Craig Ulmer

Flights to Knoxville

2018-01-28 planes

I'm going to be traveling to Knoxville, Tenseness in about a week to go to a big all hands meeting for the Exascale Computing Project. While Knoxville seems like a fun city, I'm dreading the travel because of the time change and the difficulty in flying there from the Bay Area. Knoxville's Airport is tiny and doesn't have many flights from this side of the country. Last year when I went to ECP my SJC to ATL flight was delayed and I was lucky to get the last seat on the last plane for the night (I had visions of renting a car and driving from Atlanta to Knoxville in the middle of the night).

While making a poster for this trip, I started thinking it'd be fun to use some of the airplane flight data in an example for Kelpie. I dusted off my datasets, learned the basics of Boost's Geometry library, and wrote some simple C++ examples that digested and analyzed my data. I then wrote a simple tool to identify flights that landed at a particular airport, and then dumped the entire day's track for those planes. The idea was that I wanted to know how far I could get from an airport without changing planes. I plotted the data in matplotlib using the plotting tool I wrote a while back.

As the plots show, you don't have many options if you want to go west from Knoxville. I didn't put it on the poster, but if you wanted to minimize travel pain for this conference and host it near a national lab, the right place to do it is at Argonne near Chicago. They have massive direct flights and are at least closer to the middle of the country. However, Chicago on February doesn't sound like the best idea to me.