Tuesday, February 28, 2012

socGSD list of publications


Refereed Journal Papers

Refereed Conference Papers

Workshop Presentations

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Posters for CHASE finally ready!

When we saw the announcement for this workshop collocated with ICSE, we thought it was the perfect chance to present our work to the Software Engineering community. We submitted a paper titled "Examining Life at the Code Face", and it was accepted.

The paper will be part of the ICSE Proceedings. The workshop will be well attended (we hear that there are around 60 participants registered), and several networking sessions are planned during the day. For this reason, the organisers asked us to prepare a poster. The dimensions we got(0.5mx1.4m) were rather odd, so we decided to go for two A2 posters, one presenting the content of the paper, and the other our research project. They were finally ready yesterday. This is how they look like:

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Lotus Sphere 2008 comes to you, and I went to it.

LotusSphere 2008 comes to you was on in the Dublin Software Lab this April 2nd 2008.

The presentations and accompanying podcasts should be here shortly

The portfolio of products is quite impressive and there is a degree of integration that is really immersive. There were repeated reference to the various generations in the workforce which I suppose stresses the inter generational aspect of those who are now using IT as part of their daily work from college ages folks or the Bebo generation to those on the edge of retirement. Dennis King made the point that there are number of ways that people approach their use of software, they would be

document centric - those who are nearing retirement

people centric - many of those currently in the workforce

community centric - the newbies

Lotus Connections really seems like a concrete attempt to build much as SameTime is/was a concrete attempt to build corporate and secure Instant Messaging. I will udate this post when I can reference specific aspects of the presentations that were of interest

We were advised after the first coffee break that we should all remember it as the place we were when we heard that Bertie had resigned.

09:45Welcome and introduction
10:00Key Note – Lotus Software Strategy – Kevin Cavanaugh (was unable to make it and Dennis King did the talk instead) IBM VP
Messaging & Collaboration
10:45Coffee Break
11:15 Lotus Software Portfolio – Presentations & Demos from Lab
Architects & Senior Developers
13:30Notes & Domino 8 & Beyond
14:20Social Software for Business – Dennis King IBM VP Advanced Collaboration
15:20Coffee Break
15:50Unified Communications

We actually finished just a little ahead of time and I managed to make the 2nd last train out of Dublin. I spoke with a number of people over the course of the day who were attending from companies that are either current users of Notes or about to shift over. During lunch we had a look at a 3D visualisation project which was particularly impressive when looking at medical applications.

It was stressed again and again throughout the day that if people want to talk to the developers at another time that the DSL would be happy to facilitate it.

Throughout the day the Innovation Centre was hosting 'Meet The Developers' sessions with many of those developers working on the products that were talked about in the auditorium. Much like Word 2007, the Notes client has undergone major revisions and it looks pretty good.

PodSmart was one lower profile product that caught my eye, basically, it can be scheduled to generate podcasts from your email and RSS feeds to synch with you iPod for you to listen to while on the commute to work. and it also intersperses it with music so it's not twenty minutes of just Via Voice. Kind of like Morning Work Radio, new and traffic with some choons.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The first IBM Cloud Computing Centre in Europe

Just like any other of the many academic collaborators IBM has across Ireland, a while ago Gabriela was invited to attend an IBM event in Dublin yesterday, March 19. The invitation email didn't give many details - an important announcement was going to be made, and the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Micheál Martin, was going to attend.

After two years of observing "life at the code face" and reading a lot about IBM's corporate culture, this was a chance to meet people at the top of the organisation and observe IBM's public (inter)face she couldn't miss!

The venue for the event was the Merrion Hotel. The IBM country general manager for Ireland, Michael Daly, opened the meeting - actually a press conference. The Minister Micheál Martin made the actual announcement: IBM is ready to open its first European Cloud Computing Centre which will be located in Mulhuddart - Dublin. IBM Vice President Willy Chiu followed, presenting the bigger picture: the concept of "cloud computing", the existing IBM cloud computing centres and the ones to be be created in the future, and how this trend fits into the general IBM strategy.

