Saturday, July 24, 2010

University visitor @ Australian National University


Tomorrow is (sadly) my last official day* as a university visitor at the Australian National University (ANU), Canberra.
I've been here since late June, invited by ANU adjunct and Funnelback chief scientist (and ex-CSIRO) David Hawking, to visit the Algorithms and Data Research Group, School of Computer Science, College of Engineering and Computer Science.

I was installed in a lovely office



looking out into the campus,


where I've been working on large scale journal visualization, a continuation of the Torngat project. I've been working on a couple of things, including applying Mulan to the multi-label problem of the corpus I am working with, so I can get precision and recall to evaluate this method empirically. My productivity has been hampered by a recurring stomach problem (which appears to be gone this last week: yay!), so I've not progressed as much as I would have wanted to.... :-(
At the end of last week I gave a presentation at CSIRO (in the same building) on this work entitled: Search refinement: visualizing research journals in semantic space. After this talk I had a discussion with Alex Krumpholz and Hanna Suominen, and it is looking like we will be working together on a project involving Torngat.

I've also enjoyed the company of John Maindonald, (went on a very nice Sunday walk with him and his wife and some of their friends) one of the important players in the R universe. He's arranged an invite for me to talk tomorrow about how I've used R in the Torngat project, with the Canberrra R Users Group.

I also enjoyed an afternoon this past week meeting with the Australian National Data Service (ANDS) people, arranged by the wonderful Monica Omodei (formerly Berko), learning about their success in putting together ANDS and where they were going. They were also interested in Torngat, so I gave them a brief presentation on it.

A bit of a surprise collaboration: I have committed myself to helping improve the single-threaded Lucene indexing benchmark in the DaCapo Java benchmarks, after discussions with ANU's Steve Blackburn, a Java VM and GC guru. I've also committed to implementing a new multi-threaded indexing benchmark. Most of the code will be derived from existing code from my LuSql tool (it is actually from the yet un-released LuSql v1.0 codebase).

While it has been winter (Spring/Fall by Canadian standards...) here in Canberra, I have still been amazed at the fantastic birds that are (still) here. Like nothing we have at home, there are the loud and raucous-yet-endearing sulfur crested cockatoos:



Gang-gang cockatoos, crimson and eastern rosellas, and many others that flittered past in a rush of colour or sang in the distance, unseen and unrecognized by me. These guys below were also fairly common, but I'm not sure what they are:
A number of people have been very helpful and gratious with their time, and I'm going to list them here, in no particular order: Alex Krumpholz & family (thanks for the hike up Black Mountain & dinner & talk afterwards!); Tom Rowlands; Tim Jones; Paul Thomas; David Hawking & Kathy Griffiths; Diane Kossatz; Chelsea Holton; John Maindonald; Monica Omodei; Hanna Suominen; Steve Blackburn.

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I think this is Mount Stromlo, (the low hill/mountain to the right, with the mountains of the Brindabella Range (I think) in the background) from Black Mountain. You can see some of the Mount Stromlo Observatory at white dots on the crest of Mt. Stromlo. The observatory and the forest that was on Mt. Stromlo were mostly destroyed in the 2003 Canberra bushfires. When I was up at the observatory earlier in the month there were many burnt-out tree stumps to be seen. And 'roos. :-)








*Today is July 25th: I am 14 hours ahead here in Canberra of the eastern time zone in North America. But blogger thinks I am there on the 24th...

1 comment:

gkamp said...

Galahs ...you're right about the birds there.