22 October 2009

A Revolution 40 Years in the Making

Computing Now | A Revolution 40 Years in the Making

The IEEE Computer Society have publsihed this interesting retrospective to mark 40 years of the Internet. It's a summary page, with links to two articles: An interview with Len Kleinrock on the origins of the Internet (Mar/Apr 1997 IEEE Internet Computing); A contribution on the Internet's future (Jan/Feb 2000).

I think a lot of people who talk about the Future Internet should read this and understand what the Internet is and where it came from, so that their ideas on possible future directsions are grounded in the reality of what actually happened so far.

Of course, I'm having such conversations, and many otehr stimulating conversations, as I am in Istanbul for the eChallenges 2009 conference.

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21 October 2009

Archimedes Palimpsest

The coolest video I have seen recently on digitising manuscripts was this Google Talk on the Archimedes Palimpsest. I am reminded of it as I am listening to a number of interesting talks on Digital Libraries and Cultural Heritage at the eChallenges 2009 conference in Istanbul.

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Convent of Christ, Tomar, Portugal

Entrada principal
Originally uploaded by CONVENTO de CRISTO
I am attending (and speaking and chairing some sessions) eChalenges 2009 in Istanbul, Turkey.

Just heard a talk on digitising artefacts at this UNESCO world heritage site in Tomar, Porugal, the Convent of Christ. What struck me most was the beautiful slides so I thought I'd share the Flickr stream with the world :-)
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Ideagen Roadshow - Photos Available

Ideagen Roadshow WIT 14
Originally uploaded by ideagen
Enterprise Ireland have posted some photographs on Flicker of the Ideagen event hosted in ArcLabs on Thu 15th Oct 2009. This one shows Pat Byrne (Enterprise Ireland), Mary McEvoy (Enterprise Ireland) and myself.

Flickr photos of the event: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ideagen
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14 October 2009

EI Big Ideas Showcase 2009

RTE.ie Media Player: Six One News 13 October 2009

TSSG had 4 projects/companies featured at Enterprise Ireland's Big Ideas Showcase, making us the most prominant ICT centre displaying at the show.

  • IMS-ARCS (preparing Ireland's indistry for IP-based IMS telecommunications software services)
  • Zolk C (next generation mobile solutions for heritage sites)
  • Feedhenry (flexible standard-scompliant widget platform for dynamic site content)
  • 3CS (Enterprise Ireland's ARE centre that underpins the commercial division of the TSSG)

In the RTE news clip from, yesterday's 6 o'clock news, our stand features (you can see 3CS, IMS-ARCS and Zolk C stands) along with Deirdre Morrissey (TSSG Marketing Manager) and Joe O'Reilly (of Raser/FeedHenry). Unfortunately our interviews didn't make the final cut.

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13 October 2009

IdeaGen hosted by ArcLabs (TSSG) on Thursday 15th October 2009 (5pm-9pm)


In 2001 the TSSG made the decision to co-locate with the SEEPP, WIT's programme to support new entrepreneurs. The resulting centre was branded as the "WIT Research & Innovation Centre". It was formally opened by the then Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Mary Harney. This plan to co-locate WIT's leading R&D activity with its leading business and entrepreneurial support ecosystem set out our stall in terms of the importance of the links between research and industry, and of indigenous SMEs in particular. In 2006 the then Taoiseach, Bertie Aherne, formally opened the integrated ArcLabs centre. This centre combined the TSSG, the SEEPP but also a number of other services, most importantly an incubation centre for new companies, all under the one roof. Since then many TSSG companies have availed of the services provided by the rich support ecosystem.

The TSSG has grown and now has won €60 Million in R&D funding, bringing in the funding to build the the existing TSSG/ArcLabs building (note this was a combination of HEA funding for the TSSG and Enterprise Ireland funding for an Incubation Centre), and a new TSSG building that will be completed by September 2010, and creating 150 high quality jobs within the TSSG itself, funded by over 125 research projects won through competitive processes. True to its vision of a balanced ecosystem of R&D the TSSG's funding has been a third basic research (funded by SFI and HEA), a third applied research (funded by EU FP4-FP7), and a third pre-product development (funded by Enterprise Ireland). In addition the TSSG has created fourteen spin-out and spin-in companies (c.f. TSSG Companies), creating a further 60 jobs in the region. The TSSG has learned a lot about the difficulties involved in trying to meet all these different requirements from one integrated research centre. We have published our views of how Ireland should continue to support research and innovation in our submission to the Irish Innovation Task Force.

Therefore the TSSG welcomes the opportunity to support IdeaGen - an event organised by Enterprise Ireland that seeks to foster further links between research and industry in the region - on Thursday 15th October 2009 (5pm-9pm) (expression of interest). I have been invited to speak at the event, as well as participate, and I have published my slides on Mícheál Ó Foghlú's Presentation to IdeaGen on the TSSG and ArcLabs.

My message is that Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT), the TSSG, and the other elements that make up the research and innovation ecosystem within ArcLabs, have had a vision for proactively linking research and industry that formally dates back to the opening of our first integrated centre in 2001. We have built a real culture of innovation within the TSSG that combines world class research with real engagement with industry. We welcome collaboration with anyone who seeks to promote the same vision.

Update 2009-10-13 - IdeaGen interact with the social network

Follow IdeaGen on social betworking tools:

  • Twitter (follow user @ideagendotie)
  • Twitter (search for the hash tag, post tweets using the hash tag) #ideagen
  • Facebook (become a fan of ideagen)
  • Flickr (Photos)
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12 October 2009

TSSG Publications - New Look on Website

I have recently updated the way the TSSG website displays its publications. The main website that links to these new views of the publications database is TSSG Publications. What's included is an auto-generated listing of all academic publications both by calendar year (in reverse order), and by academic year (in reverse order - we need this for our internal reporting). More interesting to external users is the simple dynamic search facility: TSSG Publications Search.

To do this has involved a few steps, and is the culmination of just over a year of thinking and planning:

  • We moved from a proprietary Reference Manager database to using BibTeX;
  • We standardised on JabRef to edit the BibTeX and keep it consistent and legal;
  • We standardised on UTF-8 as the character set;
  • We discussed an implemented a small additional set of tags to capture other useful information not there by default in BibTeX;
  • I developed an automation script to synchronise to the latest version of the database (i.e. copy from version control document repository to the webserver);
  • I developed a Perl library to handle the creation of suitable HTML format for the different types of BibTeX entries that are possible (basically a big switch statement calling a number of procedures to handle different cases;
  • I developed two scripts to run each morning (on the updated source file) and produce the HTML sorted by calendar year and by academic year;
  • I developed a preprocessing script to parse the BibTeX and produce some optimised hash data structures for use in the search tool;
  • I developed a CGI search tool to find an entry matching a regular expression search, and then display it by calling the HTML library.

There's still lots more to do to auto-generate publications lists for people, for projects, and for academic themes. I'd also like to create automated checks that email the identified author notifying them of missing data and incomplete entries. Most importantly I want to implement the tag we have that links to the PDF download in the WIT Institutional Repository, and I want to try and get the majority of entries to have this field, then I can create the link in the on-line listings, and make it easier for people to find our papers, and read them.

The main drivers I had for this process were to (a) make it easier to automatically keep the website up-to-date; (b) make it easier to generate necessary publications metrics and details for various reports; (c) make it easier for people to find and read the papers we have published. The new system is a good improvement in most of these, and the PDF links should really help with the last point.

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