I first met Sam as a second year grad student at NIPS 2004, when by happenstance I got the chance to eat lunch with him. He was already a professor, and already famous at the time, and I remember him talking to me as an equal. He told me about the problems he thought were important in machine learning and even took a genuine interest in my ideas. Later, I was happy and lucky to have him as an committee member for my PhD qualifying exam. He asked the hardest question of the committee, one that completely stumped me. And when I asked him why, I remember him saying, "John. If I didn't ask you that, I wouldn't have been showing you the respect you deserve."
Sam was a wonderful presence in the machine learning community, and a pleasure to know as a colleague. His loss is a terrible tragedy for all of us, and my heart goes out to his family. He will be sorely missed.
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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