Nov 17, 2010

Nov 5, 2010

VisWeek 2010, Salt lake city, Utah

Now attending conferences like Visweek  is more fun with twitter ! yeahh.. I could see who is twitting about which session, and the use of hashtag has made it way easier to search ( and find people of similar interest) , and this year the VisualBackChannel was another cool webapp (?) that made the experience more interesting. And during the VAST Closing panel speech on Tuesday, Ben S. showed the network diagram of people who are twitting about VisWeek'10 and how they are linked with one another. The audience got super excited to see their names as nodes in that network !

So I was to give presentation about our entry for VAST mini challenge 2010,  for this challenge our team from HCIL, Uof Maryland received the award: "Innovative Tool Adaptation", as we used a plagiarism detection tool to detect gene replication and a Network Analysis Visualization system ManyNets for discovering gene mutation path. On Sunday morning, I was to give a 3 minute presentation about the entry. I woke up at 7:30 am , therefore being brain-dead I joined the workshop arranged only for the challenge participants.  After several cups of coffee I started to feel alive. Me, Eric and Dustin walked 1 hour along the street of Salt Lake City to find a place to eat , and being drenched we finally found a Chinese  bistro.   I gained back my confidence after lunch and presented live demo about how our team solved the problem . It was nice to hear about the other teams and their approach on solving the problems.  SFU and GATech were shining with their large teams.

The next day we had this VAST Challenge panel at the afternoon,  time for me to hide my nervousness before this "houseful" audience and speak about our teamwork in more detail. Things went well enough this time. Then came the VAST Paper Fast forward, amazingly all the presented gave nice introduction about their work in 40 seconds !

The best thing about InfoVis is all the papers and presentations contain nice screen shots and figures , it is easier to understand the idea this way, and not feeling stupid about yourself thinking that "why don't I understand what the speaker is talking about ! " .  I  could not attend the morning sessions due to my take home midtem exam deadline, so after submitting my exam online, I headed towards the remaining sessions.  I liked most the sessions about graph visualization and social media. I enjoyed the paper talk about genealogy visualization using compact matrix, their overview and detail panel with nice linking technique made it an easily usable tool, though the time axis seemed a bit vague to me, need to read the paper once again. And isn't it depressing that there is no Windows version for LastHistory that shows your music listening history on ! While attending the talk about the project LastHistory, I attempted to install it on my pc and damn!

Then it was time to visit the SciViz sessions, applying Voronoi diagram as image thumbnail shape for efficient image browsing  and considering Doppler Effect on local ray tracing were two papers I enjoyed , their demos were captivating.  It sound very geeky when I say "I enjoyed a paper" but seriously, these interactive demos with animations ! how can you ignore those !

The poster session was interesting, and not too mention very informative ; I got some nice idea which I would like to explore more, like the Non-photorealistic rendering (NPR ) method for representing uncertainty and 1.5D Network Visualization ( from IMB China ) showing the change of ego network of a node with time as an axis. 

The student volunteer party was a great chance to throw away our researcher mood and just to act like some twenty-something human being who loves to jump and dance [ and where there is an iPhone, there is music ].  This is the first time I attended VisWeek, met some awesome fellow student researchers and I can't explain how eager I am too attend the ones coming in future. Above all, the best part was the complement  I received from my advisors .

Oct 3, 2010

Back from GHC10@tlanta, now time to retrospect

Originally uploaded by geeklinda
Four awesome days at Atlanta for the Grace Hopper Celebration of women in computing. Had a great time, now buried with home works and projects and undone laundries.

No need to mention how I enjoyed with my friends, but I also enjoyed my Hopper assignments and blogging and tweeting about the selected sessions as a community blogger . Thanks to GATech for arranging the tour to GVU center. And thanks to Kathy who gave us a ride there. The sponsor night at the Georgia Aquarium was one of the best parts of this whole week full of events.

The situation of women is greatly different in different countries, I hope this will be addressed by the respective committees in more detail in upcoming GHCs, but I wonder why in countries like USA , there are still so few women coming forward in computer science in spite of the apparent equal opportunities. In between sessions, I discussed with my fellow students and scholarship recepiants about the speeches given by the venerable keynote speakers. I wish I could be as hard working as them; it's fact that women are still neglected and many families even discourage their daughters to be in technical fields and underestimate their capability, but  if we do not make our passion into something productive then no one will make way for us.
After the award ceremony and super charging speech of Dr Liskov,  me and my friends went to attend the invitation at Nova Ahmed's place, she is an alumni of GATech and with all the food she prepared for us proved again that being a CS researcher does not conflict with being a great cook. The food at Hyatts was not of my taste so Nova apu literally saved us from starvation. Another night we went to have dinner at the Metro Cafe Diner very near to our hotel and enjoyed their karaoke. Poken drew a lot of attention this time, someone lost her poken at the dance floor and the DJ announced, "here is a Token.." and we all cried out "this is POKEN, not Token ", haha ..

