To commemorate the Twenty Fourth Annual International Conference on Machine Learning (ICML-07), the FOX Network has decided to launch a new spin-off series in prime time. Through unofficial sources, I have obtained the story arc for the first season, which appears frighteningly realistic.

Warning: spoilers follow.


The following events take place on February 9, 2007, between the hours of:


Midnight - 1:00 am

Paper exists in skeletal form, with preliminary results. All seems well until hero exposes shadowy bugs in implementation of core routines.


1:00 am - 2:00 am

Hero assembles crack team of students and postdocs by email. Suffers moral anguish knowing that one or more will need to be sacrificed for greater good.


2:00 am - 3:00 am

As bugs are systematically eliminated, hints of overarching flaws emerge in hero's conceptual framework.


3:00 am - 4:00 am

New experiments are planned. Before they can begin, monthly scheduled departmental maintenance shuts down all machines.


4:00 am - 5:00 am

Team shows signs of cracking under pressure. Hero reverts to "motivational methods" from covert and troubled past. (Episode contains flashbacks.)


5:00 am - 6:00 am

Tensions flare. Team members put aside personal differences when late-breaking experiments yield better than expected results.


6:00 am - 7:00 am

Long overdue literature search reveals large body of related work. Scarce resources must be diverted to decipher its relevance.


7:00 am - 8:00 am

One by one, key members of team disappear for coffee, precisely when they are needed most.


8:00 am - 9:00 am

More pieces of the puzzle fall in place, forcing a complete overhaul of the paper. A new outline emerges.


9:00 am - 10:00 am

Student who cannot let go of old ideas must be "retired".


10:00 am - 11:00 am

Hero is trapped in committee meeting. A secretive channel is opened for instant messaging, enabling further progress.


11:00 am - Noon

The body of the paper takes shape as hero overcomes writer's block. (Viewer discretion advised.)


Noon - 1:00 pm

Hero, exhausted, responds without thinking to knock at door. Undergraduates swarm office with questions about Monday's homework assignment.


1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Final experiments show signs of scaling poorly. Team confronts grim reality that they will not complete in time.


2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Scavenger hunt within the department: machines at large are commandeered for extra processing power.


3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Argument over terminology temporarily derails writing. Clever acronym is discovered by chance on mysteriously abandoned whiteboard.


4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Rumblings of hunger prompt surgical raid on department TGIF party. Dinner is assembled from pretzels, chips, and soda.


5:00 pm - 6:00 pm

First draft of technical section completed. Hopelessly impenetrable.


6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Sluggish CPUs reveal rogue team member (previously retired in episode 10) running unauthorized background processes.


7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

From intermediate logs, final results projected to arrive at 10:03 pm. Writing proceeds imaginatively.


8:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Background section cut and pasted from previous papers. Double-column format forces re-typesetting of all equations.


9:00 pm - 10:00 pm

Rumor of extended deadline is picked up on Internet chatter. Sources are tracked down and ultimately discredited.


10:00 pm - 11:00 pm

Figures and references added to paper, which consequently overflows to ten pages. Frantic pruning. Rough draft submitted at 10:58 pm.


11:00 pm - Midnight

Proofreading reveals extensive typos and sign errors. Paper teeters on brink of eight page limit through multiple revisions. In act of ultimate sacrifice, hero removes all self-citations. Final submission: 11:59:59 pm.