Sunday, May 30, 2010

NevaCamp 2010

Just left NevaCamp 2010 - the Conference/BarCamp about future internet and start-ups.

Organizational stuff is not so perfect. While few speakers and topics were really interesting.

I'd like to mention

- Rostislav Shorgin @telerost, Head of Search Online-Marketing Group at Yandex. He talked about trends and future of information retrieval (aka search).

- Garrett Johnston, Strategic Marketing Director at MTS and President at Brainstore). He's got vision and he talked about a lot of things: from ideas/concepts share in current businesses and long tail of political parties to customer/user experience and Russian creativity.

BarCamp sessions
I've remembered
- 'square' table about twitter by сс00ffee
- OpenId Notebook project presentation by Nikolay Krasilnikov and Nikolay Vyahhi (They try to unlock W3C FoaF's potential for social networks users).

The event's concept
Vitaly Vlasov and Co. follow the idea of BarCamps by Chris Messina (everyone can come and participate).
And it seems that for our community that open format is premature (for 2-3 years?). To have productive, meaningful discussions and new insights it seems better to play with Foo Camp - invitation-only participant driven conference started by Tim O'Reilly. Maybe I'm wrong and the issue with audience is just that the NevaCamp detailed program of the conference part was not published till the event's first day.

Twitter tag #nevacamp

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Lectures on Object & Database Replication, Ubiquitous Computing, Distributed Information Retrieval, etc

с 22-го по 31-е мая в рамках Computer Science клуба при ПОМИ РАН профессорами Университета Лугано (Швейцария)будут прочитаны следующие четыре миникурса: см. анонс

* Software Verification (Natasha Sharygina)
* From Object Replication to Database Replication (Fernando Pedone)

* Distributed Information Retrieval (Fabio Crestani)

* Ubiquitous Computing -- Vision, Technology, and Implications (Marc Langheinrich)

Лекции будут читаться на английском языке, каждый курс будет состоять
из трёх полуторачасовых лекций.

Начало -- в субботу в 17:00. Подробное расписание см. в гугл-календаре:
Расписание на сайте клуба чуть отличается.

Встреча ВК:

Sunday, May 16, 2010

EMC St. Petersburg, Symmetrix and Smart Kids

В нынешнюю субботу провели с Филиппом Смирновым экскурсию в центр разработок EMC (он же Center of Excellence) для школьников 7-10 классов победителей олимпиады СПбГУ ИТМО по информатике.

Школьники бодры, много знают (например, что есть SSD-драйвы, гипервизоры и куда более эзотерические языки чем Haskell). А еще они задают несметное число вопросов. И это великолепно! Вместо запланированных 40 минут на всё-про-всё получился час сорок.

Обычно, если практически любой аудитории предлагаешь прерывать выступление вопросами, то это безопасно для графика, так как вопросов будет мало, даже если пообещаешь активным участникам что-нибудь вроде блокнотов. Но олимпиадные школьники явно не тот случай. Средне-статистический школьник, причем уже получивший блокнот, продолжал генерировать вопросы с частотой один вопрос в две-три минуты.

Я рассказывал про корпорацию, а Филипп про Symmetrix, про каково быть программистом и про то, что нужно учить английский язык. Показали дата-центр (из-за стекла) и рабочие места инженеров. Неожиданная популярность свалилась на вендинговый автомат (у нас в офисе несколько штук установлено). Школьники закупили в нем столько еды, сколько коллеги за день не покупают.

Вообще опыт новый и интересный. Студентов мы давно экскурсиями развлекаем, на сей же неделе с Сергеем Поспеловым делали экскурсию для третьекурсников петербургского университета путей сообщения. Им, кстати, тоже про Symmetrix рассказывали, в том числе про душераздирающее видео на YouTube! про Recycling the Symmetrix.

Monday, May 10, 2010

EMC Continues to Expand Research and Startup Collaborations

Almost a year ago EMC Research Cambridge was founded, a small research arm near MIT. This announcement was accompanied with joining MIT Media Lab as a sponsor.
This April came the next announcement, that EMC has joined Plug and Play Tech Center as a corporate partner to advance the company in building EMC Innovation Network.

"Startup companies continue to be a tremendous driver of innovation for the IT industry," said Jeff Nick, EMC Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer. "Plug and Play Tech Center will give EMC's technology community access to startup activities, which will complement the organic development of new concepts at our R&D centers on the West Coast and around the world. We look forward to helping many of the companies hosted at the Plug and Play Tech Center move their ideas forward."

I've already stressed (the post is in Russian) that here is Russia we lack of structures like MIT Media Lab. Plug and Play Tech Center shows a good example for Russian startup support organizations like Ingria Business Incubator in St. Petersburg.
By the way, I really like the page about internship at PnP Tech Center - exact, clear and detailed.

