Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Give Back/Help Out

I (slightly) modified the right hand side of my blog to include some charities that I support. In some cases, I have good friends that have dedicated their professional lives to helping to build these organizations.

These don't even begin to scratch the surface of great organizations that offer great ways to help others. I listed these because I know a bit more about them personally and I'm confident that they do good (efficiently!). Another good friend, Edwin, recently added a blog post on Abilities United, which works with kids experiencing challenges in development and gives them special attention based on their needs. Take a careful look at Abilities United: they deserve support and all the help they can get.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Cisco launches Russia/CIS fund

Brent Marcus left a note that Cisco recently announced a Russia focused venture fund. I will be in Moscow in a few weeks and will try to get some first hand information to blog about.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Data grids and the Web

There's been a lot of talk recently about web 2.0, social networks, and cloud computing. To my way of thinking, these are very much overlapping categories. One useful technology that can be used support all of these models is the concept of a "data grid": high performance, distributed and reliable caching technology. On-Demand Enterprise has a good profile of, which uses Oracle Coherence technology to support their web site.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The First Rome

I spent the last two weeks on holiday in Italy. This was the first time I've taken two weeks off from work in nearly 20 years, so this felt like a much needed break. We traveled to Rome for several days, then on to the Amalfi coast, and across the country to Romagna and then spent our last few days in Venice. Three things struck me about Italy: the warm and passionate people, the incredible food, and the rich cultural and religious history that one encounters – in many ways is confronted with – throughout the country. Here are a few of photos and some thoughts along the way.

Rome sits under waves of consecutive civilizations. There is the indelible imprint of the Greek, Roman, early Christian, Byzantine, Gothic, Frankish, and ultimately modern world in Rome. It's not an exaggeration to suggest that you could spend many lifetimes absorbed in studying the remnants of each: the city is history alive. Our hotel was right down the street from the Colosseum: to best grasp the complexity of the operations of the Colosseum, you need to walk the insides. From here, you can see something of the scale, still impressive in a modern city. Many of the blood sport scenes involved animals that were kept below the center of the stadium. You can see the basic layout in this photo.

The next photo is the Arch of Constantine, the emperor that in many ways was responsible for the Christianity Europe still knows it today: he called the first Ecumenical Council at Nicea in 364 AD, which established the basic dogmatic creed for the faith. The arch also illustrates the engineering prowess of the Romans: note also that Italy still runs potable fountains throughout the city that were based on the acquaducts established by the Romans as well.

We visited the Vatican, including St. Peter's and the Vatican Museum. What an incredible wealth of Renaissance art. The scale of St. Peter's is awe inspiring, though the artistic motif is very much humanist. The church retains the old style of a domed church, so common in the Byzantine tradition; inside each dome is an elaborate series of paintings:

A haunting view of St. Peter in Glory (the dove represents the Holy Spirit):

It was, however, the Vatican Museum, that most impressed and surprised me by its scale and beauty. As we were touring with child, we had to move rather quickly through the museum to visit the Sistine Chapel, our top target. However, here is a view of one of the corridors leading through the museum. The museum is one of the main things in Rome I'd like to return to visit for a few days of sustained study:

When we left Rome, we traveled to the Amalfi coast for the better part of five days, partially for relaxation. A snapshot of the beach area below the cliff into which our hotel (La Terrazze: highly recommended for both location and the dinners) was built.

Here is the exterior of St. Andrea's Cathedral in Amalfi: note the cultural interplay between Byzantine and Arabesque styling; Amalfi was once a major port city and trading center in the Mediterranean.

A closeup of the mosaics of the twelve apostles, again, Byzantine in style.

The American novelist Gore Vidal described Ravello as the most beautiful place he had visited in all his travels. I concur. The church of St. Panteleone on the main piazza contained several throwbacks to early Christianity: the blood relics of Panteleone from 306 AD and an old icon of the virgin Mary. This seems to me to echo the early apostolic churches, which transferred dogma through liturgy, iconography and the veneration of saints, rather than scripture (the New Testament canon had not yet been formed at the time of Panteleone). Here are some fresco remains with an air of antiquity:

We spent several days in Romagna, a great family destination for relaxing on the Adriatic beaches. We explored the medieval hill towns by car. Stunning vistas overlooking valleys, olive groves and vineyards.

After Romagna, we had a few days in Venice. A remarkable city, though after a few days, we were glad to escape the throngs of tourists. Venice is a place to explore for three reasons: history, art and architecture. San Marco Basilica combines all three and is rightly considered the centerpiece of the city. Here are some external shots of Venice (photos in the interior of San Marco are forbidden, but the interior mosaics are stunning).

Switching gears: if the export of tourists is any indicator of macroeconomic conditions, pay attention to Venice. The tourists from Europe were, as always, predominantly German. But I was stunned by the throngs of Russian tourists, something I rarely encountered five years ago. Similarly, Japanese tourists still lead the visitors from Asia, but they were joined by lots of visitors from China. Of course, China and Russia have both been doing well, so perhaps this is evidence of well-known trends.

All photos by Ruth Pavlik; no photos may be reused without permission.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Solzhenitsyn remembered

I read Solzhenitsyn relatively late, much later than I should have. For me, his work will always serve as a warning about how readily humans can be trapped in a cycle of cruelty and exploitation: both as exploited and exploiters. I read dozens on essays remembering Solzhenitsyn over the last few days; I thought this piece from der Speigel captured the Western perspective quite well: he was never really understood by those who received him in exile, that he was sometimes thoroughly wrong headed, and that he was undoubtedly one of the greatest men of the last century.

