Thursday, December 29, 2005

Year-ending Group Lunch

Rishi proposed that we should have a group lunch to celebrate the end of the year. So, Prof. Winslett and our whole group went to El Toro for a group lunch on Saturday, December 17. I was interested in meeting Arash, another student of Prof. Winslett, whom I am yet to meet. However he didn't show up. Lars was also missing.

Anyway, the lunch was good. I was surprised though, because I thought El Toro would be a costlier restaurant. It turns out that El Toro is a chain restaurant, and this is one of the two branches in Champaign.

We had a nice chat during the lunch. Everyone recounted where we have travelled, the different anecdotes from the travel experiences, and also where we want to go. I haven't travelled to too many countries. The only two I've been to are India and USA. But if I get the chance, I want to visit Europe and South America. My cherished place is the Inca ruins of Machu Picchu. I also want to visit the Pacific Islands like the Easter Island, Tahiti etc. I've read so much about them since I was a kid.

It was great to have such a nice gathering. It enhances the interaction among the students of our group (although already we have a lot of interaction going on). Posted by Picasa

M.S. Conferral Ceremony

I got my Masters Degree on December 18th, 2005. This was my first commencement ceremony. I had missed my undergraduate convocation (that's what the ceremony is called in Bangladesh). That was a great loss ... as the ceremony was a grand one ... with the Prime Minister of Bangladesh giving out the certificates. I got 2 gold medals for my undergraduate results (passing Summa Cum Laude). My wife, Jaria, attended that ceremony and got the awards on my behalf. Anyway, that's why my MS graduation ceremony was so important to me.

I took Jaria and some of my friends to the ceremony. I was impressed ... the ceremony was smooth and flawless. We didn't get the actual certificates, those will be mailed in about 2 months. But to attend the ceremony with the cermonial gowns and the orderly procession was a great feeling.

After the ceremony, we celebrated at our local Indian fast food restaurant.

I put more photos in my website's album pagesPosted by Picasa

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

My poster at the ITI Dependability Workshop

This is my poster from the ITI dependability workshop at UIUC on December 6, 2005. Basically, this shows my Master's thesis work. The system is still a work in progress, so not all bits and pieces of information are there, and not every sort of details figured out, but still it was a nice experience to work on the poster and also to build the system. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

My Thesis: (Finally)

I've been putting off writing my Masters Thesis for a long time, but this fall, I decided to do it. I'll be building a framework for policy driven information exchange between entities. For example, in a disaster/emergency situation, a control room could gain access from resources that otherwise don't allow access.

Prof. Winslett gave me this idea last summer. I'm coding like crazy right now to finish it within this week, so that I can start writing it up.

If it's implemented, it will probably be included in the City of Champaign's control room.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

ACM StorageSS 2005 in George Mason University

I'm just back from a trip to ACM StorageSS 2005, co-located with ACM CCS, in George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia. I had 2 papers published in this conference. The first one, was on Storage Service Providers, and the second one was on Storage Threat Models.

3 members of our StorageSS group: Bill, Suvda and I went to the conference. Bill was also the program chair. The experience of attending the conference was a good one ... I met a lot of people in the Storage field. For example, I met Kevin Fu, the MIT guy. designed of SFS, now an assistant prof at U Mass. Amherst. Yongdae Kim from UMN was there, and so was Ethan Miller from UC Santa Cruz. I also met other grad students from StonyBrook, UMN, and UCSC.

Many of the talks were insightful. Since I work in the area, I knew about most of the topics, and had discussions/chats with the bigwigs during the lunch and coffee breaks.

Mine was the first presentation of the day. I had practised extensively, so everything went smoothly. Bill (Yurcik) was happy with the talk.

Prof. Winslett, my advisor, came to the talk. She also introduced me to Will Winsborough (Prof. at UT San Antonio) , Prof. Ning Yu (from Purdue), and some Italian researchers (Bonatti, Samarati).

George Mason University is one of those traditional east-coast schools, about 30 miles away from Downtown Washington D.C. Not too big, but the campus was nice.

Monday, November 07, 2005

AnHai Doan's Academic job hunting talk

Today, AnHai Doan gave a talk on Academic job hunting. Now, I've taken AnHai's class, and he is a very good speaker. At first, he doesn't seem impressive ... but as soon as he starts to talk, he just has everyone listening. He is very very funny, and even makes jokes at his own expense.

Anyway, AnHai talked about how we should proceed when looking for an Academic job in a talk school. Lately, UIUC is lagging behind other schools in academic job placement of its graduates. AnHai says the key is to get into the habit of "people watching", network with people, and know who to impress. Interestingly, AnHai says that paper count is NOT the main thing ... rather the quality of paper and how it's closely related to research area is important.

Another thing is to generate "buzz" and have a presence. Academic recruiters look for people they can hire, and a good word from a high-placed person can mean a lot.

I was impressed by AnHai's talk ... I hope I'd be able to incorporate some of that into my own life.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

How to write an SOP/Get a Reco

Nope, I won't give tips, but here's something people from admission committee, and professors tell me. Basically, they don't really rely on recommendation from unknown professors. Also, most of the recommendations from South Asia are likely to be written by the applicants themselves, this is a known fact. Besides, it makes a recommender's credibility very low when every student s/he recommends is "My favorite student".