Photo by comicbase.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

EMC Students Projects: Content Addressable Storages and XAM DSL

As student projects initiated in EMC St. Petersburg Center of Excellence evolve, I will write about these projects one by one. The first project to tell about is XAM XReplicator.

We have various ways to choose directions and technologies for student projects. In this case an area - eXtensible Access Method (XAM) to play with was recommended by Steve Todd, EMC's Distinguished Engineer. XAM is an open specification developing by Storage Network Association. Wikipedia defines XAM as:
an API for fixed content aware storage devices. XAM replaces the various proprietary interfaces that have been used for this purpose in the past. Content generating applications now have a standard means of saving and finding their content across a broad array of storage devices.
For a really good XAM overview pls refer to
a ComputerWorld article by Russell Kay.

Steve works a lot with XAM (see e.g. his thesis: 'Comparing the XAM API with File System Programming' or the latest article in the the International Journal of Digital Curation) and proposed it as one of the promising technology to study and research (because its about object storage and storage management - the two areas of adjacent technologies with a market potential, see slide #18 in his talk on intrapreneurship).

Three students Alexander Burmak, Yury Mirov and Igor Kovalev (they study at different departments in the National Research University of Information Technologies, Mechanics and Optics) with Petr Alekseev as a team's curator working together for the last five months learned and discovered XAM and then implemented XReplicator a java tool set, consisted of:
  • Library to enable XAM (eXtensible Access Method) storages replication
  • Utility that provides console user interface for replication (XUtility)
  • DSL (Domain-Specific Language) XOnce, that makes query to storages much easier
From my perspective one of the most interesting part of the project is that students applied the technology they are also fond of - Domain Specific Languages. And especially it's great because to create XOnce (XAM DSL) they work with the Meta Programming System by JetBrains, that is a free product with developers' team located in St. Petersburg.

For more details see the slides below and Igor's blog post.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Events of May

May, 8-16
St. Petersburg, Introduction to Bioinformatics course by Mikhail Kapushesky at Computer Science Club. Mikhail works in the European Bioinformatics Institute, so I really rely on very good content. All the lectures are usually recorded and available to further watching (livecast is probable). Please also have a look at the updated seasonal student schools list by Alexander Kulikov, Computer Science Club Coordinator.

May, 15
Moscow, Spring School on «Software Project Management» at University - Higher School of Economics (School of Software Engineering). Co-organizer - educational center PeopleMind. 1-day event, participation is free of charge.

May, 16
St. Petersburg, Language Festival (Lingva Festivalo, Фестиваль Языков). There are few Festivals in Russia. In St. Petersburg the Language Festival is conducted for already four years. I visited it in 2009 and I really liked it. Here is my note about what I remembered in 2009 (in Russian).

May, 15-16
St. Peterburg, Media HackDay. Russian HackDays evangelist and organizer Yury Lifshits just did the event with the similar topic (but in different format) in US - RemakeCamp, an unconference about the future of journalism and online media. To participate in St. Petersburg HackDay 4 (Media and Content) are to be invited: media professionals, designers, programmers, internet projects producers and students. Add your project to a projects list, or join a listed team.
At the moment I rate as the most interest project City Murmur by Gleb Kalinin - short audio interviews that are related to a particular places at the city map.

May, 17-18
, Conference 'IT Education in Russia'. The conference is organized by the Russian Information & Computer Technologies Industry Association (APKIT). Each year one of the Russian Universities acts as a host for the event. It is the place where people from the industry and academia share their experience in mutual cooperation. In 2010 the conference takes place for the 8th year.

I've started to participate in this conference in 2006 (thanks to Andrey Filev and Andrey Terekhov Jr.). My thesis based on the article published in PC Week (Russian Ediation) in 2005 were accepted and I gave my first talk about Ad-hoc Education concept at the 4th conference. EMC support the conference since 2007 (that year my talk was about students potential in education process, slides are here), so as I joined EMC in 2008, I continue to speak, but with sponsor talks and master classes organization (see my report for 2009). This year you can find me also in the conference's Program Committee.

See updated conference program for this year.

May, 28-30
St. Petersburg, NevaCamp 2010
Vitaly Vlasov, IFMO PhD Student and President of Open and Future Web Foundation organize the 2nd international unconference NevaCamp.
This event is about technologies (mashups, augmented reality and even internet of things, location-based, new media, real-time web, etc) and Reality, and how virtual and "real" realties can go together.
In 2009 I (inspired by the event's 2nd day) prepared a draft for the talk jam about P2P and cloud convergence. A bit later we did that jam at EMC office in a closed group of engineers and specially invited guests. So if time allows I'll back to the idea to conduct this jam at NevaCamp 2010.

All the photos (click them to see more) has been taken at the corresponding events a year ago.