I still have lots to share after recently attending Bio-IT World in Boston … The latest comes as a Bright Computing contributed article to the April 2013 issue of the IEEE Life Sciences Newsletter.
The upshot of this article is:
Progress in the Life Sciences demands extension of IT infrastructure from the ground into the cloud.
Feel free to respond here with your comments.
As some of you know, I’ve recently joined Bright Computing.
Last week, I attended Bio-IT World 2013 in Boston. Bright had an excellent show – lots of great conversations, and even an award!
During numerous conversations, the notion of extending on-site IT infrastructure into the cloud was raised. Bright has an excellent solution for this.
What also emerged during the conversations were two uses for this extension of local IT resources via the cloud. I thought this was worth capturing and sharing. You can read about the use cases I identified over “On the Bright side …“
Further to the LinkedIn discussion on the relatively recent acquisition of Platfom by IBM, I just posted:
Platform CEO and Founder Songnian Zhou has this to say regarding the kernel of this discussion:
“IBM expects Platform to operate as a coherent business unit within its Systems and Technology Group. We got some promises from folks at IBM. We will accelerate our investments and growth. We will deliver on our product roadmaps. We will continue to provide our industry-best support and services. We will work even harder to add value to our partners, including IBM’s competitors. We want to make new friends while keeping the old, for one is silver while the other is gold. We might even get to keep our brand name. After all, distributed computing needs a platform, and there is only one Platform Computing. We are an optimistic bunch. We want to deliver to you the best of both worlds – you know what I mean. Give us a chance to show you what we can do for you tomorrow. Our customers and partners have journeyed with Platform all these years and have not regretted it. We are grateful to them eternally.”
Unsurprisingly upbeat, Zhou, Platform and IBM, really do require that customers and partners give them a chance to prove themselves under the new business arrangement. As noted in my previous comment in this discussion, this’ll require some seriously skillful stickhandling to skirt around challenging issues such as IP (Intellectual Property) – a challenge that is particularly exacerbated by the demands of the tightly coupled integrations required to deliver tangible value in the HPC context.
How might IBM-acquired Platform best demonstrate that it’s true to its collective word:
“Give us a chance to show you what we can do for you tomorrow.”
Certainly one way, is to strike an early win with a partner that demonstrates that they (Zhou, Platform and IBM) are true to their collective word. Aspects of this demonstration should likely include:
- IP handling disclosures. Post-acquisition Platform and the partner should be as forthcoming as possible with respect to IP (Intellectual Property) handling – i.e., they should collectively communicate how business and technical IP challenges were handled in practice.
- Customer validation. Self-explicit, such a demonstration has negligible value without validation by a customer willing to publicly state why they are willing to adopt the corresponding solution.
- HPC depth. This demonstration has to be comprised of a whole lot more than merely porting a Platform product to a partner’s platform that would be traditionally viewed as a competitive to IBM. As stated previously, herein lies the conundrum: “To deliver a value-rich solution in the HPC context, Platform has to work (extremely) closely with the ‘system vendor’. In many cases, this closeness requires that Intellectual Property (IP) of a technical and/or business nature be communicated …”
Thus, as the fullness of time shifts to post-acquisition Platform, trust becomes the watchword for continued success – particularly in HPC.
For without trust, there will be no opportunity for demonstrations such as the early win outlined here.
How else might Platform-acquired IBM demonstrate that it’s business-better-than-usual?
Feel free to add your $0.02.
Recently I shared an a-ha! moment on the use of virtual environments for confronting the fear of public speaking.
The more I think about it, the more I’m inclined to claim that the real value of such technology is in targeted skills development.
Once again, I’ll use myself as an example here to make my point.
If I think back to my earliest attempts at public speaking as a graduate student, I’d claim that I did a reasonable job of delivering my presentation. And given that the content of my presentation was likely vetted with my research peers (fellow graduate students) and supervisor ahead of time, this left me with a targeted opportunity for improvement: The Q&A session.
Countless times I can recall having a brilliant answer to a question long after my presentation was finished – e.g., on my way home from the event. Not very useful … and exceedingly frustrating.
I would also assert that this lag, between question and appropriate answer, had a whole lot less to do with my expertise in a particular discipline, and a whole lot more to do with my degree nervousness – how else can I explain the ability to fashion perfect answers on the way home!
Over time, I like to think that I’ve approved my ability to deliver better-quality answers in real time. How have I improved? Experience. I would credit my experience teaching science to non-scientists at York, as well as my public-sector experience as a vendor representative at industry events, as particularly edifying in this regard.
Rather than submit to such baptisms of fire, and because hindsight is 20/20, I would’ve definitely appreciated the opportunity to develop my Q&A skills in virtual environments such as Nortel web.alive. Why? Such environments can easily facilitate the focused effort I required to target the development of my Q&A skills. And, of course, as my skills improve, so can the challenges brought to bear via the virtual environment.
All speculation at this point … Reasonable speculation that needs to be validated …
If you were to embrace such a virtual environment for the development of your public-speaking skills, which skills would you target? And how might you make use of the virtual environment to do so?
Confession: In the past, I’ve been extremely quick to dismiss the value of Second Life in the context of teaching and learning.
Even worse, my dismissal was not fact-based … and, if truth be told, I’ve gone out of my way to avoid opportunities to ‘gather the facts’ by attending presentations at conferences, conducting my own research online, speaking with my colleagues, etc.
So I, dear reader, am as surprised as any of you to have had an egg-on-my-face epiphany this morning …
Please allow me to elaborate:
- Yesterday, I witnessed a demonstration of Nortel web.alive (dubbed by some as ‘Second Life for business’)
- This morning I was brainstorming content with a colleague for an upcoming presentation on computing resources available for researchers at York
It was at some point during this morning’s brainstorming session that the egg hit me squarely in the face:
Why not use Nortel web.alive to prepare graduate students for presenting their research?
Often feared more than death and taxes, public speaking is an essential aspect of academic research – regardless of the discipline.
As a former graduate student, I could easily ‘see’ myself in this environment with increasingly realistic audiences comprised of friends, family and/or pets, fellow graduate students, my research supervisor, my supervisory committee, etc. Because Nortel web.alive only requires a Web browser, my audience isn’t geographically constrained. This geographical freedom is important as it allows for participation – e.g., between graduate students at York in Toronto and their supervisor who just happens to be on sabbatical in the UK. (Trust me, this happens!)
As the manager of Network Operations at York, I’m always keen to encourage novel use of our campus network. The public-speaking use case I’ve described here has the potential to make innovative use of our campus network, regional network (GTAnet), provincial network (ORION), and even national network (CANARIE) that would ultimately allow for global connectivity.
While I busy myself scraping the egg off my face, please chime in with your feedback. Does this sound useful? Are you aware of other efforts to use virtual environments to confront the fear of public speaking? Are there related applications that come to mind for you? (As someone who’s taught classes of about 300 students in large lecture halls, a little bit of a priori experimentation in a virtual environment would’ve been greatly appreciated!)
Update (November 13, 2009): I just Google’d the title of this article and came up with a few, relevant hits; further research is required.