Wednesday, December 13, 2006

First OPEN Source Workshop in BUET

Yesterday, 12th December, we had first ever Open Source Workshop in BUET. It was held on Microcomputer Lab, 3rd floor, EME Building, from 2:30 pm to 5:00 pm long.

BUET CSE Department of Head Dr. Muhammad Masroor Ali gave us the permission to use the Microcomputer lab and allocated a Lab assistant to help us with the arrangement. Without his technical and moral support it was simply impossible to arrange and finish such an effective workshop in BUET. A special thank goes to our sir from all of us.

We also have 4 lecturers from CSE departments in the workshop. Md. Mostofa Ali Patwary, Chowdhury Sayeed Hyder, S.M. Shahriar Nirjon, Md. Abul Hassan Samee. Thanks to them also to inspire us.

In total we have 66 participants. Our Lab was fully occupied and few were standing and sharing chairs.



In the workshop we worked on the view of Open source and basic Linux installing, partitioning the hard disk and few frequent Linux commands. The program started at 2:30 pm sharp.

First, Mustafa Sarwar Nasif started with the basic question what the Open Source is. Then Khaled Mahmud continued the discussion interactively. Few questions came from the audience. And the discussion was up to 3:15 pm. Then Md. Ayub Ali and Sajid started with hard disk partitioning and basic Linux installation problems. After that, few Linux commands were introduced so that new users can easily start with the Linux. And we finished with the C/ C++ compiling and debugging examples for the junior batch of CSE, BUET.


In the last we have announced of an upcoming boot camp after the eid vacation. The date is not fixed yet. The date will be announced soon.

Our BUET OSN yahoo group link:
http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/buet_osn/

Thank u everybody in the workshop to make it a successful one. And the enthusiasm showed by all is praise worthy.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

WALCOM 2007 Call for papers

Call for Papers

Workshop on Algorithms and Computation-2007

Bangladesh Academy of Sciences (BAS) is organizing a workshop on algorithms and computation on 12th February, 2007. Professor Takao Nishizeki of Tohoku University, Japan, one of the renowned scientists in the field of Theoretical Computer Science, has kindly consented to present an invited talk at the workshop. Some other renowned researchers are also expected to present their invited talks. There are eight to ten slots for contributed talks in this workshop for which papers describing original and outstanding research results are sought.

SCOPE

The range of topics within the scope of the workshop of algorithms and computation includes (but is not limited to):

· Algorithm and data structures

· Graph algorithms

· Graph drawing

· Combinatorial algorithms

· Computational geometry

· Graphs in bioinformatics

· String Algorithms

· Computational biology

· Parallel and distributed algorithms

PLENARY SPEAKER

Takao Nishizeki (Tohoku University, Japan)

INVITED SPEAKERS

Shin-ichi Nakano (Gunma University, Japan)
Subhas Chandra Nandi (Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata, India)
Xiao Zhou (Tohoku University, Japan)
Y. Kusakari (Akita Prefectural University, Japan)

Takehiro Ito (Tohoku University, Japan)

SUBMISSION

Authors are invited to submit papers describing original research of theoretical or practical significance to algorithms and computation. Authors should submit an extended abstract not exceeding 12 single-spaced pages on A4 paper, including references, figures, title, authors name and affiliation, e-mail address, and a short abstract. Use reasonable margins and at least 11-point font. Please use LATEX for preparing manuscript. We will have eight to ten slots for contributed talks in this workshop. Please submit PS or PDF files of the manuscript to walcom2007@gmail.com. LATEX source files will be required for preparing proceedings after acceptance of the paper. See http://teacher.buet.ac.bd/saidurrahman/walcom2007/ for details.

IMPORTANT DATES

· Submissions of contributed papers: December 15, 2006

· Notification of acceptance: January 12, 2006

· Workshop: February 12, 2007

VENUE

The workshop will be held in Bangladesh Computer Council Bhaban, Agargaon, Dhaka, Bangladesh.

COMMITTEE

M. Shamsher Ali, President of BAS (Workshop Chair)

Naiyyum Choudhury, Secretary of BAS (Organizing Co-Chair)

A. M. Choudhury, Executive Director of BCC (Organizing Co-Chair)

M. Kaykobad, BUET (Program Co-Chair)

Md. Saidur Rahman, BUET (Program Co-Chair)

PROGRAM COMMITTEE

Costas S. Iliopoulos (KCL, UK)

Md. Abul Kashem (BUET, Bangladesh)

M. Kaykobad (BUET, Bangladesh) Co-chair

Manzur M. Murshed (Monash University, Australia)

Petra Mutzel (University of Dortmund, Germany)

Shin-ichi Nakano (Gunma University, Japan)

Subhas Chandra Nandi (Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata, India)

Md. Saidur Rahman (BUET, Bangladesh) Co-chair

William F. Smyth (McMaster University, Canada)

Hsu-Chun Yen (National Taiwan University, Taiwan)

CONTACT ADDRESS

Dr. Naiyyum Choudhury

Secretary

Bangladesh Academy of Sciences

Email:naiyyum@gmail.com


Dr. M. Kaykobad

Department of Computer Science and Engineering

Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET)

Dhaka-1000, Bangladesh,

E-mail: kaykobad@cse.buet.ac.bd

Dr. Md. Saidur Rahman

Dept. of Computer Science and Engineering

Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET)

Dhaka-1000, Bangladesh,

E-mail: saidurrahman@cse.buet.ac.bd

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Steve jobs commencement speech at Stanford

Steve Jobs is the CEO of Apple, which he co-founded in 1976. Apple leads the industry in innovation with its award-winning desktop and notebook Mac computers, OS X operating system, and iLife and professional applications. Apple is also leading the digital music revolution with over 50 million of its iPod portable music players sold and over 1 billion songs legally downloaded from its iTunes online music store.

