Thursday, August 22, 2013

ACM COSN Registration Details

ACM's 1st conf on online social networks: early registration deadline is soon. Early registration ends at 11:59pm EST on August 26.

Registration Type            Until 8/26      Starting 8/27
ACM Member                   $300            $375
Non-Member                     $500            $600
Student ACM Member      $200            $300
Student Non-Member        $250            $350


Saturday, August 17, 2013

Interspecies Internet

Networking is a difficult area of research. Having built a distributed, open network, what is the next big research challenge for the community (assume we can transcend the trend of papers on data-observing the current network at very detailed levels)? Interplanetary networking seemed to present some challenges with unpredictable delay times and their impact on TCP, and this research is simmering without what I would call seething.

I like the new effort on Interspecies Internet. Indulge me. The Internet is a communication medium, can we connect up the different animals, and see what and how they communicate? This has different aspects: Peter Gabriel focuses on communication by music; Scientists focus on "tasks" by Dolphins, Apes or  Elephants. But what I find exciting are:
  • scale. What if we connected snails and sharks of one part of the world to the newts and tapirs of another, if they can see and hear others in one habitat that defines geography? 
  • personalization: Can we observe animals interacting with each other in a personalized way? For ex, when one male lion approaches the other, do they react like our books say, a male challenged by the other, or as Tim to Tom, and say, "I remember you tripped, as a baby, when we played seek"? 
  • trees too. they may be quiet, but they push,  break the ground, or choke others, how will they react to new sound, rain and snow in parched parcels of land. 
Socrates should have said, "Man is a social networking animal, like other species."

Worthwhile Acts and Arts

Quick Poem:
 I bought a shirt, it was tight.
So I lost some weight, and now it fits right.

I watched the documentary, Joe Papp in Five Acts, as part of SFJFF.  Joe is larger than his lifes's decades, having fought many of the social fights from socialism to (anti)semitism and AIDS, and bringing free public theater to NYers. One of his quotes, "I felt that even if we charged 25c, that is too much". The awesome outcome is free Shakespeare in gender, racial, accent bending variations to masses in Central Park, with actors including James Earl Jones, Christopher Walken, Meryl Streep, Denzel Washington and the always amazing Al Pacino.

I like small theater, where the audience and the actors are in each others' spaces. I watched, Edward Albee's  "The Goat, or who is Sylvia" a large play that has been around some, in the small space of the Phoenix Theater in the historic Native Sons building. It is a bestial take on infidelity in relationships and rifts that can not be repaired, and a script with many witty, literary allusions. 

Finally, Woody Allen ("flintier" as NYer says) lays out Blue Jasmine and takes on Tennessee Williams. I am glad Woody ---- thanks to Luigi Laura I have a better connection to Woody --- has returned from his odes to European cities to NY. The movie moves between Manhattan and San Francisco, and as one reviewer says, Woody, having recognized SF as Queens, doesn't change his mind. It is intense, and Cate Blanchett gives a great performance, thanks to Woody who writes down Stanley's part, and Marlon Brando is no longer around to shred the screen.

Monday, August 12, 2013


NY Times doesnt (and some would argue, it doesnt have to) write about restaurants outside NY often, but now it does a piece on an DC restauranteur and in particular, the team that made Rasika. Well deserved! Enjoy Rasika if you get there, else enjoy this NY Times piece, awesome parenthetics included ((The restaurant was also where, late last year, the Washington Post publisher Katharine Weymouth first suggested to her uncle Donald E. Graham that the family consider selling the newspaper.)) Congrats, Vikram!

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

We celebrate Mihalis

Mihalis's 60th birthday celebration is Aug 27--29. Mihalis is a gem, I am sure the day will sparkle. 


Sunday, August 04, 2013

Computer Science amid Others

CS among other sciences:

  • I remember a conversation with Juris Hartmanis a long time ago in which he described the early days of Computer Science.   He and others had to argue that CS was of fundamental interest, that CS was not lesser Math and that some of the central Math questions were central in CS and vice versa, with techniques that went back and forth. They had to take these arguments to Mathematicians. 
  • And a few days ago, Prabhakar Raghavan and Christos Papadimitriou told me an anecdote that had to do with their travails taking these arguments to Physicists. 
I am sure there are others I do not know about, who defended CS theory as one of fundamental interest and taken the arguments to Economists, Biologists, and others. Thank You!

Saturday, August 03, 2013


ACM COSN program is out. Oct 7--8 in Boston.

The keynote is by the incomparable Jaron Lanier. The PC had to meet a very aggressive schedule and they did, thanks to the PC and PC Chairs (Amr and Bala) . 22 papers have been accepted for a very low acceptance rate.  Bala is quarterbacking the conference, all the way.

The PC process was less "social" than I imagined (wonder if we should have used Twitter or Google+, :)).  I would like to see a nudge in the future towards more theoretical papers (more submissions please), with less emphasis on hardcore empirical analyses. We have to keep in mind that these online social systems and phenomena we study are built by engineers and change frequently, so what endures is theoretical insight, novelty and boldness. Nevertheless, the program is interesting and broad, I am sure the community will find it exciting and useful to be at the conference.  This is the first ACM conf on Online Social Networks, so attend and be part of the history!