Oct 2, 2010

GHC 10: HCI Field trip to GVU: blog in pictures

Oct 1, 2010, Friday, Atlanta, GVU lab reception
watching tv with user specific interface

trying to feed robot dyno.

Augmented reality lab

Oct 1, 2010

Bangladeshi Girl Squad at GHC10

       We left our country and came here for higher education, to receive our Masters or PhD and spread all over USA, and then, aha! Here  we met, at the GHC conference at Atlanta. I see the faces I had known and loved and got inspired .  When we talk about scientific research and modern cutting edge technology, Bangladesh may not be among the topmost countries, but it is a great moment for me to get inspired when I see the number of technical women is increasing in Bangladesh, and after finishing their Bachelor's degree they are coming forth to receive higher education , this year they came from different states of USA, from Texas to Rochester, Illinois to Indiana, Michigan to Maryland. And we met and talked about our research fields, Systems, Computer Architecture, Wireless network, Security, HCI and so on. Tanzima Zerin from Purdue got second prize for her Poster presentation, Fariba Khan from UIUC presented on her PhD thesis on the PhD forum session. Nabila , Shantonu, Sonia all presented their work on the poster competition. When the total number of Bangladeshi girls in higher education  is not yet impressive, it is great to see that those who have reached this far are trying their best to shine their stars.  

HCI Track at GHC 10: FERNANDA B. VIEGAS presenting about visulization

presentation: 3-4 pm, Friday, Sep 30, 2010

Visualization of Bible text ? Or a classic like Pride and Prejudice ? why and how? Fernanda Viegas from google is explaining all these in a fun and engaging way. She demonstrated google's visualization and then ManyEyes . She also showed TreeMap visualization of microarray data visualization on ManyEyes.

What part of the body people think about the most ? Need to visualize that ? So extract text from song lyrics and try to visulaize the statistics , and guess what ? It's the Eye in general :) Each body part is shown in a bubble, and the size of the bubble is proportional to the percentage it is mentioned in the lyrics corpora, so the bubble for the Eye is the biggest ( which is good news for me and I also look into people's eyes ). But  when she filtered down the data only for hip-hop music it was something different. It  really talks about HIP ! hahaaa... this is not a nice visualization, but funny indeed. Just imagine a big bubble in the screen showing a human back.

Another visualization reveals : Lovers don't desire to touch the neck, but women desire to be touched on their neck ! Ok boys, this is important information !!!

Besides doing this cool stuffs it is important for researcher to use visualization tools for their research, and not only the computer scientists. and not only the researchers, common people are more and more motivated to use visualization and make their own way of it.  To make sense of data and make it more presentable , making it more competent to tell the story behind the data, story that we get from the data.

Student poster presentation evening, award ceremony, DJ night at GHC10

Usually conferences are held on the basis of research fields, so we get to meet people who are interested in similar area; unlike that a unique aspect of Grace Hopper conference is that here we can meet people coming from different areas in computer science and engineering and presenting their ideas. It's been long since I heard about system research or wireless technologies, but the poster session was a great retouch upon my memory, I was trying to recall what I learnt about computer architecture or operating systems and was an awesome opportunity for me to get the idea of what is going on in these fields these days and what is to expect in near future. Abrita Chakravarti from Duke University and Tanzima Zerin from Purdue University received the first and second prize for respectively for their best poster at graduate student level. After being selected for semifinals, the semifinalists had to give short presentation about the work presented on their posters, Tanzima was very impressive on her presentation and I anticipated she is going to be one of the finalists and I was right !

The award ceremony on 30th Sep Friday night was super cool, it was almost like the Oscar , haha , and there were music too. After the inspiring speech from CAROL BARTZ (CEO, Yahoo!) and award ceremony, guess what ! we had a DJ Party , yes, the girls were on the dance floor, it's a ladies' night ... and among all these girls, one man, and one man only , google's VP , Alan Eustace, took over the floor with all his charm :D

Keynote speech of Barbara Liskov at Grace Hopper Conference 2010 Atlanta

From Math Major to Language Translation to Stanford to Turing award:

After getting Turing award, someone called her home and said "Why did she got this award for ? all people already know these stuffs" . Yes, now all people know this 'Stuffs' , when we write a piece of java code , it comes so easy and familiar, it's hard to imagine once upon a time, there was no such thing as OO programming and scientists like Liskov tried and thought so hard make it happen.

She did her PhD Thesis on AI before starting to work on Systems. She was the only other girl in her grad class at Stanford back then ! And universities were not even ready to hire woman faculty.

Inventing abstract data type : The Venus machine : investigate micro-programming ; decided to embed semaphore directly in the machine instruction.

Venus operating system: time sharing system.

