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Amusing quotes from professors or other students in the department. Please don't post anything incriminating or defamatory: this is for amusement only. Remember, all changes are logged.

Professor Quotes[edit]


Artificial Intelligence II[edit]

Arindam: Suppose you had a robot on Mars searching for gold.

Machine Learning[edit]

Student: Does it have a one-line proof?
Arindam: It ... has a one-line proof if you write everything on one line.


So a query walks into a bar, sees two tables and asks, "May I join you?"

Katie Panciera: I've noticed my Dad tells puns more often than I thought before.
John: Is that good or bad.
Katie Panciera: Neither really. Your bad puns just reminded me.
John: BAD PUNS!?!?!

Robotics is like leprosy. It is digital.

*Moves his hand back and forth while holding two dimes* Look, it is a paradigm shift.

If you eat too many potatoes, you'll get tuber-culousis.

What do you get from a vampire snow man? Frost bite.

Santa can't go down chimneys anymore because he has claus-trophobia. At first they thought it was just the flue.


Software Engineering[edit]

[on why 70's and 80's programmers didn't foresee the Y2K problem] Because they thought, in 20 or 30 years, who the fuck idiot would use this crap?



Nick: If P = NP is great, P = PSPACE would be god-like.
?: What if NP = PSPACE, but not P?
Nick: Well, I guess nanobots could convince us they were gods.

[Talking about independent random variables]
Nick: So, what's the next obvious question?
[Dead silence]
Nick: Come on, haven't you guys ever had a class where the professor said something like "Quantum aaaaahhh!"
Hannah Jaber: That's your obvious question? Quantum physics!?
Nick: ... obviously you haven't spent enough time thinking about the universe.

Nick: I do this a lot, I hope you guys know what I mean. [Wiggles fingers to indicate the swap of variables]
Student: Yeah, this is similar to pain qualifier in the sign language.

Nick: We are computer scientists, we are robust to change of basis, or something like that.


Intro to Intelligent Robotic Systems[edit]

Student: Why is that pi over 2?
Isler: Because it isn't. It's pi over 6.


Intro to Parallel Programming[edit]

For this course, we'll be using this book. (Holds up the course book, Grama, Gupta, Karypis & Kumar.)
It's ok.

The book has pseudocode. I don't like the pseudocode. Unfortunately, I wrote it. But I still don't like it.

(After not so subtly sniffing the dry-erase marker)
It says low odor. I like the old ones. They smell nice.

So today.... I woke up yesterday.

I made a mistake in defining the LCS algorithm. I forgot to tell you what LCS stands for.


Unlike bats, cadavers do not usually fly.


And I have a nice, colorful graph to help you.


... don't think of it as "World of Warcraft." Think of it as "MOM" upside-down.

Andrew Sheppard: This food is like a mix of Mediterranean and Indian.
Joe: Well, Iran is halfway in between them. Have you tried food between Baghdad and Gibraltar?
Andrew Sheppard: ?
Joe: Between Iraq and a hard place?

Cain wanted to be as good as his brother, but he never was Abel.

... and then there's Eve's diary, subtitled: "Raising Cain"


Advanced Internet Programming[edit]

On firewalls and undergrads:
In theory, it's not a bad thing because we're behind the firewall, and there aren't bad people in there. In practice, all the undergrads in the department are behind the firewall, so there are plenty of bad people there.

On Microsoft's secure computing initiatives:
... and since Microsoft is such a trusted name in computing, they would keep everyone's information in a central database.

On security and privacy:
In America, companies feel a moral obligation to deliver profits to their shareholders. They feel this obligation very deeply. They also have other moral obligations, like protecting their customers' privacy. They feel these obligations less deeply.

On IP law:
There is a very high standard for stopping someone from publishing something. There is a lower standard for waiting until after they have published and suing their asses off.

Most of JXTA messages are in XML. That's to keep it from going too fast.

JXTA pipes you can think of as TCP/IP without all that unnecessary reliability.

Other Quotes[edit]

It's fine to hate Microsoft for being the evil empire, but don't hate them because they're stupid. Hate them because they're evil.

This is what those of us in the User Interface field know as the 'Stupid User' Problem.

It's good to lie. Wait. Let me rephrase that. It is good to lie to people when they won't find out.

When asked why he was wearing a nice, button-up shirt:
I'm teaching a class with 140 students and I want to make a good impression. Now, I have two choices: come to class very prepared or wear a nice shirt.