Steve also co-founded Pixar Animation Studios in 1986. Pixar has created six of the most successful and beloved animated films of all time: Toy Story, A Bug's Life, Toy Story 2, Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo, and The Incredibles. Pixar has won 20 Academy Awards and its films have grossed more than $3.2 billion at the worldwide box office to date. Pixar merged with The Walt Disney Company in 2006 and Steve now serves on their board of directors.

Steve grew up in the apricot orchards which later became known as Silicon Valley, and still lives there with his wife and three children.

This post is not to introduce steve jobs... this is for one of his excellent speech at Stanford...

Here goes Steve jobs commencement speech at Stanford....




Here is the download link..: Steve jobs speech

Computer science still a good career

Moshe Vardi, professor of Computer Science at Rice University, visited UIUC last year, and gave a very captivating talk on the history of logic. Face to face, he is a pretty amazing speaker ... I am not "into" Theory, but I enjoyed his whole talk very much.

On Nov 6, Stanford University Forums discussed the job prospects in Computer Science. Prof. Vardi commented that

"There is a huge mismatch between perception and reality. There are more IT jobs now than there were six years ago at the height of the IT boom."

From the report,

Vardi presented results from a study on the global migration of software jobs commissioned by the Association for Computing Machinery, the world's oldest and largest educational and scientific computing society.

He co-chaired a task force of economists, social scientists and computer scientists who spent a year reviewing all the available data on the global impact of offshoring for the information technology industry to reveal computing is still a viable field of study and work.

"IT is still a good career," Vardi said. "We have nothing to fear but the fear of competition itself.""

So, in a way, this report affirms what I've been saying all along, the Computer Science industry is still strong, and will likely to remain so for many more years. I hope this will at least allay the fears many prospective BUET students have about the CSE department, and that it will dispell some of the rumors many parents have been hearing all the time.


The complete report from Stanford Univ Forums can be found here.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

research

http://www.cs.williams.edu/~heeringa/src2007/

Monday, October 02, 2006

CS research white paper

http://www.cra.org/ccc/ccc.white.paper.pdf

Saturday, September 16, 2006

BUET Graduates in Google: Success stories

Today's guest blogger: Manzurur Rahman Khan (Sidky)
(All opinions/information belong to the Manzurur Rahman Khan)


[Note: In this article, Sidky describes his experience in the Google Code Jam 2006, and his subsequent Internship offer from Google]

From the very beginning, Google Inc. has been the place for the most talented students everywhere. With its expansion, it is looking for more innovative and great minds from different universities all around the world. With its search for inventive people, BUET students have proved that they have what is required to be a Googler.

It all started in August 2006. Just after the ACM ICPC World Finals 2005 in Shanghai, the team members from the world finalist team were invited to visit their Mountain View campus (also known as Googleplex). The team consisted of Mushfiqur Rouf, Abdullah al Mahmud and me, and their coach Mehedy Masud. We participated in open talks about different Google products like Google Sets, Google Map, Google Scholar, GMail, Google Earth, Google File System, Page Indexing and about working environment and ideology in Google. After the 4 day visit, they asked the participants to drop their resume. Later two of us (Abdullah al Mahmud and Mushfiqur Rouf) were offered job as a software engineer. Abdullah al Mahmud was posted in Bangalore. But he had some problems regarding work permit in India and had to cancel the offer. Later he was offered job in Microsoft. He is expected to join there next year.

Again, in this year, in April, Google India arranged a programming contest Google India Code Jam. There, three students from BUET (Ishtiaque Ahmed, Sabbir Yousuf and Me) participated. There we were ranked 20 th, 22 nd and 9 th, respectively. Later after the contest, I applied for internship and had an interview. I was offered internship from May 2006 to July 2006. But, due to academic reasons, I was unable to take that offer.

Again, after the World Finals 2006, in San Antonio, Google’s quest for talent continued with the talk with all the World Finalist teams in their different Offices. This time, Istiaque Ahmed, Omar Haider Chowdhury and I, visited their Bangalore office. A team from Dhaka University has participated the talk as well. They gave lectures on Google Finance, Working environment and their methodology. Later on, 2 members from BUET team and 3 members from Dhaka University team applied for full time employment. In their interviews, they asked different analytical questions, and questions about web caching, operating systems, and different other aspects of computer science, and engineering. 2 members from DU team has been offered job, others are yet to get reply. Besides the BUET world finalist team, a graduate from BUET, Md. Sajjad Hossain, who participated in 2006 World Finals from Stony Brook University of New York, is completing in internship in Google, in USA.

