Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Patent Development - China going Deep

In a previous post, I commented the possible Computer Scientists Crisis, especially, involving Americans. This situation can be showing some the future consequences that the country will have to deal.

According to China's State Intellectual Property Office, in the last year, China received more patent applications that any country (694.000). The U.S had the second most applications (484.955), followed by Japan (443,150). [see the note in Communications of the ACM]

Still according to the note, if China's number of patent applications continues at its current rate, it will lead the world in invention patent application by 2012.

About it, some Americans are wondering about this situation in the short future. Yesterday, I had a dinner with David Weiss, director from Avaya Labs, in New Jersey, and we were discussing about politics, previous presidents, their legacy and consequences. David highlighted exactly this issue: The lost of investments for research and education, the interest for students in the area, the fact that nowadays most graduates are not Americans and they are returning for their country. Maybe, we have to wait for the next years and analyze this point which could have a great impact in science and technology around the world.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

CACM - Donald Knuth Interview

Communications of the ACM (CACM) in July and August's editions published a very good interview with Donald Knuth. The two papers The 'Art' of Being Donald Knuth and Donald Knuth: A Life's Work Interrupted are very interesting.

Don Knuth is an Emeritus Professor at Stanford University and won several awards such as Turing Award (1974) and John von Neumann Medal (1995). He is most known by being the creator of the TeX and author of the seminal The Art of Programming book series.

In his interview, Don comments curious moment in his life such as his path from physics, mathematics until arrive in computer science; his first program in 1950s and its lessons; his disappointment as a teacher; his mentor; his first text written in a motel; and his Ph.D. thesis research taken in one hour ("I felt a little guilty that I had solved my Ph.D. problem in one hour, so I dressed it up with a few other chapters of stuff").

Another good point is when he said: "if you ask me what makes me most happy, number on would be somebody saying: I learned something from you. Number two would be somebody saying: I used your software".

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Computer Scientists Crisis?

Last July, Rick Rashid, Senior VP of Microsoft Research, published an interesting [discussion] paper in Communications of the ACM (see the paper here) about the future of computer science in the U.S. His first sentence was trick for a first look: "Is computer science a dying profession? ".

He argues that a recent UCLA survey in 2006, 1% of incoming freshman planned to major in computer science, compared with 5%, 25 years ago. In addition, he states that in 2007 occurred a one-year drop of almost 20% in computer science and computer engineering degrees and more than half of M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees granted by U.S. universities were awarded to non-U.S. citizens.

On the other hand, everybody knows that the demands for services in the area is increasing a lot and it can be a problem soon [for some people it is happening currently].

One of Rick's issue now is try to understand why this interest is decreasing. If we talk about women the problem is still bigger. So, what Can we do? I do not know exactly the numbers in Brazil, but I know that the Brazilian Computer Society is working on this direction, especially, about women in computer science. In my environment, at C.E.S.A.R there are initial and interesting initiatives to improve this situation. Called Education for the Future, it combines researchers and practitioners from different areas where C.E.S.AR is starting Games Labs Lan Houses, Academic Social Networks for undergraduate students. The initial results are being very good and it will be better in the future with new investments from government, funding agencies and private companies.

Other good initiative is the Alice project or other incredibles one at Carnegie Mellon University. A good place to discuss it is the IEEE Conference on Software Engineering Education and Training (CSEE&T). This year, I presented our experience with software reuse and I could see good efforts in the software engineering are. About this conference, the call for paper is available for the next year.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

2nd RiSS - RiSE Summer School on Software Product Lines

Hello, Folks! We proudly would like to announce the 2nd RiSS - RiSE Summer School on Software Product Lines. Based on the success from the last edition, this year, we have another edition of the conference. In the previous one, we discussed several technical and non-technical issues of software reuse. This year, the topic is Software Product Lines considered the key approach to achieve large-scale reuse. In this year, we have specialist from different countries discussing software product lines introduction, requirements engineering in software product lines, software product line architectures, software product line implementation and software product lines evolution.

We have too many discussions to choose the topics and the lecturers from academia and industry and we believe that it will be awesome. Be fast and take your seat because there are just 100 ones. In addition, you will have the opportunity to enjoy the summer in Recife with several attractions.

See you there!