Sunday, March 25, 2018

Quick Notes: FANG, skylights, hair color.

A few quick notes:

  • I have a graduating student: he seems to have the FANG job offers!
  • Airplanes should have skylights. 
  • If you are interested in my current hair color, check out this article
It is not lost on me that my previous post is on A Facebook Nightmare, which sounds entirely different now when I say it aloud. 

Saturday, January 20, 2018

A Facebook Nightmare

Students have nightmares: they appear at the finals and don't recognize the course, the problems, or other startling variations.

Last night I had a nightmare. I realized I was a Facebook user, but I did not sign in for several months. I panicked: I may not remember the password, Facebook may have change their look into something strange, or Facebook will pop up bunch of new permissions, etc. I spent the rest of the "dream" finding a  way to sign in to Facebook, with each direction ending in some disaster (no monitor, no internet connection, no power, ...) while being pursed by friends everywhere I sent (and I was trying to keep them from finding out that I may not know what happened in Facebook).  So there. 

Thursday, January 04, 2018

Snow, A Natural Prediction

Snow is coming down now,
A flurry of floating farfalle.
Tomorrow the poetry will stop.
Then the plows will spew geysers of snow.
And after that, people, pets and prowling cars,
will sink, slip, slide and do muddy pirouette. 

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Theory of New CS

I am helping NSF CISE by serving on the Advisory Committee which has some great folks. As you break for holidays and spend time with friends, family and your feral self during the break, I hope you get to think about how NSF can help us develop the theory of CS further.
  • All of CS has for decades believed in algorithmic intelligence, formulating optimization problems, designing optimal, heuristic solutions, studying  their performance via math or experiments, exploring what can not be done via system building or proving lower bounds and hardness, etc. Now the focus is on using artificial intelligence across systems and sciences. So we need to develop the foundations for such a thinking. 
  • CS Systems are converging, with hardware and software used a lot more interchangeably. There are programmable network switches, popular gadgets from phones to Echo that are not just computers, and computing resources that are increasingly concentrated in data centers, etc. So, different systems areas find themselves treading into each others' arena organically. 
That is the world of new CS. Finally, folks high up typically think of "missions" (land on moon, self-driving cars, robotic warehouses, virtual assistants), while researchers think of areas, problems, techniques/methods. Does it help when CS disciplines, theory included, think of missions?

Please email me with thoughts. 


Friday, December 15, 2017

Diversity/Broadening Participation

I realized that scientific and educational community spends lot of effort inspiring, recruiting and training students from a broad spectrum of the society in K-12 programs, with creative tools including portfolio based approach to personalized education. But when these students get to the undergrad program, it seems like we lump them all together into a single or few tracks. Is our college/university education diversity-aware? What we teach, how we teach, how we test and grade, are these activities aware of differences in diverse population towards pedagogy? I am at the NSF CISE Advisory Committee meeting and I am mulling over this issue. 

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Positions in eg. Data Intelligence/UBC/CA

UBC CS has positions: Postdoc in data understanding/intelligence with Prof. Rachel Pottinger (Applications or questions should be sent via email to, 3 assistant professors in any area ( ) and a tenure-track teaching position ( ). Vancouver is beautiful, the faculty is strong, and Rachel is an excellent mentor. 


Sunday, October 29, 2017

Low hanging art

Acrylic boxes are like single-use bandaids: rip them open, use them, toss the dregs, and carry the imprint of them through the day. On the left is my attempt at teaching my kids to use an entire set of acrylics on one painting. On the right is the height of my creativity, responding to a child who wanted pancakes the shape of The Boar God Nago from Princess Mononoke.