Nowadays, performance in programming contests and ICPC’s are becoming more and more important to the IT giants. They are even arranging the contests to find talented programmers. I think it’s time for everyone to think of the contests seriously. It will definitely increase their opportunity, enrich their CV’s and flourish their brilliance.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Bangla Wikipedia

We are delighted to announce that, we at the Bangla Wikipedia project have declared August 2006 to be the Bangla Wikipedia month. Throughout the whole month, we would undertake various activities and campaigns to enhance, expand Bangla wikipedia, and also generate more awareness about it.


A few details are provided below:


1. What is Wikipedia? What is Bangla wikipedia?

Wikipedia is world's largest encyclopedia, open source and free for all, created by thousands of people world wide. It has versions in more than 200 languages. The largest version, the English wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org ) has more than 1.3 million articles, making it the largest encyclopedia in the world (larger than Britannica, Encarta combined). 10 other languages, including French, German, Spanish etc. have more than
100,000 articles. Many languages, even small ones like Macedonian (with only 2 million speakers) have 8,000 articles.

Anyone can add content or edit wikipedia, all you need is an Internet connection.

Bangla wikipedia is the Bangla version of wikipedia (http://bn.wikipedia.org ). The project is to create a general encyclopedia in Bangla, constantly updated, expanded, and enhanced. Anyone with an Internet connection, and ability to view Bangla Unicode
text, can visit the page and read/edit content.

Anyone can read it, print it, and use it for whatever purpose they want. It is given away under GNU Free Documentation License, for Free! You don't have to pay hundreds of takas to access it ... anyone with an Internet connection can access it. Even now, it is the largest Bangla language website in the whole world, with more than 3675 content pages full of images, and knowledge.


2. Bangla Wikipedia project (bangla_wiki)

Since late March 2006 (March 25), Bangla_wiki, a project coordinated via the mailing list http://groups.yahoo.com/group/bangla_wiki , is working on building the encyclopedia. This is done with help from Bangladesh Open Source Network (BDOsn). The objective is to organize the people who are active in editing/contributing to Bangla wikipedia, and to solve various issues, organize public-awareness campaigns, and so on.


3. Our achievements since April 2006

Bangla wikipedia was started in 2004, but it lacked contributors and content. Since starting the campaign in late March 2006, the Bangla_wiki project has been able to add 3200 new articles , that is, 800 new articles per month. The total article count in Bangla wikipedia is now at 3675. Through campaign, we have been able to organize a diverse
group of contributors, spread all across the globe, and from both Bangladesh and West Bengal.

When we started, the position of the Bangla wikipedia among all languages was 95. However, we have been able to raise our rank up to 69 as of last month (67 on August 3) and gradually rising.


4. Our immediate target: (10 - 1)

BBC Bengali covered our project in May 2, 2006, and we expressed our immediate goal, of generating 10,000 articles by May 2007, and at least 1000 full length articles. Since wikipedia is a collaborative process, articles are constantly edited, expanded, and enhanced. Each article is begun as a few lines, but gradually grow up to full length.

We plan to achieve our target : 10-1, i.e. 10,000 articles, and 1000 high quality articles in 12 months. With the rate of 800 or more articles per month, we are right on course.


5. What you can do?

Participate!! We need more people to edit, spellcheck, enhance, translate, and so on. Wikipedia is built by volunteers, and is provided to the whole world as a free source of content. Bangla is our mother tongue, and it is our duty to preserve the knowledge of the
world in Bangla language, so that the children of tomorrow will be enlightened.

Knowledge, unlike money, grows when it is given away, so each sentence, each bit of information you add to wikipedia will grow many times.

  • To participate, you can visit http://bn.wikipedia.org and start editing. You can and should sign up, that gives some additional benefits, and takes at most 15 seconds.
  • To view Bangla unicode, and type in Bangla easily, you can get Bangla typing systems like Avro , or Avro (mirror), or Shabdik, Ekushey.
  • Do you have to be a scholar or specialist?? NO!! Your enthusiasm and love for Bangla are all you need. Just add information you know, with a link to the source ... but in any case, don't worry, we can guide you into adding information there. Once you join the Bangla wikipedia, an administrator will provide you with the guidelines on how to edit, what the policies are, etc.
  • You can also sign up in the group Bangla_wiki. If you have any problems, you can post there.
  • For a quick tutorial in Bangla, about how to edit in Bangla wikipedia, you can view http://www.ragibhasan.com/wikipedia . This has some info on basic syntax, which you can learn in about 5 minutes. Note that even if you haven't set up Bangla unicode yet, you can check this tutorial.
So, please, come join us, in this project to make a strong presence of Bangla language in the Internet.


6. Month long Programme for Bangla Wiki

As mentioned earlier, we have declared August 2006 as the Bangla wikipedia month. Under this programme, we, the Bangla_wiki project will do the following:


Proposed Programme

A. We will observe declare the last Saturday of the month as the "Bangla Wikipedia Day" , and have day long activities to promote Bangla wikipedia.

B. Campaign: Generate public awareness about the free open source Bangla encyclopedia, collecting open content such as images / photos of the sights and sounds of Bangladesh.