According to Mr.Chiu, the "cloud computing" concept combines grid computing, on demand services and Web 2.o technologies (the IBM Idea Factory) to provide a new type of Enterprise Data Centre.
Cloud computing is an information technology (IT) infrastructure in which dynamically shared computing resources are virtualized and accessed as a service. Cloud computing replaces the traditional data center model in which companies own and manage their own stand alone hardware and software systems. Cloud computing is an attractive proposition for small to large-sized companies. It also is a green technology model that reduces energy consumption by improving IT resource utilization, therefore requiring fewer servers to handle equivalent workloads.

One of the first IBM customers who will make use of the services of the new cloud computing centre is Sogeti (the IT services firm owned by consulting firm Cap Gemini) - Michiel Boreel CTO of Sogeti had an intervention as well, showing that this initiative "jumpstarts a new innovation culture" and they are planning to "make innovation everybody's job".

More details can be found in this IBM press release.

The press conference was followed by a demo session and more networking.
Here's a list of mentions of the event found in the media today:

- ENN- IBM to open Dublin cloud computing centre
- Information Week - IBM opens 'cloud computing' centre in Dublin
- ITPro - IBM moves into clouds and social networks
- RTE - IBM Cloud Centre brings Dublin jobs (including some audio recordings and a very low quality picture taken on the Mulhuddart campus probably with a phone camera from a car!)
- The Industry Standard via IDG - IBM opens cloud computing center in Dublin.

Without any possible doubt, IBM has a great innovation culture and the proper tools to support it. But will simply providing the same infrastructure (and consulting) to its clients lead to the same results?! From what we saw, people develop local, situated practices around the tools they appropriate. There are cases in the literature where software development teams making use of the same tool had built completely different local practices around that tool.
It's a pity that so many of the approaches to innovation and knowledge management are so rigid and mechanical as opposed to the richness and beauty of what can be observed in practice!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Colloquium on "Challenging Groupware: Emerging configurations for distributed interaction"

Gabriela had spotted this colloquium titled "Challenging Groupware: Emerging configurations for distributed interaction" and we agreed that it seemed very interesting from our point of view, both because of the topic and because of the people giving presentations. Eventually it was decided that I would have the privilege to attend the event and I consequently traveled to London and the colloquium venue Commonwealth Club on the 12th of February (incidentally the same date as Gustav III becomes the King of Sweden back in 1771...)

The event was organized by MiMeG Research Node of the UK ESRC National Centre for e-Social Science, including Jon Hindmarsh and Dylan Tutt (both of King's College London). Some of the speakers were Christian Heath (King's College London), Tony Tang (University of British Columbia), Paul Luff (King's College London) and Gloria Mark (University of California, Irvine).

The purpose of the colloquium was to highlight and discuss issues "raised as a result of distributed collaborations, that are becoming increasingly important in the context of social and organisational developments, such as the emergence of global firms and scientific collaboratories."
In his introductory talk, Christian Heath argued for the importance of understanding three aspects in particular in groupware research: peoples mutual perception of objects, supporting participation and co-participation, and the integration of all resources (digital as well as tangible) in the collaboration and interaction. He also made the point that - even today - social scientists in this area know little about the organization of the interaction and that this field is dominated by social challenges as well as technical.

In line with this, the focus of the talks encompassed evaluations of concrete technical solutions (such as Kenton O'Haras overview of HP's HALO Collaboration Environment), more generic conceptual investigations of collaborative interaction (such as Tony Tang's talk about the dynamics of sharing a display in a small group) and macro-perspectives on issues highlighted by groupware research (such as Paul Luff's overview of their research on creating media assemblies and Gloria Mark's talk about the trend of new collaboration paradigms in today's world).

All in all, it was a very interesting event to attend. Although most of the content was not directly applicable for what we are doing, there were many overlapping areas and highlighted issues that can inspire our own research direction. Lastly, I believe that Cambell Catering here at UL could have learned a lot from the Commonwealth Club catering...the light lunch snacks were exquisite, nutritious, and very filling... No greasy sausages or deep fried chicken legs as far as the eye could see! :-P

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Celebrating Prof David Lorge Parnas at UL

Yesterday, UL organised a lecture (and a reception) to celebrate the IEEE Computer Society's 60th Anniversary Award made to Professor David Lorge Parnas.

