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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There is also an album of photographs for which contributions are welcome. Instructions on how to contribute appear next to album.

Monday, 18 January 2010

from Michael Jordan

I've tried several times to sit down and write a few words about Sam but each time my head starts spinning and I've stopped.

Some recent memories of Sam include him and Meredith on the terrace of my house in Berkeley---it was a party for my research group but somehow it felt natural to invite Sam as well---and a long run on beach in San Diego---we ran for what seemed like forever to me and then I stopped and Sam kept running for a while longer.

I had a lot in common with Sam and I believe that he felt similarly. Both of us had a love for probability and for mathematics, especially the kind that could be explained in a few minutes to someone before their eyes start to glaze over. The kind of mathematics that was fun to discuss over a beer (well, a beer for me; Sam didn't need a beer to take his enthusiasm and joy up a notch). Both of us had a contrarian streak.

This similarity in outlook made me prize being able to run into Sam on a regular basis; I loved getting his take on new developments. When someone whom you basically agree with sees something a bit differently than you do, it's a great chance to learn something (perturbation theory, right Sam?).

Sam, my head is starting to spin again and I'm going to have to stop thinking about how much I'm going to miss you.

I continue to love being a part of the machine learning community, mainly because it brings together so people whose principal passion is a love for ideas, especially new ideas. They're friendly, but fierce, they're wise, but young. Sam was perhaps the paragon of this intellectual movement.

Sam, forever young.

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