Programming methodology: software crisis : how to build program effectively , people did not understand the cost pf software ( the value of programmers was not even an issue to ponder )

ADT to CLU to Distributed Systems:The landscape: She recollects her memory how people reacted to this article: E.W. Dijkstra: Go To Statement considered harmful. 1968. How it was complicated using 'goto' statement and jumping around codes ! People were insulted ! Design as a problem statement : 1971 paper. top-down and bottom-up approach.

QA: Question from audience: "What is the best choice of first programming language to start with as a student of CS?"

Answer from Liskov: "There is no easy or right answer, but Python is the best choice today."

Such a wonderful speech and she finished with the recent and still ongoing research problem of System field ,

Sep 29, 2010

Poken in Grace Hopper 2010

I hope this idea of using poekn will grow and people will start using it actively

Sep 21, 2010

GraceHopper Conference 2010

I am planning to attend the Grace Hopper Conference as a student volunteer and blogger this month; though I could not avail myself of any scholarship, I am very grateful that my professor is sponsoring my travel :) I hope to meet the HCI community  and  learn about what other researchers are thinking in this direction.  I have no scientific data but in my experience I saw the participation of women researcher in this field of Computer Science is pretty encouraging,  and this year GHC 2010 has special session about   Visualization and HCI, and I am already excited about the GA Tech HCI Lab tour !

The use of social networking sites like facebook and twitter has added much flavor to the community this year.  Hope I will meet a lot of enthusiastic ladies and have a great time at Atlanta.

Sep 1, 2010

Pragmatic ambiguity

I enrolled myself into the Computational Linguistics course this semester, so far we had one lecture and I am supposed to submit the homework tomorrow, though I do not have the text book yet.

Our professor discussed about structural ambiguity and I was thinking of possible example in Bengali, and still thinking. In English, if we say The girl hit the boy with a book, it can be parsed two ways: The girl [hit the boy], with a book; or The girl hit [the boy with a book]. The reason for this ambiguity is the use of the preposition 'with', it can mean both things.

I was looking for examples on Pragmatic ambiguity for the homework. So what about this sentence: "Is the program running?": a correct sentence in all sense, but am I asking if a program is being aired on TV or a being executed in computer ? Depends upon in what situation I am speaking and who am I speaking to.

However, now I feel thankful to my 8th grade Bengali grammar book, yesterday when the professor was talking about morphology, phonology etc. I just remembered the examples from that grammar book with the Sanskrit based Bangla words; who could think this will come handy in my computer science graduate studies !

Aug 25, 2010

Linear Equation: Great Explanation

3-variable linear equations (part 1)

After reading this article about Bill Gates'  appreciation for Khan's work, I visited his youtube channel . I wish my teachers in school had explained it this way !

Mar 14, 2010

Visualizing Word Etymology

It may sound like walking backwards, human being learned to write way after they drew all the nice images on the cave walls, and now that we can store information in binary sequence ( and also some of us can even easily decode them just by looking at those ) I am talking about word visualization ( no, not about hieroglyphics ) . The idea comes from the acquisition of second or third or any language that we have to/ want to learn and in this learning process at some point we all feel that we are nothing but a child struggling with words , however smart we may be in other field of knowledge. and there come visualization for the rescue. But is it only some related picture for the word in context that can foster the process or can we do better ? Draw etymology graph of the word ? Assign colors to words that relate to their meaning ?

May be we can also draw a geographical overlay to show if words from one region relate to other. It's fascinating how words travel through space and time ! Their pronunciation and meaning both can change over time and space. It will be a fun to show somehow how the Portuguese word 'Igreja' (church) became 'Geerja' in Bangla. And also these connections reflect a view of world history. The similarity between Greek and Bangla/Sankskrit words for the numbers one to ten  compelled me to explore more about Indo-European history.

Visual Thesaurus and VisuWords are online graphical dictionaries , they show connection between words . As human brain works, it is always easier to learn about something new if we can relate this to some other thing of our previous knowledge, so this connected words may relate to some words we already know and thus help our learning process.
Here you can see the graphical representation of the word "country" , showing connection between words with similar meaning. The first screenshot is from Visual Thesaurus, but I think VisuWord does a better job by giving examples. But both this applications are English to English, so if you are looking for translation, this may not be the right place. 

And while I was searching the web for word visualization, I found this nice article about Visualizing vocabulary.

Feb 5, 2010

Works of Rabindranath online

was looking for something like this for a long time, especially after coming to USA, I could not bring the Geetobitan, or Golpoguchchha , not even a single book of Rabindranath . The work that is being done by the West Bengal Language Academy is really praise worthy, I hope the Bangla Academy of Bangladesh will take similar actions to preserve the great works of our greatest intellectuals in the same way so it can be accessed any time from any where .

The link for the works of Rabindranath:

It includes his novels, poetry, songs, short stories and essays, his letters of Chhinnopotro is not included yet. As everything is in Unicode Bangla, it is easily viewable via most browsers.  Very excited to see this site.