Venue

SIGSEGV 2017 will be held at the Aperture Science Research Laboratory and Testing Facility at Cornell University, also known as Gates Hall.


The Gates Testing Facility is Aperture's newest research and development center, and the first to be constructed in partnership with a major university. It contains over 400,000 square feet of office, laboratory, and test chamber space (the vast majority underground), complete with state-of-the-art computer technology and scientific instruments. The facility's day-to-day operations are overseen by a highly advanced experimental AI system, which greatly simplifies the management of such a large research center.


While Aperture and Cornell have generously donated the use of some parts of this facility for SIGSEGV '17, it remains an active laboratory and experiments will be ongoing during the conference. In order to ensure smooth cooperation between conference attendees and Aperture research, attendees are advised to observe the following guidelines:

  • Obey all instructions given by the facility's supervising AI system.
  • While you are free to observe the Aperture Science researchers at work in their transparent offices, do not disturb them by tapping on the glass walls.
  • Do not consume any lemons found in or near the facility, as these may be part of a current experiment on combustible lemons.
  • In general, avoid looking at, touching, ingesting, or engaging in conversation with experimental substances classified as "highly dangerous."

Transportation

Our conference venue is in Ithaca, NY, an exciting hub of research and innovation conveniently located in rural upstate New York, only 5 hours from the nearest international airport. There are a variety of inconvenient methods you can use to travel to the conference:

Air Transportation
  • New York Airports: The nearest major airports are JFK and LGA, which offer the usual assortment of domestic and international flights at reasonable rates. However, after arriving you will need to take a 5 to 6 hour bus ride from New York City to Ithaca (see below), and in order to get on the bus you will need to spend at least 45 minutes stuck in traffic while attempting to get from the airport into the city.
  • Syracuse "International" Airport: While technically an international airport, Syracuse has a more limited selection of flights, and flying here will probably involve at least one layover. Also, public transportation from Syracuse to Ithaca has been discontinued due to the Tyranny of Small Decisions.
  • Ithaca/Tompkins Regional Airport: This airport is the closest to the conference venue, located on the outskirts of Ithaca and only an overpriced cab ride away from Cornell. However, there are only 3 flights a day to this airport, and you must transfer at Detroit, Philadelphia, or Newark. If you fly US Airways and transfer at Philadelphia, be prepared for long delays and possibly a missed connection.
Ground Transportation
  • Rental Car: Regardless of the airport you choose, the most flexible way to get to Ithaca is by renting a car. Even the Ithaca/Tompkins airport has several major car rental companies nearby, so this option is always available unless you are under 25. Note that attempting to get from a NYC airport to the highway with a car will probably be a nightmare, but at least you'll be able to travel on your own schedule instead of the bus's.
  • Campus to Campus bus service: Cornell provides a swanky charter bus service between Manhattan and the Ithaca campus. Although it is more expensive than the Short Line bus ($180 round trip), it has the advantage of providing free Wi-Fi and snacks, and not being full of weird smelly people. Unfortunately, it only runs twice a day on Saturdays, so it will be difficult to find a flight that arrives before the last bus departure.
  • Short Line bus service: The Short Line/Coach USA bus is cheaper and runs much more frequently than Cornell's bus (including trips late in the evening). However, Short Line buses are known for being wretched hives of scum and villainy, and you ride at your own peril. Also, you still have to get from JFK into Manhattan, which will be a slow and frustrating endeavor.
  • Bicycle: Many Computer Science researchers at Cornell are bicycle enthusiasts, and it's no surprise given the wide expanse of flat, well-paved roads around Ithaca. To improve your health and fit in with the CS community at our host institution, consider biking to Ithaca from wherever you may find yourself.
  • Aperture Science Nonstationary Platform: If you arrive at the Ithaca airport, you may choose to participate in an experiment testing the feasability of using Aperture Science Nonstationary Platforms for local transportation in the vicinity of the Research Laboratory and Testing Facility. An Aperture Science Nonstationary Platform will be making regular, but unscheduled, translations between a position outside the Ithaca airport and a position inside the Testing Facility. Feel free to board the platform when it arrives at the airport, and disembark at the Testing Facility. Note that the weight capacity of the platform has not been tested beyond 100 kg, so passengers with heavier luggage may want to refrain from using this feature.
Underground Transportation
  • Aperture Science Pneumatic Diversity Vent: In order to facilitate the transportation of various Aperture Science products between Aperture Laboratories locations, Aperture has recently extended its pneumatic tube network to connect the Gates Testing Facility and several other laboratories. If you live near one of these Aperture Laboratories sites, you can travel to the conference through an underground pneumatic tube. Simply present your SIGSEGV registration to an Aperture Science employee at your nearest Aperture Laboratories location, and he or she will assist you in entering the nearest Pneumatic Diversity Vent if that location is connected to the Gates Testing Facility. Please note that the Aperture pneumatic tube system will be in use for its regular transport duties during this time, and attendees are advised not to touch or ingest any other substances travelinig through the tube network.
  • Digging: Everyone knows that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, and a straight line through the Earth is more efficient than any path traveling over its curved surface. Demonstrate your superior knowledge of geometry by digging a tunnel directly from your current location to Cornell's campus, and arrive before those schmucks that took an airplane.

