I am writing this shortly after the commemoration event for Sam held at the Gatsby on Jan 25th. It was very good to get together to remember him, and to hear stories of his personal as well as intellectual qualities.
I remember Sam for his boundless energy, infectious enthusiasm, and generosity. One of my favourite memories of him is of several discussion sessions at the whiteboards in the tearoom at the Gatsby during his stay there 1999-2001, in particular with Geoff Hinton, Peter Dayan and Zoubin Ghahramani. These were a lot of fun, exploring ideas with energy, curiosity and a pleasure in finding things out.
It was always a treat to meet Sam at a conference or on a research visit. He would always have new things to tell, whether about his own work, or neat things that others had done. For example I remember him standing in my old office in Forrest Hill, Edinburgh, telling me about a backward pass algorithm for sampling from the posterior distribution in HMMs, and how it was a nice NIPS-y generalization of the Viterbi algorithm.
I last saw Sam in early December 2009 at a meeting in Vancouver. It makes me very sad to think I won't see him again, but perhaps one way for us to remember him is to try to aspire in some part to his standards of enthusiasm, creativity and curiosity.
Sam Roweis died unexpectedly on January 12, 2010.
He was a truly wonderful person; a beloved son, husband and father; and a treasured friend and colleague.
This is a place for all of us who were lucky enough to know Sam to share our memories and to help celebrate his life.
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