Posts Tagged ‘saying thank you’

A personal perspective on the WebSci summer school

You can probably tell from my previous burst of blogging that the recent WebSci summer school in Galway enthused me. As I believe I mentioned before, I wasn’t totally certain of what to expect or if the week would be worthwhile, but it absolutely was.

I had two minor niggles: firstly, 90 minutes is a very long slot even for speakers of keynote quality. Secondly, I couldn’t tell the difference between ‘talks’ and ‘tutorials’ (I expected the latter to be more interactive, and to include exercises). Overall, however, it it was an extremely well-executed week with a great range of speakers and topics… for instance, see my write-ups of talks from Wendy Hall, Bernie Hogan and Marc Smith, not to mention my rants about data and social networks.

For me personally, I especially valued three aspects:

  1. I met some new and wonderful (not to mention enthusiastic!) people
  2. I got to broaden myself, learning some new stuff around natural language processing and network analysis (a change, given my UX/HCI background!)
  3. I had some thoughts about a nice piece of Web Science-y work I’d like to do in advance of WebSci’12

Yes, we were enthusiastic...

It was a valuable week: if future WebSci summer schools run in a similar vein, I’d certainly recommend them.

Thesis acknowledgements and haiku

I suspect that I’ll mostly use this blog to talk about my ongoing work, not to mention experiences as an expat in the Netherlands. Before I get into that territory, though, a few final EngD-related things:

I recently spotted that an acquaintance of mine posted her thesis acknowledgements section online. I like the idea: it’s not as though anyone aside from supervisors, examiners and perhaps parents are likely to leaf through one’s thesis, yet the acknowledgements section is a good opportunity to thank people that made a difference. As such, I shall shamelessly take a leaf from Laurian’s book — my acknowledgements section is pasted below.

In other news, Dissertation Haiku is a lovely site for people who’ve recently finished their PhDs to describe their thesis (or dissertation, as it’s known in the USA) in haiku form. You can find mine here.

Here are the acknowledgements:

I’d like to thank Dave Millard for his support and guidance through the course of this research. His uncanny ability to ask searching, difficult questions has undoubtedly strengthened my critical abilities, not to mention this work. My thanks also extend to Andy Stanford-Clark, whose shrewd input and enthusiasm have kept me on track and engaged.

I’ve had the good fortune to have guidance from many others, notably including my second supervisors Dave de Roure and Mark Weal. I’m grateful to the many study participants who so generously gave up their time, and for the discerning input of my brilliant proof readers. This work was also made possible by IBM’s generous support.

The communities at IBM Hursley and LSL have been welcoming and supportive, while figures such as Faith Lawrence and Max Wilson been role models for conducting doctoral-level research. I continue to draw inspiration from those around me, particularly Wendy Hall and Nate Matias, who achieve great goals with dedication and hard work while supporting the many communities around them.

I’m lucky to have many wonderful people in my life, and I’d like to thank them for their support: amongst people too numerous to list, my thanks extend to Reena, Jane, Don, Thomas, John-Mark, Ruth ‘n’ Tim, Alan, Hugh, Dave and the OGC crowd. Thanks for putting up with me!

Finally, and most of all, my thanks to Alisdair for his unfailing support, which is too extensive to enumerate.