Spoken Language Interfaces[edit]

(In class, Lane is writing with a bad whiteboard marker)
Schuler: Could you use a better marker?
Lane: Yeah, sure. Now you have to contend with my bad handwriting.
Schuler: Could you use a better hand?

So you take all these random variables and make this big joint...
(Some students in the class start snickering at his use of terminology...)
What's so funny? Oh, I see. That's completely inappropriate for an academic setting. Except maybe at Berkeley. So anyway, you roll up these variables into a big joint...

Artificial Intelligence II[edit]

(In an attempt to clarify an assignment due date)
It's not this coming Monday, but the Monday after the Monday that's on Friday.

Other Quotes[edit]

(On a whiteboard note)
"Free pizza in fridge! (i.e. gratis, you may not modify and redistribute!)"

So, the directories nlp and nlp02 are merging to form, uh, nlp voltron.

Actually, a lot of things are like pants, and people just don't notice.

(We are discussing William's daughter's "see you next year" joke propagated in late December)
Tim: Yeah, I thought I'd be really funny and in 1989 I said "see you next decade" to people.
William: Did you then in 1999 say "see you next millenium"?
Tim: No! I missed out!
William: It would have been 100 times funnier.
Tim: I didn't realize that humor was linear.

I don't make posters. I delegate. In fact, I don't do half the things I have to do.

We got good reviews, they loved our paper. They are our peeps. That's what the kids say, right? They are down with us.

(Tim ponders options for lunch...)
William: Remember to factor cookies at 3:00 into your decision-theoretic model...
Tim: Yeah, I can get lunch, or eat 12 cookies at 3:00...
William: Eating cookies at 3:00, utility: 1.

Yeah, our interface is terrible, it's incredibly frustrating, I know it. I can see it in [the testers'] eyes. I also know it because the testers say it is, quote, frustrating, unquote.

(A discussion ensues with a model on the whiteboard with the label "WHAT'S WRONG WITH THIS MODEL?" above it.)

If you see a flying object, you think "plane or bird", but then you see a vapor trail, then you think "plane or what the fuck"

Can you lend me the, uh, talk stick? I suppose some might call it a microphone.

Lane: Yes, Kai [Lane's son] just learned to put consonants at the end of words.
William: Yes, I sometimes have trouble with that mysel.

William (to his lab): If only we had blade servers... instead of graduate students. Oh! Sorry, you guys.

(While pacing the room) Someday, you too will have graduate students to perform menial tasks for you while you pace the room uselessly.

William: I told you to do that?
Tim: Yes...
William: Then it must be good.


Internet Programming[edit]

These are conditional statements. I hope you use them. If not, your code is probably very long.

Advanced Algorithms[edit]

We don't care how many trees there are!
<laughs maniacally>
We actually don't care how many trees there are!

Once you lose your second child, then you lose your parent. There is some dark humour here.

They might differ by the log of "n" or the log of the log of "n" or the log of the log of the log of the log of log n. More tea is necessary.

I'm going to pull a rabbit out of a hat by the end of the class.

(After a complex description on FFT's) I can't make it any simpler than this, because that's how simple it is.

I love American english. I can turn anything into a verb. I just verbed parentheses, and nouned parenthesize.

(ref: divide & conquer failing to find a solution to a subproblem)
Carol Drysdale: ... and by "fail", you mean "not very efficient?"
Carl: Yes. In fact, that's what "fail" will mean throughout this course.

It's handy to have someone to talk to. Like a cat.

Subtraction – making a difference since Babylonian times.

There's no greedy way of making the right greedy choice.

But the UNITE students were watching a picture of me, thinking I was a Huffman tree. Upside down, perhaps.

Carl: What is a trivial solution [for a Huffman tree]?
Carol Drysdale: There are no characters?
Carl: That would be a rather boring solution because then there would be no file.


If it doesn't contain donuts, what does it contain?!

What's bukkake?

Loren: Super chill diet classic cola!?! Oh man, that rocks my world!
Aaron Halfaker: What is it?
Loren: I don't know but I'm not going to have it.

This is a paper I'd like to bash some more!


I read your email, and I don't want to talk about it.

Oh no! These shouldn't be double sided! *grabs a bunch of printouts and flings them*

Arr! I sent something to the printer! Where is it?!

(To class) Was there anything left but sex?

(When asked some questions about degree bureaucratic procedure.) I don't know, make something up!


Operating Systems[edit]

(In Fall 2004:)
Does anyone know the story of Ali Baba?
(pause, silence from students)
Come on, you guys! You own Baghdad and you don't know Ali Baba?

