Visit to EPITA
I visited Akim Demaille and his posse at EPITA today, and apparently there still is such as thing as free lunch (although, in my excitement over the good food, I kinda promised to help out with fixing some Stratego issues they are experiencing, so it was not entirely without entanglements).
I got to sit in on one of the bi-weekly status updates for the LRDE. The room numbered a little under 30 people, including students and faculty. They were kind enough to hold the meeting in English so that I could follow it. I found it surprising and very encouraging to have everybody report their progress (and, in a very few instances, lack thereof) in front of the entire lab. I've been missing this in many of the institutions I've been working at. It certainly increases the level of team feeling, and also makes it easier to uncover opportunities for collaboration between the various groups. For example, they all shared a lot of common infrastructure, including setups for newsgroups, a build farm, svn repos, etc.
I met two of the guys from the "previous" Transformers generation, Florian and Maxime. Florian was putting the finishing touches on a visualization tool for ambiguities in Transformers' attributed parse trees. It looked pretty sweet. Maxime was hacking a translator from a DSL for their Olena image processing library.
I also got to meet the new generation of Transformer students. I expect that I'll interact a lot more with them in the coming months, as they come to grips with Stratego.