C. Camp/Workshop: Organize camps and workshops about how to edit/contribute to the Bangla wikipedia. This will be done in various universities

D. Publication of booklet/leaflet: Free Booklets will be published and distributed, detailing how to edit and contribute to Bangla wikipedia.

E. Publishing articles in electronic and print media

F. Opening a wiki hub to support the wikipedian: Many people in Bangladesh do not have regular Internet access. To allow them to contribute, their content can be emailed to us, or sent by post to the Bangladesh Open Source Network office (address to be provided soon). This way, we can allow everyone to participate.


G. The existing bangla wikipedians will edit/write at least 2 edits/day or 50/edits per month.


Let's show our love for Bangla, and make Bangla wikipedia the largest repository of knowledge in Bangla language.

Monday, July 31, 2006

6 crore Taka versus the power of open source

I was reading Daily Bhorer Kagoj today, where I read some news about Banglapedia (how it is being pirated). Anyway, a portion of the news was the announcement about the 2nd version of Banglapedia, to be published by 2008. The Asiatic Society gave an estimate of 6 crore taka.

Link to the news item (Requires IE and some non-unicode fonts to view :( )

I'm quite astonished at the huge amount of money being spent in that way. True, a paper encyclopedia needs a lot of expenses. The writers are paid ... the office staff need to be paid and so on.

That's why the power of open source is so great ... in only 3 months, we were able to create 3000 entries in the Bangla Wikipedia, with only 10 people working in our spare time. True, many of these entries aren't complete yet, but I just gave the example to show how the open source collaborative effort can achieve better results than committees and paid writers.

So, in Bangla wikipedia, we can have a target now ... to build a great Bangla encyclopedia, which can definitely rival Banglapedia. Of course, Banglapedia only covers topics related to BD, whereas Bangla wikipedia is going to be a complete encyclopedia, covering all areas of knowledge.

Let's get up to 10,000 articles by next year, as I predicted last may in the BBC interview. And best of all, our knowledge in Bangla wiki is going to be given away free for all the Bengali speaking people of the world!

Banglapedia publishers -- our great intellectuals of the Asiatic Society of BD -- lamented that Banglapedia is being pirated in West Bengal. Well, we don't mind at all if anyone gives away Bangla wikipedia ... after all, "if you give away knowledge, it grows, unlike money". The very essence of Open source is to share ... share our knowledge and contributions with the rest of the world.


Let us make this dream come true.

50 years of Hard disks!

NewsWeek reports that, next September 13th would be the 50th anniversary of the first hard disk drive.

Steven Levy writes,
"On Sept. 13, 1956, IBM shipped the first unit of the RAMAC (Random Access Method of Accounting and Control) and set in motion a process that would change the way we live."
Change indeed! Today, we have 120 GB or more hard drives sitting on our desks, with some geeks sporting terabyte storage systems for storing their infinite collection of Star Trek trivia and Klingon love songs.

So, what was the spec for the first disk drive? Let's see what Steven Levy writes:

"The drive weighed a full ton, and to lease it you'd pay about $250,000 a year in today's dollars. Since it required a separate air compressor to protect the two moving "heads" that read and wrote information, it was noisy. The total amount of information stored on its 50 spinning iron-oxide-coated disks—each of them a pizza-size 24 inches—was 5 megabytes."

Don't laugh. Your own drive will become obsolete in your lifetime, and you'd be telling your kids that "in 2006, I had a 120GB hard disk drive". I can visualize the smirk on your grandchild's face :)

I think in future, everything will become static, flash based or some other kind of chip based memory. Hard disks are good, have a lot of capacity for a dime, but still, they consist of moving parts, and that's why they are so much prone to failure.

Anyway, I still have my first 2nd disk drive. Though it sort of sings a serenade when I try to read something off it. Perhaps it's almost time I buried it in a time capsule for an archaeologist to discover in the year 2525 ...

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

GrameenPhone Launches Online Marketplace

Reuters reports that ,

"DHAKA (Reuters) - Bangladesh's top mobile phone operator GrameenPhone Ltd., majority-owned by Norway's Telenor, and USA-based CellBazaar have introduced a service connecting buyers and sellers in an electronic marketplace over the mobile phone.

This is the first time such a service is being launched anywhere in the world, Kamal Quadir, CEO of CellBazaar told a news conference on Tuesday.

The service will enable sellers to list details of their products, produce or even services in a database while buyers can look for any of this information through SMS.

The concept was developed at the MIT Media Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology."


Interesting indeed ... especially that MIT's media lab chose to implement its idea via GrameenPhone! Let's see how it turns out in the real world ...

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Functional Programming Contest

I know that functional programming is not really popular with BUET students, but this might be fun:

http://icfpcontest.org/

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

New release of Shabdik

I am happy to announce new release of Shabdik Bangla software version 4.5. You can download it from here www.iecbd.net .

The new introductions are


** Revolutionary Single Layer Phonetic Keyboard without any Extra Joiner Key for Typing Conjuncts

** Mixed english typing without switching by pressing 0 at the end, very useful for messengers

** Easiest Ever Keyboard Switching Mechanism with Double Press of Shift

** Jump to the Desired Hint using a Single Entry Numeric Input

** Dynamic Configuration Change Options

** Most Sophisticated Legacy font to Unicode Auto Conversion tool


With the support of dictionary based hints, active speller and autocompletion features of shabdik, this relase brings the most convenient bangla interface.


