_________________________________________________________________

 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.  
<michael@planetc.com>.  [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 <jime@open.ac.uk>.  
[<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 <cavazos@cs.umass.edu>, 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.)  [<hunter@nlm.nih.gov>, 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.  [<dwfraser@lucent.com>, 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
            |            <jorn@mcs.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.]

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