Life Long Learning for Keeping Engineers at the Fore

From “Two Score and More: A Lifetime of Learning for Keeping Engineers at the Fore”

I suggest the Lifelong Learning Imperative truly is a grand challenge.

Here’s why: The scope is not only ambitious, it is bold. It encompasses engineers at all ages; it embraces engineering at all stages.

It’s also a good time to consider the difference between “being an engineer” and “becoming an engineer” – and the ways that lifelong learning can make a difference in the lives of individual engineers, in the innovative and competitive capacity of our economy, and in the vibrancy of the profession of engineering.


My journey began when I heard a podcast on how Science is drowning in data on Real Science and how Scientists are turning to Cloud Computing to solve some of the problems. This took me to the research funded by NSF (about 5 million dollars to 14 Universities) on a wide variety of problems from Data Analytics to Visualization.

If you want to take a little peek into the future and some of the problems concerning nations, it is good to track organizations like NSF. What do they fund? Why do they fund it? What were the results? What happened to the technology built, lessons learned? Is there an opportunity to use these as a base for a business? Or simply as research data?

LinkLog: Successful Platforms

Here is a nice discussion worth reading about Silicon Valley, recession, disruptive products and successful platforms:

He says that a platform ill be successful if it has three characteristics. It has to be able to commoditize a market. Secondly, it has to obey the 10x better/cheaper rule.

Thirdly, a platform must allow you to add value with custom additions. The reason Netscape wasn’t a platform was that no one could program to it, nobody could add value. (By the way, that’s also true for virtualization…) Unless you have all three characteristics, you won’t have a disruptive chain that can accelerate a startup from zero to sixty, and turn it into a major player.

Makes a lot of sense. Either all these or an outstanding product/business model as in the case of Google Search. The discussion is also optimistic about the prospects of Silicon Valley, some musings about what it takes to increase adoption of Green Technology. Looking forward to reading the second part.

LinkLog: Cloud Computing

Here are alerts from TopicMinder on Cloud Computing

  1. How I’m Moving My Data Center into The Cloud
  2. IBM to offer cloud computing services for enterprises
  3. Who’s Getting ROI from Cloud Computing Now
  4. What Gartner Didn’t Say About Client Virtualization
  5. Is your head in the clouds?
  6. Windows Azure: Why Microsoft Better Get it Right
  7. How to Explain Cloud Computing to Your CFO
  8. Ray Ozzie’s dream of connectivity
  9. Microsoft Azure Services Platform: Opening Up Cloud Computing
  10. Q&A: Nicholas Carr on ‘The Big Switch’ to Cloud Computing
  11. Windows clouds are rolling in
  12. Capacity planning and the cloud
  13. Comparing clusters, grids and clouds
  14. Microsoft Further Embraces Cloud Computing With Online SharePoint, Exchange
  15. Announces Open Source CloudBase at 1st International Cloud Computing Conference & Expo
  16. Cloud Computing Will See Developers Soar to New Heights
  17. Salesforce to offer cloud computing in India
  18. Cloud Computing Survey: IT Leaders See Big Promise, Have Big Security Questions
  19. The Clouds Can Do Mathematics

LinkLog: Computing – The Fifth Utility?

Here is the link to the paper,  and here is the abstract from the paper:

With the significant advances in Information and Communications Technology (ICT) over the last half century, there is an increasingly perceived vision that computing will one day be the 5th utility (after water, electricity, gas, and telephony). This computing utility, like all other four existing utilities, will provide the basic level of computing service that is considered essential to meet the everyday needs of the general community. To deliver this vision, a number of computing paradigms have been proposed, of which the latest one is known as Cloud computing. Cloud computing aims to enable the dynamic creation of next-generation Data Centers by assembling services of networked Virtual Machines so that users are able to access applications from anywhere in the world on demand. Hence, in this paper, we define Cloud computing and provide the architecture for creating market-oriented Clouds by leveraging technologies such as Virtual Machines (VMs); provide thoughts on market-based resource management strategies that encompass both customer-driven service management and computational risk management to sustain Service Level Agreement (SLA)-oriented resource allocation; reveal our early thoughts on interconnecting Clouds for dynamically creating global Cloud exchanges and markets; present some representative Cloud platforms, especially those developed in industries along with our current work towards realizing marketoriented resource allocation of Clouds by leveraging the 3rd generation Aneka enterprise Grid technology; describe a meta-negotiation infrastructure to establish global Cloud exchanges and markets; illustrate a case study of harnessing ‘Storage Clouds’ for high performance content delivery; and conclude with the need for convergence of competing IT paradigms for delivering our 21st century vision.

