a journal of a researcher

Monday, October 26, 2009

THE University Ranking and University Qualities

Times posted its 6rh edition the THE – QS World University Ranking recently and received wide responses. By the way, I got my Ph.D. from the No. 49 and am also an alumina from the No. 29. But this does mean too much. What I am interested is the criteria: Academic Peer Review (40%), Employer Review (10%), Faculty Student Ratio (20%), Citations per faculty (20%), International Faculty (5%) and International Students (5%). Only the first, the second and the fourth of the criteria make sense to me. I am working in an engineering faculty where we can easily get a lot of points on international faculty and students. I credit this to the subject and the immigration policy. This is just by nature. Every engineering faculty may be the same. I know that some of the names in the list are known only locally, not internationally. I do not know how these names are compared. I also know that there are also well known universities are not in the list. So who cares about this list?

Everyone is thinking the problem of what makes a good university. Different people have different criteria, because they are looking for different things. It may not be the research citation, and it may not be the international faculty. People who pay the tuition may think more the employer review or the start-up salary. People who do research may think more a specific domain. So a general ranking may not concern. For a university, I would say, to be generalized and try to be the top in the list won’t make sense for long. In the future, a university should be good in one dimension, not in multiple dimensions.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Iceland Strategy on Data Center

Probably no country was hit by the economic crisis than the Iceland. Pulled back from banking industry, Iceland turns back to its rich nature resources again. The following is based on a yesterday BBC report.

This time, it is about data center. It is said that the data centers produce CO2 as much as the aviation flights. Iceland’s cheap and renewable energy, cool climate and water make it an ideal place for building data centers. Actually data centers are built and the Americans are attracted.

This is also what I think for Canada. Canada also satisfies all the above merits. We need to cultivate these skills among our students.

A Concordia Alunima

Today I found that the CIO of the federal government is a woman and a bachelor of science from Concordia University. See a recent report about her , and her appointment.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

The European School vs. the North American School of Research

I like the European school of research. Here people are trained well. The atmosphere of research is strong. The struggling and surviving atmosphere is less. I feel that research can be a part of your life, a part of your life style. We do not link research to the pure interests gain in our lives. In North America, research is a tough career. The successful rate is so low that only the most ambitious and persistent people can survive.

The Europeans have their deep heritage in research. Their training in philosophy and logics is sufficient when they begin their research at a young age. They are used to analyze problems in a systematical way and tackle difficult problems very early due to their background. And there are many good institutes where the research atmosphere is strong and financial supplies are sufficient. You have almost no problem to take research as a part of your life and a part of your life style. I like this kind of sophisticated atmosphere. I feel relaxed in my free thinking. However, their “engineering” skills are also too sophisticated. I found sometimes they make simple problems too complicated. Sometimes, a 50 pages report can be summarized in 2 pages. The ideas are simple. However, to particulate it, it involves deeper skills, not the other sense.

The advantage of the North American school of research is that they change fast. They dare to abandon some old “productive” topics to try something new. The progress can be fast. However, their professors are too, too busy that their students are lack of supervision. Sometimes, the papers are clearly not reviewed by their profs, because they are very coarse. But if well written, the North American style papers are very clear and straightforward. And most of the time, they are accompanied with good motivations and concept proving experiments.