I hope you would enjoy using it and send us any suggestions/ feature request to serve your need.


Here is a screenshot of the new version.

Monday, June 12, 2006

First Bangla Boot Camp

Yesterday,10th June, we had first ever bangla boot camp at IICT, BUET. There were 18 participants including the organizers. (The number was to be around 30 but some guys couldn't join us due to heavy rain). In the camp we worked on Open Office.org localization. The program


started at 9:00 am. First Jamil Ahmed and Mahay Alam Khan (both from Ankur) showed the participants how to use localization tool (we used pootle there). Then translation started. More that 2000 strings were transleted in Bangla. The camp ended at 5:00 pm with a discussion session. It was co-ordinated by Munir Hasan (from BdOSN). And...



Here is a summary of the discussion:

1. So far the output of the camp is satisfactory. The efficiency will be increased in future.

2. All participants will work for making at least one volunteer for the next camp.

3. We will try to get a real server online so that the localizers can work at their own time.

4. We need to do something to make Linux based CD available in the country. One probable.

5. The Glossary already prepared should be finalized and uploaded by next 2 weeks.

6. A office may be very helpful for this sort of activities.

7 students from SUST were present. (5 came from Sylhet!!)

And the last thing is we had great fun in the camp!


and all of you are invited in the next camp. The one thing that is needed is the capability of writting bangla in unicode . And that is very simple. U can even write bangla using english letters on phonetics by avro keyboard.

there is also an yahoo group for the camping ... and it is free to join now for limited time... it will be moderated soon.. through the group you will receive all the updated news on camping...

some related links....

Ankur

omicronlab

Sunday, May 28, 2006

World Cup '06

FIFA World Cup '06 is approaching. I found an excellent excel sheet to keep track of game schedule and the results as well. Here is the schedule of FIFA World Cuop '06.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Internet Wars: Report Card

Recently, CNN published an article on measuring performance of search engines, in terms of financial activities. The article is quite an interesting read ... it analyzes the top search engines and measure / compare their actual economic performance. If you don't like to jump ahead to the article, here are the results:

  • Google: A ("most likely to succeed, but needs to diversify")
  • Yahoo: B+ ("well rounded but still not living up to the potential")
  • MSN: C- ("Has to be more diligent to catch up to the competitors")
  • AOL: C+ ("recognizes weaknesses, but is it too little too late?")
  • Ask.com : B- ("an A for effort, but needs to keep working hard")

Cool!!

Monday, April 24, 2006

Software Engineering Top Job in US

As a recent survey has found:
UIUC webpage

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Governments advised to use open source

Check out this link.

Interesting read

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

ACM ICPC World Finals

ACM ICPC World finals took place last week at San Antonio, Texas. As usual, the Russians and East Europeans dominated. The final standings go something like this:

2006 World Champions
Saratov State University

RankName
Solved
Time
1Saratov State University
6
917
2Jagiellonian University - Krakow
6
1258
3Altai State Technical University
5
681
4University of Twente
5
744
5Shanghai Jiao Tong University
5
766
6St. Petersburg State University
5
815
7Warsaw University
5
820
8Massachusetts Institute of Technology
5
831
9Moscow State University
5
870
10Ufa State Technical University of Aviation
5
980
11University of Alberta
4
479
12University of Waterloo
4
636
13Instituto Tecnologico de Aeronautica
4
13Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology
4
13Peking University
4
13Sharif University of Technology
4


There are several interesting things to see here. As seen above, the Russians dominate the whole contest. The shift of programming skills from the West to the former Soviet or East European countries is clear. Also, the Chinese are in the 5th position. Notably absent from the list are Indians ... none of their IITs got a rank greater than 39 (and hence got only honorable mention).

Iran's Sharif University is at number 13, along with KAIST and Peking Univ. Good show for Asians!! The lone US school at top 10 is MIT, at number 8. I don't recognize another US school in the top 39, though there are some Canadian univs.

What did BUET do? BUET is at number 39. Not too much to brag about :( .

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Old is Gold

The incident I am going to tell you took place two days ago on 21st March while we were implementing our interfacing project during the midterm vacation. On that day when we went out to take lunch we saw piles of old monitors, CPUs, printers and other instruments were stacked on the corridor in front of the networking lab. Our lab administrator of MCL lab was there so we asked him about what was going on. And then he told us that to clean up spaces these old pcs are sent to BUET stock room from where they will be sold out. He also showed us the very firsts of some of our lab's PCs, printers which includes First PC with keyboard and tape memory, first bubble jet and laser printer, scanner , projector, a keyboard prototype designed by one of former student and CPU of every generation . We then thought that these things should be saved and displaying them would encourage young students about how technologies are evolving. So we talked to Mostofa Ali Patowari sir, Tanvir parvez sir , Abu wasif sir and Masud Hasan sir and told them our plans. All of them agreed and talked with our head of department, Masroor Ali sir who happily agreed and allow us to select some of those so that we could implement our plans. Now what we thought is that we could place them in open spaces like in different corners of our lab or classrooms, or in a suitable position in the corridor with leminated descriptions of the device. I didn't have camera with me then but I took some pictures with my mobile. So I am attaching them at the end of this post. Sorry for the poor resolution.
Finally along this post by "We" I meant Atif, Ashish, Ovi, Shahan and Shafi.