Technology Trends – A List

Here is a small sample of trends in software.  This is work in progress. I will keep updating it frequently. Instead of waiting till I have my full list, I thought I may just publish this crude list and get some feed back. Some trends are current (like Web 2.0) some of them are future (Semantic Web). Over the next few weeks, I will revisit and keep adding to the list. If you think some thing should be included here, please add your comment. If you have a blog or discussion on trends, you can add that link too. Some of these trends are great blog topics too.

Each trend is an opportunity (or several opportunities). These trends create new jobs, transform existing jobs and the way we live.

Application Development AJAXRich Internet Applications – Microsoft’s Silverlight, Adobe Flex, Open LazloWeb Frameworks – Ruby On Rails, Django

Scripting Languages – Python, Ruby

Parallel Programming – Haskell, Erlang

Database XML databases and XML support in relational databasesNew query languages – SPARQL

New query interfaces to languages – LINQ

Open Data  – Freebase, DbPedia

Streaming Databases, Continuous Query Languages

Web Data Stores – Amazon’s SimpleDB, S3

Information Distribution Podcasting, Screencasting, VideoCasting, Blogs, Wikis, Micro-blogging, Portals, Feed Readers
Information Mining Text AnalyticsA wiki for text analytics
Software Agents
Information Sharing and Collaboration Knowledge ManagementWikis and Portals, Social Bookmarks, Video Conferencing
Information Visualization A Periodic Table Of Visualization Methods
Interaction AIML – Alicebot and othersTouch/Multi-touch/Surface  – iPhone, Microsoft Surface
Laptops for Learning Triggered by the visionary OLPC effort, this is a broad movement that may spark several new trends in cheaper, better laptops and several innovative interfaces for interaction.This leads to a broader trend on mlearning – mobile learning. Learning content on cell phones.
Mashups An easy way to combine services in hours, days, weeks triggered by Web ServicesWatch for  Enterprise Mashups, Mashup Tools, Languages for Mashups
Mobile and Wireless Open Mobile Platforms – ex: AndroidLocation based mobile servicesWiMax, 3G
Mutli-core Intel is promising a 32 core chip by 2010. What do we do with all that power. Where are the programmers and programming tools for leveraging this trend? How can we use a multi-core chip in every device from a PDA to a computer?Parallel Programming – Techniques, Tools, Research, Initiatives
Services Software as a ServicePublishing as a ServiceMentoring as a Service – MentornetKnowledge Sharing Services – Wikipedia, Wikibooks, LibriVox, WikiHow
Services Infrastructure On Demand Computing, Elastic Computing, Cloud Computing  – Amazons ECS, Google’s AppEngine
Search Collaborative Search – Like Wikia
Contextual Search – Yahoo’s Y!Q and Eurekster Swicki Powerset
Semantic Web Semantic Wikis – A wiki on steroids
Linked Data – FreeBase, Twine, DbPedia
Social Applications Is Social networking site a service or infrastructure? Should it be a layer on the web?Social Networks – Facebook.Others to watch OpenSocial, Ning, LinkedIn,Social Networks in the Enterprise,FriendConnect, OpenData, Data Portability, OpenId
Web Services and SOA Web Services are the new breed of application components. Popularized by Amazon, web services are growing at a rapid pace. You can get a list of publicly available services at Programmable Web


Top 10 Disruptive IT Trends – CIO Insight


WebTrends Map 2008 – A clickable Map

MarkMail – a tool for parsing mailing lists and providing trend information