[FoRK] W3C sponsor, AI / supercomputing Ph.D. program, Silicon Valley

Stephen D. Williams <sdw at lig.net> on Tue Oct 2 12:50:36 PDT 2007

I'm at a major crossroads and aggressively exploring options to flesh 
out my two major choices of coast / company / project / growth 
I think it wise to solicit you FoRKers for information, suggestions, 
offers to help, etc.

I'm working on a high performance computing project right now, hacking 
Crays and Linux nodes at the system level, at a NASA site.  At this 
point, I can move to Mountain View to expand that, work to get into 
Stanford Comp/Sci in AI research for a Ph.D. (or just for fun), and get 
my daughter into the West Coast culture and a change of educational 
venue.  Or I can do something like stay in the DC area to work on the 
architecture of a large government project, possibly as Technology 
Fellow and CTO of a small and growing consultancy.  In either case, I 
can make it work, and both are attractive.  The decision is complex and 

First, I have yet to get a clear idea of the feasibility of joining a 
Stanford research group on a part-time basis.  Friends have insisted 
that few Ph.D. students end up paying tuition, or full tuition.  I have 
no idea if this applies to Stanford.  Another friend, an insider there, 
suggested that one path to an invitation to join a team is to volunteer 
for a year or so to prove ability and creativity.  I wouldn't have a 
problem with that.  My extensive background, successes, and my 
creativity and energy are just what is needed, and somewhat unique, in 
that environment I think.  I was recently invited to join a new Ph.D. 
program in Health Informatics at GMU by well-known Professor Michalski 
that would be mostly machine learning.  Unfortunately, he died about 10 
days ago.  Still, getting into and managing a Ph.D program at GMU, which 
has fairly strong AI research, would be far more certain and simpler 
than MIT or Stanford.  (CMU is not in an attractive area.  They actually 
have a CMU West at Moffett Field, but they only seem to do software 
engineering there.)

Suggestions and information about this would be welcome.

Second, I have been participating in the W3C, first as an invited expert 
and later as my company's AC rep, for over 4 years.  I've been key in 
the XML Binary Characterization and Efficient XML Interchange working 
groups.  I continue to participate in EXI and have quite a number of 
innovative ideas on the table that I feel should be part of the format.  
I founded the open source OpenEXI, which Santiago from Sun immediately 
joined and is in the progress of being joined by Siemens, Fujitsu, and 
others.  EXI is likely to be much more widely used than XML, being 
efficient and flexible enough to be used for nearly all data exchanges 
under even high performance situations.  Participating and making the 
result as good as possible is highly important to me, and I think, the 
future of IT.  My aggressive protection of the "right" solution, of 
under-represented use cases, and willingness and ability to creatively 
solve and evaluate solutions has already made a large difference and 
avoided many pitfalls.  Unfortunately, my company is less interested in 
being a technology leader than in addressing business development and 
quarterly financial performance concerns. 

I am additionally very interested in the RDF and Semantic Web activities 
of the W3C.  I monitor progress, participate in special interest groups 
and mailing list discussions, and I would like to join related RDF/SW 
working groups.  Additionally, I recently presented a position paper on 
EXI and XML Signature and Encryption.  I'm a CISSP and deep into 
security policy, mechanics, and secure application development.

Therefore, I'm looking for either another company or some type of 
sponsor, financial and indirect or part-time consulting and direct, to 
allow me to maintain my W3C participation.  Since I'm not employing my 
RDF/SW/AI expertise and creative talents, it would seem a good fit to 
provide consulting and W3C representation and access to experts on a 
less-than-full bore basis.  I have talked to one RDF/SW-centric startup 
along these lines.

Ideas?  Encouragement?


swilliams at hpti.com http://www.hpti.com Per: sdw at lig.net http://sdw.st
Stephen D. Williams 703-371-9362C 703-995-0407Fax 20147 AIM: sdw

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