_________________________________________________________________ AI Vol. 8, No. 13.1 IS April 28, 1998 CS THE COMPUTISTS' COMMUNIQUE "Careers beyond programming." 1> Computists' news. 2> Industry news. 3> Career jobs. 4> Education. 5> Msc. 6> Biochemistry. _________________________________________________________________ The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled. -- Plutarch. [DailyQuote, 20Apr98.] Greetings, Computists! Ah, that was great. I should take a vacation every week. 1> Computists' news: Many thanks to the Computists (and their friends) who helped me with the college selection decision. Brandon has chosen UC Berkeley, unless something else comes up. (Harvey Mudd is still a possibility.) UVa and Georgia Tech are also great choices, but Brandon decided to go where several of his friends are going. UCB is large enough to provide diversity and culture shock, cheap enough (in-state) to consider five years of training, and well-known enough to confer respect worldwide. We've heard only good things about the graduates and faculty (of any of these schools). Brandon is certain to get good training and plenty of options and opportunities. As a side effect, my family is impressed by the quality of response we were able to generate. Thanks! I'm now more committed to the mutual-aid professional association model for Computists International. Nearly all who responded to my advertising query have stressed quality over low price or increased circulation. It was also suggested that we should have our own email discussion list or newsgroup, for those who are interested. I'll look into setting one up. As to conferences and such, there's no need for CI to duplicate what the other societies provide. We can maintain an overview and perhaps even fill the cracks. We are an "alternative" professional society, or a bridge between other societies. Sometimes we're even a bridge to the business world. (A half-way house for recovering academics? :-) Interesting opportunity: Ronald Michaels in Tennessee is looking for complex-valued applications for his information theory-based neural network architecture. It can do pattern classification, nonlinear functional approximation, or next-step prediction of time series with some or all inputs and outputs being complex. Ron would appreciate data sources, pointers to the literature, collaboration, etc. <firstname.lastname@example.org>. [28Apr98.] 2> Industry news: Microsoft beat Wall Street's expectations again, with a 29% increase in quarterly profit. Revenue grew 17%, with strong sales of business software. However, the company cautioned that "revenue growth was its lowest in two years" and is likely to decline further this year. Profits for the quarter were $1.34B. [SJM, 23Apr98, 1C.] (Rapid but slowing growth, instead of continued more-than-exponential growth. Breaks my heart.) IBM has decided to sell integrated "e-business tools" instead of advertising its PCs, laptops, and workstations. This is a move away from competing on hardware price. IBM will spend $100M this next year to announce that "The Work Matters. The People Matter. The Tools Matter." [WSJ, 15Apr98. EduP.] Sun is re-absorbing SunSoft and its four other semi-autonomous "planet" operating companies, to form seven product-oriented divisions. The principle effect will be a unified sales force able to sell complete systems solutions. [Miguel Helft, SJM, 23Apr98, 1C.] AT&T Labs is about to open a branch in Silicon Valley, according to David Nagel. [Patrick McKenna, Newsbytes, 22Apr98. Bill Park.] 3> Career jobs (in our CCJ 8.13 digest this week): Dartmouth (Hanover, NH): postdocs in mobile software agents, IR. (*) Boston: MS/PhD sr. researcher in speech recognition. Carnegie Mellon U. (Pittsburgh, PA): postdoc in distributed agents, ML. Carnegie Mellon U. (Pittsburgh, PA): BS programmer for distributed agents, ML. Carnegie Group (Pittsburgh, PA): researcher in IR, text processing. Honeywell (Minneapolis): US PhD sr. researcher in scheduling, constraints, or DAI. NASA Ames (Moffett Field, CA): US director of robotics research group. USC ISI (Marina del Rey, CA): PhD in agents, ML, robotics. UKent (Canterbury, UK): postdoc in constraint logic programming. ULeeds (UK): PhD lecturer in AI, CS, IS, or related areas. UEssex (UK): chair/lecturers in DAI, multi-robot systems, SE, etc. BT Labs (Ipswich, UK): MS/PhDs in intelligent systems, agents, ML. UTuebingen (Germany): MS/PhD computational linguists. UDortmund (Germany): researcher for agent-based information filtering. JRC (Ispra, Italy): EU computational linguist/programmer for document clustering, automatic indexing. * captain's cool job of the week. (Selected by Brian "captain" Murfin.) 4> Education: A new report from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Education says that students at 125 US research universities may never see the professors listed in recruiting materials, and may graduate without tasting genuine research or "knowing how to think logically, write clearly, or speak coherently." Shirley Kenny's commission accuses the schools of false advertising and calls for a new academic culture based on problem solving instead of "untrained teaching assistants [and] tenured drones who deliver set lectures from yellowed notes." [Robert L. Park, WHAT'S NEW, 24Apr98.] In the early 1960s, an average college student could expect to spend 60 hours/week on schoolwork. It's now down to 29 hours, and some of that is remedial work to make up for poor high school courses. In the Cal State system -- which supposedly recruits from the top third of high school graduates -- half the freshmen need remedial math and/or English. [Anne Matthews, "Bright College Years." George F. Will, Newsweek, 13Apr98, p. 84.] Many large corporate training groups -- 40% of those surveyed -- plan to seek university partnerships this year. The colleges will provide training adapted to particular businesses. This business will then move to Internet and videoconference delivery. [CW, 13Apr98. EduP.] Colorado's contribution to the Western Governors University (aka "Internet University") was supposed to be $100K, but Governor Roy Romer upped that to $2.9M taken from an energy conservation fund. He says the non-physical university will save energy, and is more important than insulating another few hundred low-income homes. [Rocky Mountain News. This is True, 19Apr98.] Universities are finding that their distance learning programs are popular with on-campus students. 