Van Wyk[edit]

Programming Languages[edit]

On Compiling:
Now, let's live dangerously and see what happens...

On Silver:
This language sucks. We'll come back to that later when I learn how to use it.

On a bug in Silver:
We'll fix this by Tuesday so you're not convinced that all our software is crap.

While eliciting class participation:
What's the best thing to do when you don't know a lot? Make something up!

While drawing diagrams on the board:
And then we just add some stuff. Bluh bluh bluh.

On homework problems:
There are some things which you should magically know to make up and other things you should magically know to not make up.

Requesting questions about the homework:
Any other things? Like how to become an instructor by screwing up?

Well criminy! I know its a function.

Like I've said before, if we don't know what to do, we just make something up.

Wayne Richter[edit]

Math Logic[edit]

This would make more sense if you were inside of the language. Have you ever been inside of a language?

Actually, I'm going to give you a proof that has a mistake in it.

What's your favorite equivalence relation? What? You don't have a favorite equivalence relation?

Mike Cervo - Where did that "E" come from?
Wayne Richter - I have no idea

Ikea doesn't have words--just pictures. Maybe Ikea wasn't such a good example.

There are no numbers in this room. They are all across the river, in the philosophy department.

Richter - We put down the groups 3,4,5 and 6--what comes next?
Ted Kaminski - 2?
Richter - Yes, 2.
Ted Kaminski - How did I know that?

Richter - Is this effectively decidable?
- Yes.
Richter - You were supposed to say "no". Say "no"!
- No?
Richter - You're wrong!

Richter - You probably don't believe that happens. Say "no".
- <silence>
Richter - Wrong!

Student Quotes[edit]

Nate Bird[edit]

What mathematical model starts with an infinite number of paper airplanes.

They kicked us out of the lab, so we just went to the bar.

Alex Brugh[edit]

Technical girls are just worthless socially.

Katie Pants: I'm trying to find you a girl
Alex Brugh: Well, make sure she has a small head
Alex Brugh: She can have an abnormally large head too, that's fine too.

That's what douchebags do, is buy iPods.

Now's the time to not leave the fat teats of The Man.

Kelly Cannon[edit]

Kelly Cannon: Does anyone know who this girl is? She friended me on facebook.
Jeff Beck: Are you sure you haven't made out with her?
Kelly Cannon: Yes, she's not from Hawaii, so I'm safe.

I'm going to lick ass whenever possible.

(Jumping up from the couch) Oh! That's going to be wet and brown.

If you run this once, you'll get '23'. So, of course, if you run it three times you'll get sixty... Oh! I mean, if you make this change and then run it, you'll get '24', and if you run it three times ...

Carol Drysdale[edit]

You mean anything I say can go on the quotes page?

I'm still talking.... you'd have thought I would have stopped talking by now.

I'm off to cancel my insurance, or someone will pay! ... and it will probably be me.

I like my music to be indistinguishable from a fire alarm.

(Microsoft interview)
Carol: Last time they asked me to design an oven for blind people.
Ted: Did you accuse them of being Nazis?
Carol: And I guess you supposed to ask questions before just jumping into designing...
Tony: Like "how many people should it fit inside?"

Aaron Halfaker[edit]

That's what you do when you're drunk. You pee off of tall things.

You know what I really want to do with my life? Be a hooker.

See? I'm delicate! I'm a fucking hug person!

We don't say what we mean here--this is assembly!

Katie Pants: I love how your first reaction is to hit [the printer].
Aaron Halfaker: I'm a man. We hit things.

But, I can poop without taking my pants off.

Aaron Halfaker: These donuts are terrible.
Michael Ekstrand: They why are you eating them?
Aaron Halfaker: Because they're there!

Oh, I forgot! There's that meeting today with the stuff for the thing.

Aaron Halfaker: you need to drop new seeds into your random function
Fedor Korsakov: that's what she said

This one's not broken. Yes it is.

The vast majority of [reverts] are stream-of-consciousness stuff they copied off of
Oh! I'm going to go read!

Damnit! All the images of shepherds on the internet are Jesus! Except for this one.

Aaron Halfaker: ... I'm going to write a script that displays their picture with their name...
Bryan Song: ... or, you could just click the "Class Pictures" link.
Aaron Halfaker: ... "Class Pictures" link? Where?

