Fall 2022: 情商

4 minute read



During the holidays, I enjoyed the opportunity to travel, since it gives me some space to step back and look at the bigger picture, both in terms of career and also personally.

Brain STAR summit

For our team’s annual summit, we went to Santa Monica Beach. It was fun to hang out with co-workers from other offices (such as Denny and Xuezhi) and I felt that meeting people outside the office in a social setting really us closer. On the first day, we did some activities in LA office (which was in a converted airplane hangar), and we ended with a sunset cruise in the evening, which had alcohol, great food, and karaoke. I didn’t expect some members of our team to be karaoke and hip-hop dance stars!

On the second day, we had a morning of group activities in another office, and then had a group activity called the Amazing race, which involved going around LA and solving various puzzles. The race involved going around the Venice beach boardwalk, playing at the arcade, riding the bus, Venice beach and Muscle beach. Our team ran the entire way so the first to cross the finish line, but we incurred a penalty because we missed one of the puzzles. Unfortunately this means the team that cross the finished line after us won (darn you Ed!) To end the night, I had a great dinner involving Quoc, Denny, Yifeng, and lots of beer.


My brother, Xiaoying, and I went home to Texas for thanksgiving. I remember working a bit, and other activities such as working out, playing badminton, watching the world cup round robin matches, eating hotpot, and going to the cowboy town.

Left, Brain Reasoning team; middle, just me; right, me with mom and brother in cowboy town.


NeurIPS is the biggest social event of the year for the AI community. I got to spend a bunch of time with Yi and Hyung Won; we went to a nice dinner the first day with Albert, and also had a random hangout outside with the Colin Raffel crew. On the second day, I spent almost four hours at the Google booth continuously talking to people, then hung out with Maarten, and then I went to a nice citadel party with Xiangning and some Chinese folk after. On the third day, I presented the belated CoT poster, gave a talk at Stanford, and then hit the OpenAI party. The party venue had nice music. On the thursday, I had a bunch of random coffee chats and went up at a Stanford kickback and hit bourbon street at night. On friday, we met Zoubin and then wandered into a Huggingface party, and ended the night with an “authentic” New Orleans jazz bar (no other conference attendees in sight). Some people that I felt it was special to see and spend more time with include Andrew Dai, Sam Greydanus, David Dohan, Jacob Austin, Albert Webson, John Nyugen, Andrew Lampinen, Jack Rae, Xavier Garcia, and Charlie Lovering.

Left, dinner at a Sushi place; middle, OpenAI party with Flan team; right, lunch with Sam.


I had a great fun going on vacation to Portugal, visiting Lisbon and Porto. Lisbon was a city with inexpensive and flavorful food, such as seafood rice and egg tarts. Ubers were very cheap, so it was easy to get around. Our family went together with family friends, and it was fun to see them all and to be together. We played some classic games together, such as Secret Hitler and Truth or Dare.

Left, chapel of bones; middle, with Jerry at Porto; right, whole crew at the Christmas Market in Lisbon.

Getting COVID

After going to Xiaoying’s company holiday party on Dec 9, I got COVID from Dec 12 and recovered by Dec 17. COVID sucks! On tuesday and wednesday, I was hit with high fever and a throat pain that has been commonly described as “a knife going down my throat”, which would wake me up. I am thankful for Xiaoying for inviting me to her house and taking care of me. After this experience, social events for me should require clear justification and I should try to wear a mask whenever I can.


I felt that this quarter flew by quite quickly with the traveling and getting COVID. Overall it was quite fun. As much as I enjoy traveling, I’m looking forward to a bit of heads-down work for the next quarter (no traveling planned).