Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Experiments and Results

 We researchers do experiments and evaluations all the time. Most of the time, these don't give us the results that we wish for. For example, if we design a computer system that can recognize pretty girls by monitoring a camera, it will also recognize several grandmas as pretty girls :-p.

We usually have two choices when this happens. If we are a professor, we can refuse to let our students go on vacation until they improve the results. If we are not, we tinker with the system until the results are more acceptable.

However, there are some occasions where we get really good results. This is supposed to be good, but it actually freaks us out. Most of the time, such good results are a sign of a silly mistake during the experiment, or forgetting to consider something very basic.

A good example of this is the recent news about neutrinos traveling faster than light. Now they have found that they have forgotten that the GPS satellites are moving objects (oh well, it is not like they are rotating around our heads and we see that all the time. Can't blame anyone for forgetting that :-p).

If you are the Einstein-aware type, you can read about the neutrino mystery here:

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Steve, Apple and Research Funding

Computer Science conferences have a list of sponsors, that includes almost all big IT companies. Google, Microsoft, HP, etc, etc. There is one notable exclusion. Apple.

We conducted a thorough survey (okay, asked around) to find out why. Here are the possible reasons:
  1. A survey by Apple revealed that the total financial value of the return from multimedia research in the last five years is 51 cents.
  2. Steve's notebook already has all the "novel" ideas that we presented in the last 15 years, and will be presenting in the coming decade.
  3. Some researchers just wait until Steve comes up with a new device so that they can do research on it. So, they are always behind Apple.
Bye, Steve, we miss you more than all the computer science researchers put together!