rockets as well.
I bought a sectional chart for my souvenir.
I bought a sectional chart around Paris for my souvenir. Now
I am ready to fly there. Only a tiny problem is how to get fuel
for Cessna in the middle of Atlantic ocean.
Then we came back to Chatlet (one stop before St-Michel Nortre-Dame)
by RER and changed to Metro and came to Tuileries. We wanted to go
to a famous cafe called Angelina just one block away from the Metro
station. Honestly cakes I can buy in the U.S. are too sweet.
All the cakes taste the same. I feel as if I were eating a chunk
of sugar. This cafe outside Tuileries is famous for a cake called
Mont Blanc. It is made of chestnut cream, which gives its
signature flavor. It's not too sweet. Just right amount of
sweetness. It tastes great with a cup of coffee. But, if I
want to eat it in the U.S., the closest place from Pittsburgh where I
can eat it is in New York city as far as I know. (But, a new
French bakery called La
Gourmandine opened in Pittsburgh recently. If this place sells
it, it's going to be a blast. I need to check this place out
soon.) So, we were determined to eat one Mont Blanc cake while we
were in Paris. According to the guidebook, this Angelina was the
closest cafe from our hotel that we could have Mont Blanc cake.
When we got there, there was a discouragingly long waiting line.
We almost gave up. We could buy one for take out, but it was sad
not to have coffee with it. But, after watching the line closely,
the line was moving reasonably fast. We stood in line, and was
able to get in within 5 minutes or so. I saw many Japanese
tourists in this place, I guess because this cafe was listed in the
guidebook. (Well, but why? They must be able to find the
same kind of cake with zero difficulty in Japan. Were they all
working outside Japan like myself?) The cake tasted very nice as
expected. Coffee was also nice.
Mont Blanc cake and coffee at Angelina cafe.
Then we crossed the Tuileries park and visited Orangerie museum,
which was famous for Cloude Monet's "Water Lilies." I think
impressionism is a pioneer of dot graphics. This type of pictures
always remind me of 16-color graphics in 320x200 screen resolution.
Maybe I should have studied impressionism then I could have made icons
Concorde square. This square is named after the
famous supersonic airliner....
What? Am I mistaking?
We still had time after Orangerie. We went to Louvre museum.
Again, I had no idea why people praise Mona Lisa much. To me, it's
just one of many nice pictures. My curiosity was if the picture
impresses me if I see it for real. But, I could see the museum
entrance from the Tuileries park, but it was not really close. I
guess it took 15 minutes or so to get there. Being able to see
doesn't mean it is close. But, one good thing was again we could
skip the ticket line with the power of the museum pass. This
feeling of privilege was worth for 50 EURO. We entered the museum,
and walked long distance again to get to Mona Lisa. Yes, I finally
saw the actual picture! Yes, it was a nice picture, one of many
nice paintings. I still don't understand why it is outstanding.
"Water Lilies" Nice dot picture.
Entrance of the Louvre museum.
Jacobian determinant cannot be defined at the peak. (Sorry, it's an
Mona Lisa. I still don't understand why this
picture is outstanding.
Inverted pyramid at the underground level of the
Reminded me of Gradius ((c) Konami) That game was called NEMESIS
when exported outside Japan.
That time I was also suffering from museum fatigue. We walked
out and had dinner at the food court of a mall connected to the museum.
That mall must be under the Tuileries park, and came back to hotel.
10/27 (Thr). Final day in Paris. We first
visited Medieval Age Museum, which was 1-minute walk from our hotel.
I was expecting to see the world of Wizardry (well, maybe Final Fantasy
if you are younger?) but, I saw only a few swords and armors. The
museum was more focused on arts and crafts. Then we came to Nortre-Dame
cathedral. This time we were thinking to climb up to the tower,
but we were discouraged by the long waiting line. Museum pass
didn't gave us priority here. Then, for the last attempt, we came
to the Orsay museum again, hoping the strike was over by then. The
door was closed when we got there, but people were waiting in line.
When we got closer, an employee told us to stand at the end of
visitor-with-ticket line. Of course because we had a museum pass.
What a privilege! Wtihin 5 minutes or so, the door opened.
We came to the museum exactly at the right timing. I saw famous
pictures there. Honestly, I didn't know which pictures were
famous, but my wife explained to me. The museum was large.
After walking through, my legs refused to move any more. We sat on
a stair step outside the museum to rest, and came back to hotel.
Medieval Age Museum.
Metro station near the Orsay museum.
By the way, Paris metro was double-decker.
10/27 (Fri). Our direct flight to Pittsburgh was to
leave at 11:10am. I tried to get to the airport two hours before.
The hotel employee explained that it was going to take no longer than an
hour. I reserved a shuttle for 8am so that we could get there by
9am. The shuttle came 15 minutes late. And, we got to the
airport at 9:15am. Still, almost two hours before the departure.
Then it was hell difficult to find a check-in counter for Delta
airlines, but we managed to find it. The counter was empty.
It took almost zero time to check in. But, in front of the
passport control was a long line. Then, another long line before
X-Ray. When we got to the gate, the airplane was already boarding.
I saw Airbus 380 for real for the first time at CDG.
The return flight took 8 hours. It arrived almost on time.
I again was tortured by the seat back that didn't tilt. Delta
airlines quality. No different from PFTC. I want to avoid it
in the future if possible.
It was my first experience to enter the U.S. at Pittsburgh
International. Usually, when I come back from Japan, or some other
country, I need to go through the immigration, then custom, and had to
go through security checkpoint again to change an airplane. But,
this time, Pittsburgh was my final destination. I was expecting
that I could get out after going through the custom. I was wrong.
Pittsburgh International airport is so badly designed that no matter if
you change an airplane or if Pittsburgh is your final destination, you
need to walk through the security area after the custom.
Therefore, even though Pittsburgh was my final destination, I had to
take my shoes off, had to take my laptop out, had to take off watch,
wallet, any metal things, and go through the security check point.
Although I didn't fly again, I had to re-check my suitcase, which was
just carried to the outside baggage claim.
What a bad layout design! Because everyone needs to go
through the security check point, it takes longer time than other
international airport. And, local passengers are not expecting
this. We were not prepared to go through another security check.
If I knew it, I was ready to take my laptop out, take watches and stuffs
off so that I could put them through the X-Ray, but I was not that
efficient because I was totally caught by surprise. I hoped
everyone who had a connecting flight got through in time. It's
such a bad layout design. No wonder Pittsburgh International
airport lost almost all international flights.
Nonetheless, at least we didn't have to be worried about missing a
connecting flight. That was only one good thing. And, now I
know how to get to Le Bourget airport. I'm ready to go to the next
Paris air show. Next Paris air show will be 2013. I hope I
have money and time to go there then.