Friday, 26 October 2007

Interesting MSc Dissertations at Trinity in Dublin

I have been at Trinity College in Dublin today as external member of the MSc exam board. While reading MSc dissertations I learned at lot of interesting things. Here are two pointers to technologies which I like to share (they may be useful in further projects):

SUMO - Simulation of Urban Mobility: An open source traffic simulation package

Small computing platform:

Thursday, 25 October 2007

Slowly settling in

Time is flying. We are nearly one month in Essen. Teaching started well and quite a number of students came to our course (see We have a reliable Internet connection and more furniture than we need ;-) Starting from scratch is a great experience – especially as everybody was very helpful.
Nevertheless it takes a lot of time and effort. I am extremly happy that I was able to start with a real team (Dagmar and Paul)!

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

In Search of Excellence

At the Fraunhofer retreat in Westerburg we had very interesting discussions on research and research strategies in computer science. The span of excellent research in computer science is enormous ranging from theoretical work (e.g. math style proofs), to engineering type work (e.g. systems), to experimental and empirical work (e.g. studies). This makes it really challenging to find a common notion of “excellent research”. This reminds me of an interesting book which I started to read (recommended to me at the retreat): In Search of Excellence: Lessons from Americas Best Run Companies by Robert H Waterman et al. – so far it is really interesting to read. However everything in management seems really straightforward on paper – but in my experience in the real world it always comes down to people.

Monday, 8 October 2007

Guest course at the University of Linz, MSc Pervasive Computing

I am teaching a guest course at the University of Linz in the Pervasive Computing master program. The topic is Unconventional User Interaction – User Interfaces in a Pervasive Computing World ( Today we started with an introduction to motivate how pervasive computing changes human computer interaction. I am already looking forward to the projects!

At dinner I learned why you can never have enough forks in a good restaurant. In case you loose your pen for the mobile phone a fork will do… The topic of the lecture is everywhere!

Information inside the cap

Travelling on the train from Crailsheim to Nürnberg I saw several police officers on their travels back from an assignment at Stuttgarter Volksfest. When we got off the train the collected their caps from the luggage rack and observed an interesting (traditional) information display.

Inside the cap they carried a schedule and a description of the location they had to go. The size of the paper-display was about 15 x 15 cm. It seems an interesting place to display and access information – perhaps we will do a digital version of the cap as an assignment in our courses.

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

Starting from scratch – or how to bootstrap

We arrived in Essen and slowly are booting up the new group. It is exciting to have the change to start from scratch! Chairs and internet connectivity are highest priorities ;-)

At the moment our virtual presence ( is much further than our physical – one has to have priorities.