Aaron Halfaker: A day in seconds is sixty times sixty times twenty-four.
Alex Stuart: ...or 3600 times twenty-four.
Mjørtæn Wårnckê-Wäng: ...or just eighty-six thousand four hundred.
Aaron Halfaker: You didn't just do that in your head, did you?
Alex Stuart: I don't know. I know a lookup table when I smell it.
Aaron Halfaker: You can smell Mjørtæn from over here?

Yes! I finally got my father to read a book! It's an audio book, but it's still a book, damnit!

I don't have any cough drops, but I have a squash ball. That's close enough.

Aaron Halfaker: ... the square root of -1 is -11/2, so the square root of that is 1/2 to the 1/2, and you add to get 1/4, which is the cube root of -1.
Bryan Song: ... uh.
Aaron Halfaker: Oh, no! That would be the quadra-whatever root of -1.

Aaron Halfaker: Why did we ever decide on cube root?
Bryan Song: Because a square is 2-D, and a cube is 3-D...
Aaron Halfaker: But, a circle is 2-D, and a sphere is 3-D. It could be the spherical root!

I don't want to touch what you touch, because it turns into snowmobiles and debt!

I did read it. What was it about again?

Don't get me wrong. We were emo in highschool; we just hadn't thought to paint it on our faces yet.

Ted Kaminski[edit]

Ted Kaminski: Butts have a lot to offer me.

Dan Kluver[edit]

Dan Kluver: I hate the Populous
Aaron Halfaker: So does your face!!
Dan Kluver: Yes, it looks this way to Harm You.

Where is the box of douche? I need to use it to demonstrate something.

Fedor Korsakov[edit]

(referring to a white board)
It's like a physical wiki!

(Aaron Halfaker complaining about a conference that hasn't published proceedings yet)
Fedor Korsakov: Sometimes things fall on people.

The problem with that is your local minimum may potentially be quite delicious.

Tim Miller[edit]

William Schuler: You shouldn't read while you're driving.
Tim Miller: Gotta do something. It gets boring driving in the dark.

I have a macro-scale collider. I just run into things and new particles pop out!

Tim Miller: So William [Schuler] isn't here at all today?
Lane Schwartz: No, he's in Las Vegas.
Andy Exley: Las Vegas?
Lane Schwartz: Yeah, he and Stephen are at ICASSP.
Tim Miller: Oh, so he's not just trying to double our grant money.

Tim Miller: The other day I borrowed your dongle. I didn't even ask.
Lane Schwartz: That sounds dirtier than it is.
Tim Miller: I don't want to live in a world with that kind of technology.

Katie Panciera[edit]

I have to go home in time to eat and crap before choir.

Katie Pants: Indian is one of those ethnicities that I don't eat enough of.
Andy Exley: You don't eat enough Indians?
Katie Pants: No, I don't.

I eat Indians.

Loren Terveen: How ya doing?
Katie Pants: I'm on heavy drugs
Loren Terveen: Where's my share?

My sticky notes aren't sticky enough.

(Referring to a group of GroupLensers) Michael, they're all freaks!

[In regards to the 2010 Parlimentary elections in the UK.]
(05:10:02 PM) reid.priedhorsky: who are you rooting for over in merry ole England?
(05:16:37 PM) kpanciera: i don't know
(05:16:42 PM) kpanciera: Clegg is way hotter than Brown

It doesn't matter how uncomfortable your bike seat is when your are biking for pie.

Reid Priedhorsky[edit]

Good Nate: My bagel is dry.
Reid Priedhorsky: That's your problem.
Good Nate: I'll have to moisten it with my tears.
Reid Priedhorsky: I'll moisten it with my urine.

Aaron Halfaker: You have a pickle electrocuting apparatus?
Reid Priedhorsky: Yes.

Reid Priedhorsky: My $0.02 (and my pennies are worth a shit-ton, since I have a Ph.D. now and so haha),

Erik Shimshock[edit]

I think the world would be an entirely different place if Hitler had the hiccups.


Eric Theriault[edit]

Jeff Beck: What are the things that you like?
Eric Theriault: Women ... vodka ... computer science ...
Jeff Beck: No no, you have to rank them.
Eric Theriault: In that order. mean when I was a transvestite hooker?

I think we should all get naked.

Mjørtæn Wårnckê-Wäng[edit]

Aaron Halfaker:These menus are awful! Who designs these?
Mjørtæn Wårnckê-Wäng: Well, you know... You get drunk...

We're Vikings, we don't take baths. We just pull out our swords and shave the dirt off.

