Thursday, September 27, 2007

QUATIC07 - the humanistic version of the story

On the last post I mentioned my findings from QUATIC07, and specifically from the input received from the software engineering doctoral consortium workshop. Now it's time to clear out what I learned from the whole experience.

Let's start this thing to mention this is my second event of this sort. I've attended to CAPSI 05, to present a paper entitled "Desduplicação sobre um conjunto de nomes próprios" (in english, "Duplicate removal in a set of first names"). The paper was presented by Helena Galhardas, that despite being the third author - my teacher of decision support systems at the time - she had both the recognition and the experience to make a proper presentation without the beginner's jitters...). So, despite having a published paper, I hadn't present any, so far. Enter the QUATIC event. I'm now faced with the opportunity to show my PhD expectations to other students and teachers of the same area. And present a poster to the entire academia/industrial audience on the conference's hallways. And have my thesis proposal published as a paper on a IEEE proceedings! I must say I was pretty excited about the whole deal!

Day one. I arrived at the conference to present the thesis to the doctoral workshop, SEDES. The conference was in portuguese, and the first interesting fact I noticed was the geographical tendencies of the participants: I was the only one who lived/studied/worked below the northern part of portugal. The rest were all from Coimbra, Aveiro, Oporto, so Lisbon (!) was a strange city among them :) But everyone was really looking for a chance to get feedback on their work, so there wasn't much time nor motivation for picking around that! Well, after receiving my reviews, I met personally one of the reviewers, and found out he is going to be part of my PhD jury. I had lunch with all of them, and proceeded to the remainder of the thesis discussions. And that's about it.

Day 2 and 3. The poster. I placed the poster on a wall in the hallway, and got a nice desk to sit at. This way, I got to show some supporting images to some enquiring passerby. I made an english 10 minute presentation about it, to the industrial world, and got some positive feedback on the subject (the technical questions were a bit far from what I was expecting; the academia is surely more prepared to criticize my work, as it is still a novelty to the others). On the last day I got to see a teaching perspective on software engineering. Miller's presentation about TSP and PSP were most enlightening and entertaining. The day ended with a dinner in a Brazilian restaurant with live music. I got to mingle a bit with people I had met but rarely had the chance to talk to. It was fun, but I have to admit I was pretty tired. I went to bed and slept for a good 7 hours, before waking up to finish another presentation (7 hours seemed a lot, as I had been sleeping from 3 to 5 each night until then!)

Last thoughts. I had a great time, the preparation was quite helpful in organizing my mind schemes, and the feedback was the cherry on the top of the cake. But now I need to evolve my work so that I can go to a IEEE well known conference - not that this wasn't a good one, but I need some heavyweight recognition when I'm facing a fulminating jury! Advice for the PhD newcomers? Don't miss out opportunities like this! It can be expensive, obviously, but there are organizations able to fund your research and your publications and presentations!

Going back to Emacs (is there any other TeX editor worth reverting to, when you're an emacsen?)