Click the thumbnails to have bigger and better view.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Peeking into Google

Urs Hoelzle, Google vice president of operations and vice president of engineering, offered a rare behind-the-scenes tour of Google's architecture on Wednesday. Read about how google works here.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Open Source Network

On 8th March, in the BUET DEL CAFE a meeting was held on open source network in Bangladesh, its usage and future. Munir Hasan (National Project Coordinator, Strengthening the ICT Capacity of the Prime Minister’s Office) lead the meeting And some officials of www.ankurbangla.org were present in that meeting. The main focus was on the bangla linux movements. The ankur officials told the story of their success and lack of supports, feedbacks and unwillingness of Bangladeshi people for using the open sourced operating system, linux. They also mentioned about latest goggle’s bangla version. Google just give us a translation but still it is not localized for Bengali people, as it does not focus Bengali culture. So, we have to make some moves to localize the open source network in Bengali. They also welcome us in the world of open source network by giving us some live cds and open offices of linux. Munir Hasan also told us about some target, s we can make the mozilla firefox in Bengali, and a total operating system in Bengali by 16th December of current year! But the main problem is short of participants, so, some of us will lively join the project.

A committee has formed from BUET students to operate the open source network activities in BUET. We will meet our present department of head, Dr. Muhammad Masroor Ali. We are going to approach for a complete linux based OS and network in BUET LABS. We also are going to arrange some weekly or periodically meetings or training for BUET students who are interested and if possible some more seminars on open source with the presence of leading personalities. A yahoogroup for the open source network in BUET has also formed BUET_OSN.
So, we are on move from BUET in the campaign of Open Source Network.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

More on "CS Rulz"

The chair of CMU has an interesting say on the continual and increasing validity of computational thinking:

http://www.cs.cmu.edu/afs/cs/usr/wing/www/ct-paper.pdf
http://www.cs.cmu.edu/afs/cs/usr/wing/www/ct-slides.pdf

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Return of the CS jobs

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that, five years after the dot-com bubble burst, high skill job market is increasing in Silicon Valley. I won't go into details, but here is an interesting paragraph from the article. Look where I bolded the numbers!!

"A study last month by Joint Venture Silicon Valley, a nonprofit group representing businesses and government agencies in the area, found the nation's tech capital had a net increase in jobs in 2005 for the first time in four years. Most of the growth came in the category of creative and innovation services, including firms in research and development, scientific and technical consulting and industrial design. In total, the number of Silicon Valley jobs in these areas grew 4% from 2002 to 2005, reaching 72,734. At the same time, the number of jobs in electronic-component manufacturing -- which tend to involve assembly and other repetitive tasks -- dropped 28% to 23,772, while jobs in semiconductor-equipment manufacturing fell 23% to 58,133."

Intersting indeed. So much for the "EEE is the best" myth perpetuating in Bangladesh. I told some of my colleagues and classmates here about that, and we had a hearty laugh. My office mate from India told me that in India, CS is the most coveted subject in the IITs.

Anyway, this should be a bright light of hope shining in the horizon for the current students.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Google Page Creator

Google has launched a new service called google page creator which enables it's users to create and publish useful, attractive web pages in just minutes and ofcourse for free. After MSN space and Yahoo 360 google joined the fight with google pages. I'vent experienced it yet. Because it's in Beta now and has limited users. Someone having a Gmail account can use this service. It's features are :

* No technical knowledge required. Because it uses WYSIWYG technology,

* What you see is what you'll get. Edit your pages right in your browser, seeing exactly how your finished product will look every step along the way.

* You don't need to worry about hosting. Because pages will live on their own site at http://yourgmailusername.googlepages.com


Click here to know more about Google page creator.

Click here to use google page creator.

And here are some screen shots.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Gmail Skins

Gmail Skins is a Firefox extension that lets you change the look of your Gmail inbox

It adds the following features:

-Change the colour/skin of your inbox
-Insert smileys/emoticons and images in to your emails
-Make the navigation (Inbox, Starred, Sent Mail, etc) horizontal
-Fix the navigation in place so that you don't have to scroll to the top of the page to see it
-Zebra stripes on mailbox - pretty!
-Change the attachment paperclip (on inbox) to an icon indicating the type of attachment
-Hide various page elements (invite panel, page footer, your email address from the top right of -inbox - may be useful for public computers)

