Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Bridging the Gap between Research and Product

I've been pouring over my web site stats for past few hours and I must confess that I'm excited about the amount of traffic that my website has received lately. My website usually recieves around 100 unique visitors a day, but every so often an article comes up that boosts the number of visits significantly.

In the graph above you see a blip of about 1'000 visitors a day during the publishing of my article to the tech community (i.e. Slashdot, Engadget). A bigger blip of 2'000 visitors a day occured when my research was published in the PC Gamer magazine in the UK. Another blip appeared when a related article of my research was posted on the Associated Press, Yahoo! News and CNN. The latest posts from popular web sites such as Digg and The Inquirer have increased the number of visits to my site more than 100 fold to around 12'000 visits a day.

The thing I find most exciting about this is that my research is having an impact on the general public and not just the research community. One of my tasks as an inventor is to try to bridge the gap between research and things that people use in their everyday lives. The focus is less on getting papers published and more on having a direct impact on the kinds of technologies that we use in everyday life.

That's not to say that digital tables will replace desktop computers. Rather, they will be a tool that can be used with existing technologies to enhance collaboration in everyday face to face encounters.

PhD in Cow Town (Calgary)?

Today I read another comment posted on a blog regarding my research in natural speech and gesture interaction over digital tables. The quote is:
Thats right baby CALGARY! Cow town my (expletive removed)!!! More like TECH town!! -iDextrose
People often make assumptions about particular Universities based on word of mouth or sometimes profiles made by people not attending University themselves. Sometimes these reviews are useful for selecting a place for undergraduate education, but most reviews do not detail life as a graduate student.

The graduate programme is a whole different ball game, you can't just use word of mouth or external profiles to select your graduate degree. Each university's research agenda specializes in different areas and you need to find out what area you are particularly interested in.

My message is: Discover your passions and find a community that shares your ambitions. Where you go to school doesn't matter, your community is what's most important.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Are You Satisfied?

Here's a comment that I recently read about my Warcraft III Video on YouTube (link). It goes something like this:
There is this interesting quote from Mick Jagger of Rolling Stones fame from the 60s when he was at a press conference and a female reporter asked him if he was satisfied. "What do you mean?" he responded "Do you mean sexually, financially, or philosophically? I think we're: Sexuaully satisified, financially dissatisfied, and philosophically trying."

I think the appropriate response for the typical academic researcher would be: "Sexually dissatisfied, financially dissatisfied, but philosophically rocking!" A quote from an interview with Bill Gates states "This isn't the rock-and-roll industry. The computer industry doesn't have groupies like rock does."

So, you have to understand the humor in a researcher hearing a comment like this about his work. Who says that research in computers can't be sexy?