a journal of a researcher

Monday, June 30, 2008

Woody Allen in Montreal Jazz Festival

Woody Allen comes to Montreal. After seeing many of his movies and reading one of his books, of course, I want to see him.

He was exactly as in his movies: little man, not handsome, and with big black frame glasses. Well, he could be handsome, when he was young, but he just does not care, because his movie does not need a cute face. He even spoke like in his movies: very plain voice, with a little bit innocent and naïve tone. Definitely no smile, even if he is making all the people laughing.

It is true that it is because of him that we came to the concert. But it did not prevent people to laugh at his first tune on Sunday night. But it did not prevent the audiences to give him big applauds either. He was cool. He moved a lot when he played his clarinet. But he just stared at the ground without raising his head. Mmmm, whatever he did, he had a reason, or people believe he has a reason. He is Woody Allen, a brilliant guy.

One interesting idea after this is that I can deduce that the band was composed by people who are not so good. It is because you have to win the world by some of your talent. Woody Allen won the world by his movies. So he can do this. A good musician will win the world by his/her music, not just to follow Allen to play at amateur level. No true musicians will do this. The newspaper “metro” called the band Woody Allen’s robots. It is the right phase. Obvious? When it comes to research community, it is not so obvious...

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Why Computer Science is Dying

Computer science is still a new science compared to physics or chemistry. But if we count the acceleration of development, maybe computer science is not so young. What we are saying computer science is dying is not to say computer science is no more important, just to say it is over the age of blasting. Or more specifically, the job market does not need so many computer scientists, for academic or for industry. Computing theories for von Neumann computer are studied enough. You’d better move to other computer architectures. Computer applications are still penetrating the other sciences. But this is not classic computer science. Many students in computer science actually will become software engineers in companies.

Software engineering is still not matured. People do not have enough experiences yet to guarantee a software system works. Only a very low percent of projects (as low as one digit, to be verified) are financially benefit and satisfy user requirements. You hear many stories that the projects are delayed, over-budget, not meet user requirements, low performance. Many software systems do not bring any benefits. In other engineering domains, this record would be disaster. You do not hear that a construction project has 50% success rate. We can control the other engineering projects well, but not software engineering projects.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Software Engineering vs. Computer Science

Sitting in the garden of Daniel Lemire, we were talking about research and computer science. Below is from our conservation. I should say I am thinking about this topic for a whole, as I am one of the new recruitments in SE.

  • Computer Science is dying. The CS departments now only recruit in software engineering.
  • Computer scientists do not care programming. They can be very bad in programming. Programming is just a way to get results. It is like the other scientists in physics or chemistry. They know programming for computation. Of course, computer scientists should have better programing skills than physicists and chemists, as they know how computer works.
  • Building software systems is software engineering. But not many profs in software engineering have a lot of engineering experiences in developing serious software systems. The most “successful” career path is to get a faculty position directly out of school.
  • Software engineering methodology is more from brains than from experiences. This is different from other engineering domain. For example, construction code is more summarized from practices. Well, people have been building buildings for thousands of years, but only 50 years for software. So we are lack of experiences for software engineering. The current software engineering methodology is not proved enough from practice.

Here are some of my opinions as a SE guy:

  1. Always update your knowledge on programming. I found if I do not look around a while, many many new SW is generated. I am looking around now for my own project.
  1. Practice in the real world. Accumulate enough first hand experience yourself. I do not know if it helps your career, because your career is more built on papers than projects. But if you are serious to what really works, you cannot stay away from reality.
  2. Following industrial trends. You can say the industrial trends are not serious enough for academics. But your students are going to go to industry. You cannot be too behind or stay irrelevant to what the industry is doing.
  3. Engineering, keep practicing and practical.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

“Problem with Audio Playback” for Skype in Linux

It is because Skype does not support ALSA Audio yet. You need to simulate it in oss. Login as root. List all the packages using “lsmod”. Make sure snd_pcm_oss and snd_mixer_oss are installed. And then run the following command:

modeprobe snd_pcm_oss
modeprobe snd_mixer_oss

You can find similar suggestions on Skype help page. I forgot to record its link. I am new to Linux. I do not know why this works yet.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

SOA Case Study Competition

The SOA Consortium and CIO magazine are sponsoring a Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) Case Study Competition. The competition is open to organizations of all sizes, including government agencies, which have successfully delivered business or mission value using a SOA approach.

The goal of the SOA Case Study Competition is to highlight business success stories and lessons learned to provide proof points and insights for other organizations considering or pursuing SOA adoption. To qualify for the competition, the SOA project must be complete with demonstrated business results ...

Deadline: June 30, 2008

Monday, June 02, 2008

My New Web Site at Concordia

Today is my first day at Concordia. I uploaded my new Web site to the faculty site. It may not be linked to the faculty list yet. I am hurry to do this is because nowadays the Web site is the way to communicate to the world. You need to let people know what you are doing and what you want. What I want now is students. I have two funded projects and a start-up fund. I need two Post-doc and master’s and Ph.D. students. Check the link below:

Two Post-docs on Web services.