Monday, August 04, 2008

WESOA 08 Workshop (second CFP)



In conjunction with the 6th Int. Conference on Service Oriented
Computing (ICSOC 2008)

Sydney, Australia, December 1st, 2008

WESOA Workshop Website

Abstract Submission Due: Oct. 1st, 2008


In large-scale software projects that increasingly adopt
service-oriented software architecture and technologies, availability
of sound systems engineering principles, -methodology and -tools for
service-oriented applications is mission-critical for project success.
However, engineering service-oriented applications poses specific
requirements that differ from traditional software engineering and
service systems engineering (SSE) is not yet established.
Consequently, there is an urgent need for research community and
industry practitioners to develop comprehensive engineering
principles, methodologies and tool support for the entire software
development lifecycle of service-oriented applications.

The WESOA series of workshops addresses challenges of service systems
engineering that arise from unique characteristics of service-oriented
applications. Service-oriented applications closely resemble the
organisation principles of their application domains that are often
process-driven networks. They are compositions of service system
components that are provided by autonomous stakeholders based on
unique assets and capabilities. Therefore, service-oriented
applications often have a social dimension and can be regarded as
constituents of social service communities. It is the challenge of
service systems engineering to not only cope with these specific
circumstances but to capitalise on them with radically new approaches.
The WESOA series addresses these challenges and particularly
concentrates on the aspects of service-oriented analysis and design
that provide principles methodology and tool support to capture the
characteristic requirements of networked service communities and
transform them into reusable high-quality service system designs that
underpin and drive the holistic service-oriented development

WESOA'08 continues a successful series of former ICSOC
workshops. During the past three editions, WESOA has demonstrated its
relevance by constant high numbers of contributions and participants.
Its impact is documented by consistent output of high-quality papers
that regularly satisfied requirements of Springer and led to a special
issue of IJCSSE.


WESOA'08 encourages a multidisciplinary perspective and welcomes
papers that address challenges of service-oriented systems
engineering, analysis and design in general or in the context of
specific domains. Workshop topics of interest include, but are not
limited to the following:

* Service systems development lifecycle methodologies
* Service-oriented reference models and modelling frameworks
* Service-oriented analysis and design patterns
* Models, languages and methods for service-oriented domain analysis
* Analysis and design for service-based organisations, social networks
and communities
* Requirements-engineering for service systems
* Service-oriented business processes modelling
* Engineering methods for design of reusable and composable services
* Service-oriented analysis and design for grid-computing, e-Science
and cloud computing
* Architectural styles and standards for service systems
* Contract and policy design for service systems
* Design of service systems choreography and orchestration
* Service assembly, composition and aggregation models and languages
* Validation and verification of service systems
* Tools support for analysis and design of service systems
* Model-driven SOA and service systems development
* Case studies and best practices of service-oriented analysis, design
and development


Authors are invited to submit original, previously unpublished
research papers. Papers should be written in English and must not
exceed 12 pages, strictly following Springer LNCS style
( including all text,
references, appendices, and figures. Please, submit papers via the
WESOA conference management tool (see WESOA website) in PDF format.

All submissions will be peer-reviewed by members of the international
program committee. Paper acceptance will be based on originality,
significance, technical soundness, and clarity of presentation.
Accepted papers will be included in the workshop proceedings, and
circulated to participants prior to the event. Workshop proceedings
will be published as a Springer LNCS volume.

At least one author of an accepted paper must register and participate
in the workshop. Registration is subject to the terms, conditions and
procedure of the ICSOC conference to be found on their website


* Abstract Submission Due: October 1, 2008
* Paper Submission Due: October 6, 2008
* Notification of Acceptance: November 3, 2008
* Camera-Ready Copy Due: November 24, 2008
* Workshop Date: December 1, 2008


* Sudhir Agarwal, Karlsruhe University (TH), DE
* Marco Aiello, University of Groningen, NL
* Sami Bhiri, DERI Galway, IE
* Jen-Yao Chung, IBM T.J. Watson Research, US
* Oscar Corcho, University of Manchester, GB
* Vincenzo D'andrea, University of Trento, IT
* Valeria de Castro, Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, ES
* Gregorio Diaz, University of Castilla La Mancha, ES
* Schahram Dustdar, Technical University of Vienna, AT
* Wolfgang Emmerich, University College London, GB
* George Feuerlicht, Sydney University of Technology, AU
* Stefan Fischer, University of Luebeck, DE
* Howard Foster, Imperial College London, GB
* Paul Greenfield, CSIRO, AU
* Rannia Khalaf, IBM watson Research, US
* Bernd Krämer, Fernuniversität Hagen, DE
* Winfried Lamersdorf, University of Hamburg, DE
* Heiko Ludwig, IBM Research, US
* Tiziana Margaria-Steffen, University of Potsdam , DE
* E. Michael Maximilien, IBM Almaden Research, US
* Massimo Mecella, Univ. Roma LA SAPIENZA, IT
* Harald Meyer, HPI Potsdam, DE
* Daniel Moldt, University of Hamburg, DE
* Josef Noll, Telenor R&D, NO
* Guadalupe Ortiz Bellot, University of Extremadura, ES
* Rebecca Parsons, ThoughtWorks, US
* Greg Pavlik, Oracle, US
* Pierluigi Plebani, Politecnico di Milano, IT
* Franco Raimondi, University College London, GB
* Wolfgang Reisig, Humboldt-University Berlin, DE
* Thomas Risse, L3S Research Center, DE
* Norbert Ritter, University of Hamburg, DE
* Dumitru Roman, DERI Innsbruck, AT
* Stefan Tai, Karlsruhe University (TH), DE
* Willem-Jan van den Heuvel, Tilburg University, NL
* Walid Gaaloul, DERI Galway, IE
* Jim Webber, ThoughtWorks, AU