Accommodations

The official conference hotel is the Statler Hotel at Cornell University, which is conveniently located across the street from the Gates Testing Facility. However, since nobody on the Program Committee is friends with any hotelies, we were unable to secure a block of rooms at a discounted rate. Since the Statler is the most expensive hotel in Ithaca, this means you probably can't afford to stay there, but if you don't stay at the official conference hotel you will probably miss out on many conference activities and have an inconvenient commute from some other hotel to the conference venue. It's up to you to decide whether the convenience is worth a month's paycheck on a meagre grad student stipend.

Although the Aperture Science Research Laboratory and Testing Facility has a large number of comfortable lounge spaces, please note that sleeping in the Testing Facility in an attempt to save money is not allowed. Any conference attendees found sleeping within Aperture Science property outside of conference hours will be assumed to be escaped test subjects, and automatically returned to a testing chamber determined by our AI oversight system.

Activities

Attendees will have free time before lunch on the 26th with which to explore beautiful Ithaca and the exciting Aperture Science Testing Facility. In addition, the conference will finish conveniently at 5:00, and attendees are encouraged to take advantage of the many nearby bars to imbibe their favorite beverages at that time. Here are some activities you may wish to consider:

  • Hiking the Gorge Trail: A scenic nature trail leads from the south end of Cornell's campus to a quiet neighborhood downtown, by way of one of Ithaca's famous gorges. Going from Cornell to downtown is easy; going back the other direction involves climbing a countably infinite number of stairs.
  • Biking: Did we mention that certain members of the Cornell CS community really like biking? They would be delighted if you joined them on a leisurely 25-mile bike ride before or after the conference.
  • Aperture Laboratories Activities: Our hosts at Aperture Science have graciously provided a number of fun activities that you can partake in before or after the conference. These are all conveniently located inside the Gates Testing Facility:
    • Laboratory Tours. See the advanced scientific instruments and research in progress in some of Aperture's laboratories that are not being used for classified Defense Department projects.
    • Disturb the Fish. We told you not to bother the researchers at work in the glass-walled offices; we lied. Come on this tour to bother the scientists by tapping on the glass and watch for the funniest reaction!
    • Taste Testing. Try out some of our new experimental dietary supplements, now that we're pretty sure they're non-toxic.
    • Test Chambers. One of Aperture's more famous developments is the Aperture Science Portable Quantum Tunneling Device, used to create instantaneous travel between two locations while solving three-dimensional motion puzzles. Try solving some of our Test Chambers yourself. Note: Aperture Science is not responsible for any injury or death incurred while pursuing an incorrect solution to a Test Chamber.