Download here

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Performancing Firefox

Another new advancement on Firefox for blogging..... the details are given below...:
Performancing for Firefox is a blog editor extension for Mozilla Firefox web browser. Using this extension, anyone can post an entry easily to his/her Wordpress, Blogger, LiveJournal, TypePad, and Movable Type blog. Once it is installed the extension, by hitting F8 or click on the little pencil icon on the bottom right to open the WYSIWYG blog editor (see screenshot).
Before starting posting, you need to add your blog account information so the extension can “talk” to your blogging system. You can add your blog information into by using the Performancing Account Wizard (see screenshot).
Once the wizard is open, you can specify what kind of blog system you are using. Unless you are hosting Wordpress and Movable Type yourself, you will be asked to enter your account username and password. If you are hosting Movable Type or Wordpress yourself, you will need to enter the server API address. The file is named mt-xmlrpc.cgi for Movable Type and xmlrpc.php for Wordpress.
The blog editor include a formatting toolbar with commonly used buttons such as bold, italic, underline, quote, increase font size, decrease font size, insert link, insert image, color, ordered list, unordered list, justify left, justify right, and justify.
Just like most WYSIWYG editor, performancing for firefox allows you to preview both the source code and the final preview of the entry you are writing.
This is a very nice and easy to use extension for bloggers. If you are looking forward for the Flock web browser because of it’s built-in weblog editor, you might wanna give Performancing for Firefox a try.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Badh vangar Awaj

Here goes another effort of bangla blog writing....in badh vangar awaj ... Here you can write bangla blogs.. they support bijoy keyboard as well as phonetic key board... by clicking you can write bangla blogs. you can express your views, experiences ... write online diaries ..novels , etc. and all are in bangla...

Mahathir says NO to Microsoft

Dr Mahathir Mohamad said Bangladesh should prefer Linux operating system to Microsoft in order to leapfrog in the ICT sector.Dr Mahathir Mohamad said Bangladesh should prefer Linux operating system to Microsoft in order to leapfrog in the ICT sector.While highlighting the key factor behind Malaysia's success in ICT sector, Mahathir said the Malaysian government did not adopt the "monopolistic and proprietary" computer operating system of Microsoft."We have standardized the use of Linux instead, which is based on open standards," said the former Malaysian premier while answering the audience after his remarkable keynote speech at the inaugural session of Bangladesh-Malaysia Business Forum .He gave credit to user-friendliness of Linux for Malaysia's tremendous success in e-governance, e-business and e learning. Mahathir said the Bangladesh government's ICT policy should also make Linux the national standard of computer operating system.

URL, http://www.thedailystar.net/2004/12/19/d41219050651.htm

Friday, January 27, 2006

Opera for mobile

Opera Releases 'Mini' Mobile Phone Browser, Opera Mini which supports virtually all Java-enabled cell phones and compresses Web pages by up to 80%, reformatting them for easy and fast browsing on mobile screens.

Opera said using the software will lead to significantly faster browsing and reduced phone bills for users who pay per kilobit of data traffic. Opera Mini's start page integrates a Google search box.

Opera will soon offer customized versions of Mini to mobile phone operators and handset manufacturers.

The browser is available in English, German, Spanish, French, Russian, Polish, Norwegian, Swedish, Danish and Finnish. More languages will be added in the coming months.


Source

Google in Bangla

Finally, Google opened a .bd domain ... So if you are in Bangladesh, most likely you'd be redirected to the new Google Bangladesh site : http://www.google.com.bd . The translations are somewhat strange sounding, but we'll get used to it. It was really great to see Google setting up their customized Bangla site.

Also, are you interested to write in Bangla in Firefox? Then here is a plugin you might find useful.

Let's promote the use of Bangla in computing. After all, it's our mother tongue!!

Thursday, January 26, 2006

বাংলায় ব্লগিং

আমি সিএসই ব্লগ এ বাংলায় কণ্ট্রিবিউশন আশা করছি । ইংরেজি কিবোর্ড-এই বাংলা লেখার জন্যে আমাদের তৈরি সফটওয়্যারটি (শাব্দিক) হয়তো অনেকের কাজে আসবে । এতে ১.২৫ লক্ষ শব্দের ডিকশনারি আছে যা থেকে context sensitive শব্দের লিস্ট চলে আসে । এটা ডাউনলোড করে নিতে পারেন এখান থেকে www.iecbd.net । IECB সিএসই(বুয়েট) গ্র্যাডদের প্রতিষ্ঠিত কম্পানি । আমরা শুরু থেকেই বাংলাদেশে শুধুমাত্র সফটওয়্যার এর কাজই করছি এবং বিশ্বাস করি সিএসই (বুয়েট) গ্র্যাডরা বাংলাদেশের জন্য অনেক অবদান রাখবে ।

শুভেচছা সবাইকে ।

Monday, January 23, 2006

MIT's Open CourseWare Initiative

MIT has initiated the Open CourseWare program, under which it would release the course materials of many courses offered at MIT. According to their website
  • Is a publication of MIT course materials
  • Does not require any registration
  • Is not a degree-granting or certificate-granting activity
I looked at the courses from the Electical Engineering and Computer Science Department, and the courses there looked quite interesting. If you are interested, you can take a look there.

MIT has always been at the frontier of engineering and computing. By opening their courseware to the world, they are providing the rest of the world a chance to reach for the vast expanse of knowledge, to learn information not available even a few years ago.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

The million-dollar student


Alex Tew, business management student in Nottingham University launched milliondollarhomepage.com which has made him more than one million dollars in four months.

So what's his secret? It was selling pixels, the dots which make up a computer screen, as advertising space, costing a dollar per dot. The minimum purchase was $100 for a 10x10 pixel square to hold the buyer's logo or design. Clicking on that space takes readers to the buyer's website.