Dan Kluver: This is Python?
Mjørtæn Wårnckê-Wäng: No, this is Perl, which of course is sorta like Python.

In reference to solving problems in CSci 5421 (Advanced Algorithms…):
Apparently I'm good at being greedy. This is not particularly Norwegian.

My feelings for this branding are similar to how a cow feels about its branding.

Aaron Halfaker: Why would we ever need an air conditioner this powerful.
Mjørtæn Wårnckê-Wäng: Well... If its 8:30 and you're having sex...

To Aaron Halfaker: I know you want to write the XSLT to make that readable.

Marie Manner[edit]

(during open house)
Ted Kaminski: So you [robotics people] have already broken the building?
Marie Manner: That's what robots DO!

Marie Manner: I make the babies, I make the rules

Marie Manner: See, that's why you should not elect me as vice president. I'm a judgmental bitch.


Matt Beckman: I don't really like the sun that much. It's why I'm in computer science.

William Schuler: If your ontology consists of one- and two-place expressions, then what's a function?
Lane Schwartz: You have delved too deep.

Tony Lam: (after reaching for a doughnut from a box) I think that doughnut just shocked me.

(Mikhil Masli walks by carring a large cardboard box.)
Katie Pants: You have a big box.
Mikhil Masli: It's full of GOODIES!!

Andrew Sheppard: Ha! I twitted. Or twat. Whatever it's called.

Josh VanderHook: Dating a girl is just like not dating a girl. Except you get yelled at more.

josh (to Patrick): you know how to sing every song from little mermaid except "kiss the girl"... Which... Is a little weird.

Mike: I enjoy the size of your breasts.

Josh: if you don't call the first girl, and you aren't calling the second, then by the inductive hypothesis you're going to be single forever.

Dan DaCosta: hey, you guys wanna go start a riot?

Other Quotes[edit]

Alex Stuart[edit]

It's blow Angie. I have to go do some blow.

I'm going to watch techno viking, and then I'm going to solve all of the problems.

Just wait; one day I'm going to have my own programming language. With blackjack and hookers. ... On second thought, forget the programming language.

Like all vi users, I use it out of penance.

Some days I can't get out of bed without writing a parser.

Angela Brandt[edit]

[Seppie] is pretty good looking too, for a tech guy.

Please take that down. I'm not a drag queen anymore.
Oh yeah! I love drag!

Yeah 'cause then I'll be on meth.

I mean--I'll kiss a girl sometimes.

How do you copy poop?

You are the father of this lab. (referring to Morten)

If he wasn't European, you'd think he was gay. (also referring to Morten)

I can handle a few guys at a time.

[My brother] always makes me pee!

I need to find out how to send money to someone in prison.

What kind of shit is this?!?

I need a cigarette ...and I need to pee ...and I'm hungry.

...and all I had to give him was money.

You guys go ahead. I'm going to go outside and pee.

You don't deserve a body.

Who needs a cigarette when you have a Norwegian?

Oh look, someone is calling me. It's an Oakdale number. I HATE OAKDALE NUMBERS!!!

I tried drinking out of the side of my mouth and I failed.

It's like chewing condoms!

I don't have morals like other people...

Angie cave lady. She not like big words.

And then I'm going to eat a banana.

I did math, which is bad, and overdrew the checking account.

It's cool to be retarded.

I'm sorry I made you feel dirty on the inside.

(refering to the Disney Magical Express) ... the coaches run 24 hours a day, but they're just different busses. They're no longer magical.

Morten Warncke-Wang: You did a little partying last night?
Angela Brandt: Yeah. I got the bible study girls together and we got drunk.

This person has no life! ... I'm going to follow him.

I wish I were straight.

I'm this big ghetto Christian doing it the easy way. You're doing it the crap way.

But ... she felt all my joints, and said that they were really hot.

My sister is, like, lesbian bridezilla.

I can't wait until I'm old enough to crap on everybody.

If Morten wants to love me, he can. No one else is allowed to love me though.


Seppie: Ben's easy. I can manipulate him.

Georganne: Everyone except Reid. Reid lies.

Antonia Zhai: Prefetching was sort of like the fellowship of the ring. Figuring out how to do it well for matrix multiplication? That's easy. Takes a year, it's like bringing the ring to the elves. But then you have to figure out how to do this in a compiler, and you're stuck taking the ring to Mordor for six years.

Aaron's minions: Do you have a jEdit plugin for that? We use jEdit because we're Aaron's minions.