Wednesday, February 16, 2005

PAW Web Site

The Policy-Aware Web project has a Web site at Not much there yet :)

Bernadette Hyland on CIT Panel

Bernadette spoke this morning at a "Breakfast with Experts" panel organized by Virginia's Center for Innovative Technology (CIT). The focus of the panel was "Resources for Growing Technology Companies". Video of the event will be available for the next couple of weeks.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

WWW2005 Panel: Can the Semantic Web be Made to Flourish?

I will be convening a panel at WWW 2005 entitled "Can the Semantic Web be Made to Flourish?". The panel has been accepted and will consist of the following panelists: Zavisa Bjelogrlic (Co-founder, @semantics), Bernadette Hyland (Co-founder, Tucana Technologies), Prof. Jim Hendler (Director, MIND Lab, University of Maryland) and Kanzaki Masahide (Consultant, It may be possible to line up another panelist and I am trying to do so.

The panel will try to address the contentious issue of the uptake of the Semantic Web. This clearly relates to my work at the W3C Semantic Web Best Practices & Deployment Working Group. We will discuss business as well as technical barriers to adoption.

WWW 2005 will be held 10-14 May 2005 in Chiba, Japan. The panel is currently scheduled for sometime on 11 May.

Policy-Aware Web Kickoff Meeting

Policy-Aware Web Kickoff Meeting
Policy-Aware Web Kickoff Meeting,
originally uploaded by prototypo.
The University of Maryland MIND Lab and MIT's CSAIL kicked off a new working group to define the Policy-Aware Web on 9-10 Feb 2005.

The Policy-Aware Web will "a rule-based policy management system" based on Semantic Web techniques. The first paper is here.

Look at all the Mac G4s!


originally uploaded by prototypo.
I was passing through LAX in early January and noticed this email terminal with a Blue Screen of Death. Why, oh why, would anyone use Windows for such an application? Still, I suppose it is free marketing, in its way.

And yes, I was immediately accosted upon taking a flash photograph in the airport. "You see, officer, I'm a geek and have this thing against Microsoft... Oh, no, not really against anything, really. I'm quite harmless. I just thought it was funny, see? Officer?" Ah, well. Welcome to the United States. Now keep you head down and your mouth shut.

Former Tucana Staff Farewell Party

Former Tucana Staff
Former Tucana Staff,
originally uploaded by prototypo.
Former Tucana staff had a farewell party at Brisbane's Paddo Tavern on 25 Jan 2005.

National Geographic Almanac of Geography

I received a request from National Geographic Books last week asking for permission to use this image on the origins of agriculture from my site at the University of Queensland. I gave them copyright permission and hope they actually use the image in their new edition Almanac of Geography. Watch for it :)

The image was created with xplanet. The directions for its creation are here.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Back to the US

I leave in the morning for the US. It will be wonderful to return to my family! Still, I'm going to miss summer in Brisbane, with its sunshine, mangos and good friends. See you on the other side of the Big Pond.

Little Crawly Things

I awoke this morning with an itchy line of flea bites on my left leg. I haven't had flea bites since, well, the last time I was in Brisbane during the summer. Later in the morning, I walked straight into a meter-wide spider web trying to get to the laundry under the house. You can generally get right out of it by immediately backing away. It simply peels off your face. The 5-cm female was, I think, a type of orb weaver. It takes a while to get used to living with so many insects and arachnids when one has been away from it for a while. There are so many in Australia that some people even expand their bird-watching to include spiders.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Kowari as a Data Set

My Ph.D. direction was a lot to chew. Although I have made a career out of ignoring people's advice when something was hard, I had to take it this time. I have had many suggestions that my thesis was going to be problematic because it was so interdisciplinary and therefore hard to find places to publish. An anthropolical journal might say that a complex systems journal should publish a given paper, and a complex systems journal might suggest that it belongs in archaeology, and so on. So, I am changing direction and taking the advice to continue work on the fundamental problem of the origin of agriculture following graduation. The new direction is a complex systems analysis of the Kowari codebase. Simple, short, bounded and relatively easy to publish. Whew!

Kowari is interesting for several reasons, the most important of which are:

  • It is a large, enterprise product with actual users.

  • We have a substantial cvs history for it.

  • We have recorded knowledge of what developers were doing during its development.

The knowledge of what happened when is the kicker. Many Open Source projects could claim the first two, but they don't typically have any way to corrolate what developers were doing during the development of the project. That data should allow some interesting analyses to be done, such as how "busy" objects changed during the development lifecycle, the relationship between a scale-free network representation of the code and major changes to the codebase, and whether I can manage to develop an algorithm to represent the increasing complexity of the project over time. That last one is interesting since it may be possible to develop a better metric for evaluating "build vs. buy" decisions than source lines of code counters.

Dave Carrington at UQ will become my associate supervisor and Simon Kaplan (now Dean of the Faculty of Information Technology at QUT) will remain my primary supervisor. I will stay enrolled at UQ.

Watch this space for the results.

Consulting in 2005

Whew! It has been a whirlwind couple of weeks. I have been staying with friends in Brisbane, Australia while closing Tucana's Australian office, working on my Ph.D. research and starting some consulting work. I leave for the US on Sunday and should be blogging more regularly.

It should be an interesting year. I am pleased to report that I have accepted a part-time position as "entrepreneur in residence" at Jim Hendler's MIND Lab at the University of Maryland [1]. I will start there in February. Bernadette, Jim and I will also consult together through Software Memetics. I have also started a part-time gig consulting to Data Infinity, helping them to enhance their very interesting Intervis product. Life is starting is look fun again.