I was fortunate enough to meet Sam during my senior year of college, at which time he was a first year grad student. I remember being scared at the prospect of going to grad school, feeling so overwhelmed at the deep and difficult subject matter I would need to absorb in the coming years. In the midst of this Sam and I became friends and instantly I felt comfortable sharing my fears with him, as well as my excitement about computer vision and machine learning. He was so confident and fearless, filled with the joy of discovery, jumping from one mathematical epiphany to the next. We discovered we both had a penchant for writing up LaTeX notes on cool concepts involving applied math and statistics, though I must admit Sam's notes put mine to shame. Every time he unearthed a nugget of intuition, he was keen to share it with anyone who would listen.
While our academic paths took us to opposite ends of the country, Sam's remarkable intellectual generosity continued to inspire me throughout my grad school years and beyond. With his brilliant intellect and easy charisma, he was equal parts Richard Feynman and Jeff Goldblum. His unexpected death at such a young age is an incomprehensible loss to his family, his friends and his field. One can only imagine the incredible achievements in teaching and research that could have transpired in the decades to come had Sam stayed with us.
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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