97% of Arizona State University's distance students live within the state, and 80% in SUNY's program live on campus. Administrators are worried about revenue and resources migrating away from traditional classes. [Chronicle of Higher Ed., 27Mar98. EduP.] The J. of Interactive Media in Education (JIME) is an electronic forum exploring multimedia articles, authoring tools, interactive software, web-based discussion systems, and online peer review. <http://www-jime.open.ac.uk/> or <email@example.com>. [<S.Buckingham.Shum@open.ac.uk>, epub_announce, 16Apr98.] 5> Msc.: ACM Computing Surveys has announced a 2nd annual student tutorial paper contest. Papers of 5K-12K words are due by 30Jun98, and may have been written in the past two years. <http://osl-www.cs.umass.edu/~cavazos/contest/>. [John Cavazos <firstname.lastname@example.org>, comp.org.ieee, 22Apr98.] US residents can enter the "Win Your Dream Machine Sweepstakes II" <http://www.cnet.com/Digdispatch/dispatch22.html?dd>, from COMPUTERS.COM. Please limit your dreams to $5K. [CNET Digital Dispatch, 16Apr98. Bill Park.] Today is the start of the Roman festival of Floralia, sacred to Flora, the goddess of flowers and the pleasures of youth. This is traditionally a day of sexual license and experimentation. -- The Pagan Daybook. [Brian Murphin, 28Apr98.] (Thank goodness society has risen above that sort of nonsense. Now our youth are free to experiment whenever they choose. Hmmm.) 6> Biochemistry: Larry Hunter did a Medline search for us on the raisin treatment. Canker sores -- or recurrent aphthous stomatitis -- are of unknown cause or cure, but honey is one reported pallative. Perhaps raisins work because of their very high sugar content, or because of an immediate (30 min.) high lactic acid production in the mouth -- more than for chocolate, sugar, jelly beans, Oreo cookies, or potato chips. (After two hours, the order is reversed.) However, raisins do have anti-mold factors. One test found that raisins resist aflatoxin molds better than dried pineapples, apricots, and especially figs. (Aflatoxin is the potent carcinogen/poison found in rotten peanuts.) [<email@example.com>, 17Apr98.] Doug Fraser noted that honey does spoil, as it supports slow growth of anaerobic bacteria that can produce botulin toxin. Heathy adults are seldom affected, but don't feed honey to children under three. Unrefrigerated maple syrup also gets moldy, due to its moisture content. [<firstname.lastname@example.org>, 17Apr98.] I find that the more offbeat a news item is, the more feedback I'm likely to get. If strange stuff from the net interests you, check out Jorn Barger's Robot Wisdom WebLog at <http://www.mcs.net/~jorn/html/weblogs/weblog.html>. Barger posts anything interesting he comes across, under the slogan "I EDIT THE NET." He also promotes some rather extreme political views, and the philosophy of James Joyce. Artificial intelligence is one of Barger's principal interests. CH3 His entry for 27Apr98 includes | Ilmari Karonen's monospaced ASCII O=C---N rendering of the caffeine molecule, / \ plus tips on onion slicing to avoid H3C-N C=O sulfuric acid production in your eyes. \ / That comes from the Cyberchef C===C question-answering service at | \ <http://www.foodtv.com/pcychef.htm>. | N-CH3 Barger plans to produce a $20 hardcopy | / edition of his log, with 240 large-format N===C pages containing 2MB of text. Contact | <email@example.com> to request notification. H (That diagram formatting will play hell with IR and NLP programs, won't it? :-) Speaking of caffeine, Ted Bahr reported last year that this alkaloid (C8H10N4O2) is the most universally recognized tool for improving a programmer's productivity. It's a stimulant and diuretic. Common doses are 38mg (Pepsi), 41mg (Dr. Pepper), 46mg (Coke, Classic Coke, Diet Coke), 54mg (Mountain Dew), and 71mg (Jolt). Jolt is a good choice for doing quick code patches, but fails to live up to its claim of "all the sugar and twice the caffeine" (relative to these leading competitors). Excessive consumption may lead to high-speed driving or incoherent babbling. Coke is good for long-term use, with Dr. Pepper for an occasional change of user interface. Mountain Dew wins as the Unix programmer's high-performance drink -- for those who like the sweet taste. It has a better balance of sugar to caffeine than does Jolt. Besides, it won't stain T-shirts (known as the Sleeve of Eratosthenes test). <http://www.lysator.liu.se/~cardeci/caffeine.html>. [Apr97.] -- Ken It is when the wind is high and the waves are threatening that ye become alert and keen. -- Frances J. Roberts, "Come Away My Beloved." [votd, 08May97.] _________________________________________________________________ ISSN 1084-015X. Publisher/Editor: Dr. Kenneth I. Laws, 4064 Sutherland Drive, Palo Alto, CA 94303; (650) 493-7390. Internet: <firstname.lastname@example.org> or <email@example.com>. Copyright (C) 1998 by Kenneth I. Laws. The Computists' Communique is a service to members of Computists International. Members may make copies for backup or recruiting, and may pass along occasional articles with attribution. Details and archives are on <http://www.computists.com>.