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Windows on Theory
Posted by Rob Knies
Education can take many forms. We’re all familiar with the typical ones, those in which teachers teach so that students can learn. But sometimes, the educational process also can be all about learning how people learn.That particular form of education is what the Global Learning Council (GLC) at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) is designed to support, and it also is why the university has called upon Anoop Gupta to help.Gupta, a distinguished scientist with Microsoft Research, is one of 11 leaders from academia, industry, and technology named Nov. 11 as founding members of the council, to be chaired by Subra Suresh, CMU president. The consortium, dedicated to open sharing of data, will develop standards, identify best practices, and encourage educational engagement via the use of science and technology.
On four occasions over the past 30 years, the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC) has presented honorary doctoral degrees to esteemed individuals.Such recognition, which requires national accreditation, is conferred to honor a distinguished visitor’s contributions to a specific field or to society in general.The three previous honorees were Nobel Physics Laureates: Samuel Chao Chung Ting, who won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1976; Abdus Salam, the 1979 winner of that award; and Gerardus ‘t Hooft, who won the Nobel Physics honor in 1999.The fourth, presented Nov. 1 in the Student Center of the East Campus of USTC, went to Rick Rashid, founder of Microsoft Research.
Distributed computing can be a fiendishly difficult endeavor. Its benefits are manifest: Such systems pass messages across a series of computing devices connected to a network, and those devices interact efficiently to achieve results beyond the capability of any of the individual components.Such work, though, is not for the faint-hearted. But then, the faint-hearted don’t walk the halls of Microsoft Research Silicon Valley, which has focused on distributed computing since its founding 12 years ago. Still, many vexing hurdles remain to be cleared, and scientists from the Silicon Valley lab will be suggesting solutions to some of them during SOSP 2013, the Association for Computing Machinery’s 24th annual Symposium on Operating System Principles, being held from Nov. 3 to 6 in the scenic Laurel Highlands region in Southwestern Pennsylvania.
Once again, for the second year in a row, Rick Rashid delivered a bravura performance during his opening keynote address of Microsoft Research Asia’s 15th Computing in the 21st Century Conference.Last year, during the same event, he closed his presentation by demonstrating to an awed crowd in Tianjin, China, a working example of speech-to-speech translation. Declaring that “personally, I believe this is going to make for a better world,” he left the stage to deafening applause. Some members of the audience admitted to being brought to tears.His talk on Nov. 1 at the Hefei (China) Grand Theatre included no comparable razzle-dazzle. It was titled The Role of Basic Research in Innovation, and it simply, engagingly delivered as advertised.But the keynote also represented so much more. Rashid, who founded Microsoft Research and spent 22 years as head of the organization, recently chose to return to his roots in operating systems, the realm in which he first staked his claim as one of the great computer-science minds of his era.