With $999,000 banked so far, Alex recalls his thought process at the time. He says: "I wrote the title to spark the creativity and then wrote down the attributes the idea needed. It had to be simple to set up and understand.

Read the full story here.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

New Course: Machine Learning

Last semester, there was an optional course Machine Learning, a newly introduced one, taken by our dear Abu Wasif Sir. This was likely a specialized branch of AI. In whatever way the course name smells, we saw no mechanical devices or machines.

It was all about how you can make computer programs learn from experience. Now, learning is considered to be a divine aspect of human being. Human can learn more powerfully than any other creatures. It is one of the virtues that kept human being ever growing through science, culture and dominance.

Now, if our computer programs can learn, they can be said to possess some intelligence to some extent. This intelligent agent can be used for our purposes, like to help us recognizing some patterns (e.g., images, face, handwritten characters,) to classify among abundant of data or to drive our car. The reason we need to make computer programs do these tasks for us is not (only) that we are being lazy! In most cases, it will take many people and many months for us to do the same thing by hand. Employing a computer program is like employing a dedicated brain (which has nothing else to do) for cheaper cost.
All these tasks require some extent of intelligence as we cannot provide a computer all possible handwritten characters to store & to recognize a particular character. Computers should learn recognizing characters nearly the way we do. We do not (need to) see all possible alphabets written by all the people in the world to (almost/nearly) recognize an alphabet written by a person whose handwriting is not even familiar to us. We cannot always do it with certainty. What you can do if someone writes something so badly! But, in other cases, we show some capability to recognize an alphabet written in a familiar language. What if it is written in Greek? We say that -it is all Greek to me! Why? Because it is a language or at least a set of alphabets we (probably) did not learn. For, English & Bengali, yes we can recognize the alphabets of these languages written by almost any people.

So, such of our capability is an outcome of our prior learning.

Now, what is learning? It is usually difficult to give definitions to very simple concepts. Most of the time, we define complex ideas with the help of simpler concepts. Then what concepts we would use to define the simpler concepts?

There was a discussion on the definition of learning in our batch forum’s Machine Learning sub-forum which is in cooperation with Abu Wasif Sir. Many came up with many ideas, but at last we converged that the standard definition in CS literature remains indomitable. What it says can be rephrased informally as - whatever you do, if I can show that you have improved with respect to some/any performance measure of some/any task, then I can say that you have learnt. The thing you were doing then can be said as having some experience. So, you were learning from experience. Thus, you do not need to learn something intentionally. Even, you do not have to be aware that you are learning. Perhaps you are trying to forgetting something and still it can be proved that you have learnt if a proper performance measure of a proper task has been found, with respect to which you have yet improved. Very interesting! Though, in case of machines, task & performance measures are set first, and then we need our machines to improve on it from experience.

How can a computer program/machine learn? There are many models that has the capability to learn (according to the definition), such as –decision tree, artificial neural networks, Bayesian learner, genetic algorithms, etc. Each needs elaboration to elucidate. In short, each of them are posed with example instances along with their classes, algorithm governing the model tries to learn the examples and gain a generalized view such that it can classify a newly posed instance (with some significant success), classification of which is yet not known. In terms of statistics, it does nothing but develops general hypothesis by observing the samples. Sounds familiar now?

Generalization on unseen things is not a trivial matter. If I observe that, you look for an umbrella before going out during rainy days and do not need it during winter; I guess that you will soon search for your umbrella before going out if the sky is heavily clouded and about to rain. This guess is a generalization, a hypothesis, built after observing some samples. It was fairly easy because looking for umbrella depends roughly on one variable, the weather. Now, what if your decision depends on thousands of parameters, e.g., your mood today? It gets even harder, if your decision itself is multivariate, e.g., the things you will do today. U.S. Army intelligence detected 9/11 terrorists more than a year before the attack, using one of machine learner’s capabilities of automatically searching data for patterns, particularly known as data mining.

A very interesting perspective of building hypothesis is that you should have some prior belief/bias to generalize your ideas from observing examples. If you do not have a bias, you would fail to generalize over unseen instances. So, you have to set a proper bias before learning. Bad biases classify incorrectly. No bias just cannot classify, correct or incorrect. Probably this is why agnostics frequently suffer from indecisions (on non-secular matters)!

Machine learning is an emerging area of Computer Science. Many works yet has to be done on it. Success rate of the learners are yet increasable in most cases, which require further research. Computer programs still cannot recognize characters as successfully as we do. We have a long way to go before we make them learn like us or when we may need to learn like them!

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Google pack

Google pack has been released today. This bundle contains a lot of top quality, freely available software. I've been using almost all of these excellent packages, but for a newbie, the google pack may be a good way to get them all from a single source.

  • Google pack contains:
  • Google Earth
  • Picasa
  • Google Desktop
  • Google Toolbar for IE
  • Mozilla Firefox
  • Norton Anti-virus with 6 months of subscription
  • Ad-aware special edition (this is a great spyware)
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader 7
Isn't this nice!!! All the cool software for the cool people!

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Happy New Year

Ok, there have been a plenty of new years wishes in the mailing list, so I'm summarizing them here ...


Happy New Year to all students, current and former, of CSE BUET.