Monday, June 25, 2012

New Updates (Finally!)

Hello interwebbers!

It has been MUCH too long!! I feel like I haven't updated this thing in years....but the best part about that is now I've got lots of juicy/awesome things to share that I wouldn't have had a couple months ago :)

Let's start with where I am now...for the summer I am working at Truven Health Analytics (formerly known as Thomson Reuters) as a software developer intern. So far, I LOVE it! The best part is definitely the people I get to work with but some of the other awesome noteworthy points include:

  • They use agile processes, something I've been interested in learning more about for a LONG time (like since undergrad) so I'm getting first-hand experience in it! (A sidenote here is that my thesis may involve investigating agile processes -- this I'll talk about a little more later).
  • One of the first assignments I was given (which I've actually been able to contribute to the software since I've been here -- AWESOME) was to work on integrating FindBugs into the build process which is directly related to the research I have been working on with Yoonki (for those of you who have been following my blog you know what I'm speaking of -- any new followers I discuss my research in previous blog posts). 
  • At least once a week there is some sort of free food for breakfast and/or lunch -- who doesn't enjoy free food??
  • Although I am a software developer, I'm still getting to do researchy things (i.e. researching the options for integrating FindBugs into our process).
Although I very much enjoy doing research/writing papers (which I will discuss shortly), I am thoroughly enjoying getting back into programmer mode. I'm getting the opportunity to brush back up on my coding/java before I get started on my own thesis which will eventually lead to coding of a prototype more than likely. Oh how I've missed getting caught up in coding, interpreting stack traces and debugging :) ... It's a little more difficult because I'm working on code that's already been around/worked on but all the more the challenge :D

As far as research goes, for anyone who didn't know I went to Zurich, Switzerland about 2 weeks ago for ICSE 2012. I was invited to participate in the ACM Student Research Competition which was comprised of a first-round poster competition and a second-round oral presentation after which finalists were chosen to go to the Grand Finals. I was chosen to make it to the second round (yay!) however did not place/make it to the Grand Finals :(. Despite this, I am quite pleased with my first international conference presentation. I was even told by a few people that my poster was the best they say in the competition :). Unfortunately, my oral presentation was not as impressive but I was able to get some great feedback from judges and bystanders alike to help improve my odds in future competitions/submissions. I was also able to meet people that were interested enough to want to participate in our user study (once we actually get around to getting it started)! And of course, we can't forget the sight-seeing while in a new country! I took wonderful pictures, all of which can be found here.Overall it was a successful trip filled with networking, fun, and photos :D

On another research note, I am in the process of trying to develop my own thesis for a project. My advisor thought it might be a good idea to go ahead and start thinking about it (initially for a VL/HCC submission but I wasn't able to make that one). Being that I've always been interested in agile development, I would like it to be related to that. And of course I would like to focus on tool development since that's what I've been working on recently/the work that is done in the lab I am in. I thought I had something going, until I spoke to my advisor :). I already knew I had a lot of work ahead of me, but I wasn't able to actually put everything into perspective until I got the feedback from my advisor (where would we be without them??). Now that I have a better idea of the direction I should be going while trying to figure out 'the problem I want to solve', hopefully things will start back going in the right direction leading to a BOMB abstract/research project. 

Continuing the research discussions, Yoonki and I heard back from FSE and found out that our paper was not accepted :(. The biggest problem was (as with my presentation at ICSE) that the results seem inconclusive/incomplete or that more work needs to be done to make the actual results more clear to those reading our work. There were different pointers given from needing a larger participant pool to needing a prototype to validate the results. Although I'm still trying to get the hang of all this, I think I'm making the right kind of progress (which some progress is better than no progress at all I would imagine). I just can't wait to develop the kind of confidence my advisor has in his abilities/ideas/etc. It's a process (as is everything, right) but a process that I think will be well worth it. 

This is getting a bit long and I almost feel like I'm rambling at this point but as things progress with my internship/research I will keep you all posted. Hopefully now that school's out I can be a bit more consistent with my posts...but we'll see :)

Until next time... <3

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