Hosted by Prof. Vincent Cunnane, UL's VP Research, the event included two talks, one by David Parnas himself and one by Fionn Murtagh, the new Director of ICT at the Science Foundation Ireland.

The title of Prof. Parnas' talk was:
‘Getting Lucky’ in Software Engineering Research. He spoke about his most important accomplishments and offered a possible recipe for success:

1. Start with a real problem.
2. Never just solve that problem, look for a generalization.
3. Abstracted - looked at the heart of the problem.
4. Search the literature to find out if the problem has been solved by others.
5. If not already solved, solve the abstract problem
6. Solve the original problem.
7. Solve other problems.
8. Publish.

The second part of the talk enumerated a number of problems in today's software engineering research:
- reacting to papers not to real problems, cliques in science;
- confusing: technology, fundamentals, irrelevance;
- last 9 papers scholarship;
- reacting to symptoms rather than cases;
- reacting to funding buzzwords;
- confusing popularity with importance;
- empirical Software Engineering;
- Out of area research (management science, psychology, sociology, economy, abstract mathematics);
- beware of innovation thin line;
- research metrics;
- cooperation with the industry;
- rethinking education in Software Engineering.
While criticizing simplistic experiments and interviews as reliable research methods("people ask people things and they believe them!"), Prof. Parnas mentioned: "That's one of the reasons why I always enjoyed having Liam Bannon around - he's a psychologist! he knows better than that".

He concluded his talk by saying it was "time for a slow careful restart".

Professor Fionn Murtagh presented a briefing entitled “An ICT View of the Current Conjuncture and the Topology of Innovation”, providing some interesting insights into current and future priorities for the SFI in the ICT field.

Update- amateur recordings of the two talks are available here:
And more pictures.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Erich Gamma talk on developing Eclipse and JAZZ

As I am spending time doing fieldwork at IBM's Dublin Software Lab, I had the opportunity to attend a talk by Erich Gamma yesterday. He is one of the authors of the famous computer science book Design Patterns (thus 1/4 of the Gang of Four) and one of the people behind Eclipse and, currently, JAZZ.

In fact, I was in a bit of luck: I first heard of his talk as it was announced that he'd give it as part of the Lero Topics in Software Engineering seminar series at UCD. But that was in the afternoon and I was dreading facing the Dublin traffic to get down there in time. However, by coincidence I overheard some people mentioning the talk and it turns out he was giving the exact same talk at the IBM lab in the morning that same day! No need to travel further from my comfy desk than down to the local auditorium...although I did make a detour to the in-house cafe to acquire a nice, big cup of coffee. ;-)

The title of the talk was
"Developing Software like a band plays Jazz" (see full abstract here). It was a very interesting talk, mainly focusing on the agile practices applied when developing Eclipse and how reflections on this lead them to developing JAZZ and has formed the underpinning values embedded in this software. JAZZ integrates functionality and support for all major areas of software development - development, collaboration, project management, and organisational processes - and mainly emphasises the importance of transparance and general awareness.

I especially liked one of his main points, namely the importance of having an agile rythm in the project. They were working in 6 weeks cycles, delivering a working build at the end of each iteration. This held product quality at a constant high level throughout the project life-time, avoiding the common "hanging rope" trend that many projects experience: the quality and stability of the developed product is at the highest in the beginning and end of the project, but is at a constant low in-between, forming a sort of "hanging rope" curve. With agile 6-weeks cycles, the cruve rather resembles waves, as the quality and stability is raised again at every iteration. Among other things, this is very good for motivation and maintainance of a clear vision of the final product.

It was a very interesting talk that gave an insight into the practices of this high profile software development project (albeit mainly from a process point-of-view, IMHO). In addition, the team I am working with at IBM are, in fact, using a beta version of Rational Team Concert (built on the JAZZ plattform) and are applying many of the same agile principles as the Eclipse/JAZZ team, so most of the developers were attending the talk with me, making it all the more interesting!

Some podcasts about JAZZ and Rational Team Concert:

Kartik Kanakasabesan, product manager for Rational Team Concert, discusses the development environment Rational Team Concert is designed for and looks at some of the challenges Rational Team Concert is intended to address

Lee Nackman, Mike O'Rourke, and John Wiegand, Rational leaders on the open beta of Rational Team Concert Express