August 16, 2010

Phase change

Today I started work as an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

My three and a half years as a postdoc at the Santa Fe Institute were intense and highly educational. As I've been saying recently when people asked me, I feel like I really found my own voice as a young scholar at SFI, developing my own perspective on the general areas I work in, my own research agenda for the foreseeable future, and a distinct approach to scientific problems. I've also written a few papers that, apparently, a lot of people really like.

As a professor now, I get to learn a lot of new stuff including how to teach, how to build and run a research group, and how to help run a department, among other things. I hope this next phase is as much or even more fun than the last one. I plan to continue to blog as regularly as I can, and probably about many of the same topics as before, along with new topics I become interested in as a result of hanging out more with computer scientists. Should be fun!

posted August 16, 2010 09:46 AM in Self Referential | permalink | Comments (0)

August 02, 2007

An extension of the brief hiatus

Last week I returned from the Boulder School on Biophysics, which was a fascinating experience in which I learned all sorts of stuff about the way physicists operate in and think about biology. (For instance, they're most comfortable when talking about things like single-molecule dynamics, where the forces are clear, or simple diffusion or stochastic processes.) One reassuring behavior I observed was that biophysicists get just as unmoored when they don't have "first principles" to work from as I feel sometimes working on networks and complex systems in general. Another interesting thing I learned is that machine learning techniques aren't very well known among experimental or theoretical biophysicists, but that among the younger folk, there was a great deal of interest in using computation to extract meaningful things from data.

I also became familiar with two wonderful quotations. The first is from Lord Rutherford, who supposedly said "If your experiment needs statistics, you ought to have done a better experiment." I can imagine that this statement was uttered in a slight growl; of course, the deep irony is that his intellectual descendents, the high energy physicists, are perhaps some of the best statisticians in physics! (For instance, see this excellent entry by John over at Cosmic Variance about bump hunting in data.) The second is from 'Rosencrantz and Gildenstern are Dead' (imdb), which goes "Audiences know what they expect and that is all they are prepared to believe in."

Anyway, this week I've been furiously trying to get some work I did over the last two weeks of the summer school into the form of a paper. Needless to say, this has consumed most of my time this week, hence the lack of blogorific prose. Next week, I'll be completely offline, frolicking in the surf in South Carolina. Then, it's back to the grind stone of producing bloggable events and thoughts...

posted August 2, 2007 02:59 AM in Blog Maintenance | permalink | Comments (0)

April 10, 2007

Minor detail

Blogging will be on hold for a little while on account of my laptop having been stolen yesterday (out of the locked trunk of my car, no less). With a newfound appreciation of the mortality of my data, let me exhort you all to back up early and often!

posted April 10, 2007 09:30 PM in Blog Maintenance | permalink | Comments (1)

February 20, 2007

Tying-in with digg

I'm starting to tie digg into the posts here. Assuming you like what I write, please digg the stories.

posted February 20, 2007 01:12 PM in Blog Maintenance | permalink | Comments (0)

November 14, 2006

Blog silence...

will continue for a little while longer. I'm in the process of moving both my worldly posessions to Santa Fe, and my virtual territory to the Santa Fe Institute, where I start work after Thanksgiving. Once I've set up shop there, I expect there will be some small changes in how I run this blog. For instance, I'll likely incorporate more SFI-related news (talks, working papers, etc.), and talk a bit more about how computer science and complexity science can relate to each other. SFI doesn't quite have the same server system for running blogs as my current location, so I may move this blog to an independent location, or I may keep it here - haven't decided yet.

In the meantime, my new Web location will be

posted November 14, 2006 02:50 PM in Blog Maintenance | permalink | Comments (0)

June 23, 2006

Blog changes...

I've been looking for a good web hit-counter for a while, and fiddled around with several of the free ones that I found via Google. But, none of them were satisfying, and I got distracted by other more pressing things (more on that in another post). But, today I finally found something worth using. In the gutter now, you'll see a little picture of the world, maintained by ClustrMaps, which uses a rough geospatial reverse-DNS to determine the general point on the world map that the originating IP address came from. It's a cute way to visualize the distribution of visitors to the site, which I like.

In other blog changes, come January 2007, this blog will be moved to a Santa Fe Institute location, where I'll be starting a post-doctoral fellowship.

Finally, I'm considering closing all (past and future) entries in the blog to comments - the blog-spam is getting annoying to deal with, I don't get that many comments to begin with, and I haven't figured out a simple way to make it difficult for the bots to post. Does anyone have any experience with making MT v3.14 bot-spam-proof?

posted June 23, 2006 02:54 PM in Blog Maintenance | permalink | Comments (4)

October 27, 2005

On posting.

Only a scant 10 months ago when I began this blog, I had high ambitions of posting regularly. In fact, for the first few months, I posted something new every three or four days. Currently, I'm batting more like once every two weeks. Oh, how the ambitious have fallen. While I spend perhaps a disturbing amount of time reading science and current events each day, I have not yet hit upon the right rhythm for posting the inevitable thoughts that come out of that. It also takes me a non-trivial amount of time to put together a posting, since I am considerably slowed down by my determination to say sensible and coherent things. Who knows, perhaps in another 10 months, I'll be down another factor of two and posting once a month.

On a related note, I am constantly amazed by the both prolific and consistently good writers like Tim Burke, Bill Tozier, Cosma Shalizi and Carl Zimmer. One happiness would be to join a collective blog such as Crooked Timber, another prolific and intensely edifying source of distraction.

posted October 27, 2005 02:08 AM in Blog Maintenance | permalink | Comments (0)

August 29, 2005

A return to base.

I returned to New Mexico about two weeks ago, and have, I think, almost gotten my loose ends from the summer tied up to the point that I can consider blogging again on a regular basis. I will certainly be blogging about my newfound insight into the dark world of the credit card industry, the similarities between academia and consulting, and other edifying topics.

Also, as a slight update, the SIAM news article on my work with Cristopher Moore, and in turn with David Kempe and Dimitris Achlioptas on analyzing the bias of the tools that we use to map the Internet has finally appeared online.

Additionally, Philip Ball, who has written about my work on the statistics of terrorism before (here, and here, both for Nature News), has penned another article for The Guardian that discusses Neil Johnson's recent preprint and again Maxwell Young's work with me on terrorism.

posted August 29, 2005 12:54 PM in Blog Maintenance | permalink | Comments (0)

January 12, 2005

Design (mostly) finished

After spending many (many!) hours tinkering with the design, learning cascading style sheets and stealing code from other sites, I think I've gotten most of the design done that I wanted. There are still a few minor things that I want to change (or need to learn), but I'll leave those for another night.

This post is doubling as another test post, as well, as I'm still learning how MovableType runs things.

posted January 12, 2005 08:47 AM in Blog Maintenance | permalink | Comments (3)

January 11, 2005

First post

Obligatory test post to see if the system is working, and check some other things.

posted January 11, 2005 05:45 PM in Blog Maintenance | permalink | Comments (0)