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My current research
When I turn 90, I may have to give up doing leading-edge research in IT. Somewhere around there anyway. No useful purpose is served wondering about it. In the meantime, when I left the University I turned away from the dry avenues of administration and management to return to the rewards of research, as my time allows. I am working in two fields which are closely related.
Links to professional data
Including my consulting business, the course I have offered, the students I supervise, PowerPoint presentations, recent papers, my curriculum vitae, and the University of Tasmania.
Mobile & Ubiquitous Computing
What a mouthful! And does anyone know what ubiquitous means? This field is still only gelling, and I chose this particular phrase to describe what I am doing because (a) it is descriptive, and (b) my limited market research suggests that people remember it because of the odd word. Mobile & Ubiquitous Computing (MUQ for short, pronounced 'muck') is the trend of the next decade and will supersede the Internet and the Personal Computer, just as they themselves killed off timeshared computers and proprietary networking.
MUQ is about computer applications that are not held down by their power cords and Ethernet cables. It is about computer users that can roam the world, or from the suburbs to the city. It is about devices that know where they are, and not only that they also know something about the place they find themselves in. They also know something about the person who is using them, so their use can be appropriate to personal needs and context instead of 'one size fits all'.
MUQ is also about computers being everywhere [ubiquitous (yubikwitus) adj. 1837. Everywhere pervasively present, such as God, an influence, a philosophy, a style.] This marks a transition from the one-person one-computer paradigm of the PC era into the one-person many-computers era that we are rapidly getting into. In this era, traditional good old Internet ideas will become as obsolete as the horse and buggy. Yet the field drags in radio telecommunications, cellular technology, infrared communications, the human-computer interface, ethics, Java (yes!!), platform independence, electronic commerce, security, speech recognition, adaptability and usability. Just to start...
While I cannot be completely happy with all the features of the Java language (I worked with Pascal and Modula-2 for far too long to think that any descendant of C or C++ can be perfect and I still think that correctness is a jewel beyond price), it is clear that it is an outstanding piece of software engineering. It is also following in the user-driven tradition established by Pascal, rather than the vendor-driven products we see so much of. Of course, many thousands of people are working on Java and developing it, so what could I do myself?
Well, I could turn to the deep and dark insides of the JVM (Java Virtual Machine) and see what might be done to make hardware which was more sympathetic to Java than the Pentiums of today. It was clear that programming style in Java was different from traditional languages, and the demands on execution would be subtly or substantially different. A few companies, groups and people had obviously worked in this area, but few enough so I thought I could make a contribution. So I am...
Fun stuff
Read the sidebar to find out about my ambigrams/inversions. There are currently 4 on this research site in the sidebars, but you will have to look for the others. I am going to add a new inversion  every few weeks. Click the Mind-it link to be notified when I put up a new one. The other sidebars contain interesting Australian phrases and sentences, which you might find useful if you come to Australia. Or just for amusement. Discover our culture.
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