Monday, February 25, 2008

Crossed the final hurdle, at last...

I passed my viva last week, and it was sheer joy, a sense of relief, a feeling that I can never explain in words. This is to acknowledge the love and cheer and encouragement from everyone -

"I remember the day I first came to Newcastle to attend the interview for an RA position in the
myGrid project. Newcastle was in stark contrast with the town of Gaithersburg, Maryland, where I used to live and work for Verizon Communications Inc. at Silver Spring. It was the middle of January - cold and cloudy and dark, and the wind from the North Sea almost blew me away. It was hard to make a decision about leaving the job in the US to join academia. Today, when I look back, I know, I was right. I have now spent more than five years in Newcastle, the longest period at one place since I left home in 1997 to join the software industry. And I can say that Newcastle has been nothing less than a home to me. It is like my hometown Calcutta - a city, which slowly grows around a person - Newcastle has grown all around me. And I owe it to Professor Paul Watson, Professor Pete Lee and Dr. Anil Wipat - who extended the first welcome to me. I owe my gratitude to the City of Newcastle, the university, all members of staff in the School of Computing Science, my friends within and outside the university, for the warmest five years I have stayed here, despite the chilling weather.

Professor Paul Watson was my supervisor and I could not have come this far without his constant guidance and support. Apart from always managing to get some funds to keep me employed as an RA without which I couldn't have continued with my PhD, he has provided me with valuable guidance and insights throughout the course of research. On numerous occasions when I was struggling to find the right approach, regardless of his busy schedule as the Director of the North East Regional e-Science Centre, Paul has been tireless in his attempts to make me focus on the problem from the correct angle. No word is sufficient to express my gratitude to Paul.

I would like to thank Professor Pete Lee and Dr. Aad van Moorsel, who were the two other members of my thesis committee for their valuable suggestions during and after the thesis committee meetings which acted as inputs to my work. Dr. Jim Smith is another person who has been a close friend in these five years and have always helped me when I faced any problem, be it regarding any architectural aspect of my work, or any silly question about LaTeX. I am indebted to Jim for his help and support whenever I asked for. Dr. Savas Parastatidis, who is now at Microsoft Research, was a source of inspiration during the years I was able to work with him. All the long discussions I had with him regarding the architecture of Web Services have contributed a lot towards my knowledge and the research. I must not miss mentioning about the support I received from the Computing Officers, especially Jim Wight and Gerry Tomlinson, who have always listened to my requests about new softwares on the cluster and helped me in configuring my experimental setup, which sometimes required Jim to bypass security rules of the Computing Cluster for the external computers I used during my experiments.

A large section of the work presented here was the result of collaborative research between Newcastle and Manchester Universities. I wish to thank my colleagues from Manchester, especially Professor Norman W. Paton, Dr. Alvaro A. A. Fernandes, Dr. Tasos Gounaris, Steven Lynden and Dr. M. Nedim Alpdemir, who unfortunately left for his country a couple of years ago, for all the active collaboration and support I received from all of them. Another part of the research, the development of the dynamic service oriented framework, was based on collaborative research as well, and I wish to thank Dr. Chris Fowler, Charles Kubicek, John Colquhoun for their valuable contributions.

I can not forget the amount of support I received from my family during this entire journey. My parents, Mrs. Binata Mukherjee and Mr. Prabhat Mukherjee have inspired me to dream since I was a child. And I am extremely indebted to them, and I hope that these three letters, if I am able to achieve them, will fulfil a part of their dreams. I can never express enough gratitude for the support I received from my sister, Dr. Nandini Mukhopadhyay, who has constantly encouraged me, at times pushed me - when I used to get frustrated. One person needs a special mention here, and that is my wife, Sumana, who never fell short in supporting me in every step, and was not shy in sacrificing her perfectly good job in the US, when I decided to join academia in the UK to pursue my dreams. Our little boy, Rik, has been my source of joy at home and our newborn daughter, Riti, has been another source of inspiration during the last few months of my work.

Finally, I would like to thank EPSRC, who have funded the major projects I have worked in, and my colleagues at OGSA-DAI for their valuable support during the course of research."

Friday, February 08, 2008

শিক্ষা, অশিক্ষা, কুশিক্ষা...

এ দেশে (মানে ইংল্যাণ্ডে) বাচ্চাগুলো ইস্কুলে যায় চার বছর বয়সে - তখনই পড়তে শেখে, লিখতে আরো পরে। ওয়েলস বা স্কটল্যাণ্ডে আরো রিল্যাক্সড। পরীক্ষা নেই, হোমওয়ার্ক নেই, চাপ নেই। তাতেও সার্ভে বলছে ইউরোপের অন্যান্য দেশের তুলনায় এদেশে চাপ বড় বেশি - আটই ফেব্রুয়ারীর ইন্ডিপেন্ডেন্টের খবর। ভারতে, বিশেষ করে পশ্চিমবঙ্গে, আরও বেশি করে কলকাতায় এরকম কথা বললে কি রিয়্যাকশন হত ভাবলে অবাক লাগে। কি ভাবতো শিক্ষা-সংস্কৃতির ধ্বজাধারী আনন্দবাজার? বা ইঁদুর দৌড়ের আসল প্রতিযোগী বাচ্চাগুলোর বাপ-মায়েরা?

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Howz that

একটি চাকরির বিজ্ঞাপন -


Job Description

This is hysterical. If it had been presented this way,
I don't believe any of us would have done it!!!!


Mom, Mommy, Mama, Ma
Dad, Daddy, Dada, Pa, Pop


Long term, team players needed, for challenging
Permanent work in an
Often chaotic environment.
Candidates must possess excellent communication
And organizational skills and be willing to work
Variable hours, which will include evenings and weekends
And frequent 24 hour shifts on call. Some overnight travel required, including trips to
Primitive camping sites on rainy weekends and endless sports tournaments in far away cities!
Travel expenses not reimbursed.
Extensive courier duties also required.


The rest of your life.
Must be willing to be hated, at least temporarily,
Until someone needs £5.
Must be willing to bite tongue repeatedly
Also, must possess the physical stamina of a
Pack mule
And be able to go from zero to 60 mph in three seconds flat
In case, this time, the screams from
The back garden are not someone just crying wolf.
Must be willing to face stimulating technical challenges,
Such as small gadget repair, mysteriously sluggish toilets
And stuck zippers.
Must screen phone calls, maintain calendars and
Coordinate production of multiple homework projects.
Must have ability to plan and organize social gatherings
For clients of all ages and mental outlooks.
Must be willing to be indispensable one minute,
An embarrassment the next.
Must handle assembly and product safety testing of a
Half million cheap, plastic toys, and battery operated devices.
Must always hope for the best but be prepared for the worst.
Must assume final, complete accountability for
The quality of the end product.
Responsibilities also include floor maintenance and
Janitorial work throughout the facility.


Your job is to remain in the same position for years, without complaining, constantly retraining and updating your skills,
So that those in your charge can ultimately surpass you


None required unfortunately.
On-the-job training offered on a continually exhausting basis.


Get this! You pay them!
Offering frequent raises and bonuses.
A balloon payment is due when they turn 18 because
Of the assumption that college will help them
Become financially independent.
When you die, you give them whatever is left.
The oddest thing about this reverse-salary scheme is that
You actually enjoy it and wish you could only do more.


While no health or dental insurance, no pension,
No tuition reimbursement, no paid holidays and
No stock options are offered;
This job supplies limitless opportunities for personal growth, unconditional love,
And free hugs and kisses for life if you play your cards right.