The best way to improve chances of admission is to write a great Statement of Purpose (SOP). Don't make it sound like you are bragging. The admission committee have no idea who you are ... grades don't reveal a lot about a person. So the Statement of Purpose is the best way of presenting/selling yourself ... you get to show off.

More on this in my personal website article that I'm working on now.....

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

My favorite Science Fiction Movies

I like Sci-Fi movies, and there are some which I like more than others. Here is a list of my favorites:

  • 1. Close Encounters of the 3rd Kind
  • 2. Artificial Intelligence
  • 3. 2001: A Space Odyssey
  • 4. Gattaca
  • 5. Star Trek (most of the original series)
  • 6. E.T.
  • 7. Back to the Future
  • 8. Total Recall

Well, there are some others, I just can't remember right now.

Photo from Matt Bishop's visit to UIUC

Ok, this is a photo from October 24, 2005, as I have mentioned in an earlier post. I've finally got off the procrastination mode and managed to get the photos dloaded from my camera.

Matt Bishop is at the center of the photo, with other people from our NCSA Security Research Group. I'm standing to the left of Bishop. Posted by Picasa

Matt Bishop's visit

Matt Bishop from UCDavis came to UIUC yesterday. For those who doesn't know him, Bishop is the author of the book, "Computer Security: Art and Science". This is one of the encyclopedic works on computer security theory. Of course the book is highly mathematical, and not one on the practical implementations. Anyway, for any serious security researcher, this is a must-have book.

Prof. Bishop came to our NCSA security research lab last afternoon. He is one of those jolly, friendly professors ... was quite free with us, and affable. I had been studying for the Security midterm since the weekend ... I told him to wish me good luck as he signed my copy of his book. :D. I also have a picture taken at the lab...

By the way, the midterm was quite tough!!

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Star Trek

I like watching Star Trek, but I'm not sure which series I like: Star Trek Original Series or the Next Generation.

One thing is that I've seen more of Star Trek TNG than TOS. The TNG is in syndication now, so I watch at least 5-8 episodes per week. Although there are about 63 episodes in the original series, I've seen only the first season.

Of course, I like Captain Kirk more than captain Picard. Somehow I find Kirk more heroic. Picard sometimes look too much pompous to me, too much diplomatic.

Anyway, the characters I don't like would be Worf and Troy.

By the way, among the movies, definitely I like the ones from the original series (Star Trek 1-6). The newer movies are aweful.

And, I definitely don't like the newer serieses, like Star Trek:Voyager, Star Trek:Deep Space 9, and Star Trek:Enterprise.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Crazy weather in Champaign-Urbana

The weather in Champaign-Urbana is totally crazy. Today started with a lot of rain/cloud etc, and remained cloudy. But right when I thought it would end up as one of those cold-rainy-windy days, it became sunny in the afternoon. This reminds me how I was duped last year by the sunny sky, which turned into torrential rains within 10 minutes, and left me all soaked up in my best outfit.

Thursday, October 20, 2005


Today was IBM day at UIUC CS department. A Whole day of talks, demos and other fun activities. I attended some of the talks, which dealt with some projects at IBM, and some others at UIUC.

At noon, there was the Pizza session, with Pizza from Papa-dels. A lot of people came, I guess for the pizza. Anyway, there was a poster session too. Adam Lee and I were planning to take our posters, but they didn't have room for it. I looked into some posters that interested me. Joe Tucek had a poster on the paper that's being published at SOSP. I also looked at Qingbo's poster, and some other one that used Game theory for Network security.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Fall in C-U

Fall is in full bloom in Champaign-Urbana. It's fun to see the trees changing the color almost overnight. The weather is surprisingly warm for this time of the year. Of course, there are predictions that it would remain so throughout this winter.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Tagore festival in Urbana

Today, we attended the Tagore Festival at the Tagore Center, Channing-Murray Foundation, Urbana. Rabindranath Tagore came to the University of Illinois in 1911-12, to visit his son, who was studying Agriculture here. Each year, a festival is held in mid-October to commemorate his stay. Interestingly, it was during his stay in Urbana that Tagore learnt about his Nobel Prize for Literature.

The program was great : we didn't attend the session at noon, but others told us that the violin session was great. We reached there at the start of the afternoon session, when local artists were singing Tagore songs. Also there were several dance presentations. It was a well-planned, and well-rehearsed program. Also, it was great to see so many Bengalis gathered together for such a nice cultural program.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Qual Lunch at Mandarin Wok

Our Group at NCSA went for a lunch at Mandarin Wok on Green Street. Bill is definitely one of the most enthusiastic persons I've ever met ... he was even more enthusastic about the 3 of us taking quals (me, Joe and Adam). Well, we all passed ... unlike last year (when some didn't). I met 2 new people from Prof. Han's group, Chao Liu was the one who also took quals this year.

Always good to meet new people ....


PS: The food at Mandarin Wok sucks.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Passing Qual makes me feel like a King!!

No more taking 3 crappy courses. No more going to prof. for a progress report. I am free....

And now I can start my very own research work ...


Friday, March 04, 2005

Passed Qual!!!!

I passed my qual!!!!! So officially, I'm a full PhD student now!!!!!

Hurray...... I am finally getting a PhD for sure......

Thursday, March 03, 2005


I am still waiting for my quals. It is really frustrating to take it on the 14th Feb, and wait till 3 weeks!! The results were printed today, but wouldn't be posted due to the silly fact that the person who has to carry it from CS Office to Mail room is not there. !!!!!

I know I did ok, but still the wait is too bad.