2010 Year-End Letter to Stakeholders

Table of Contents

  1. Year-end Summary
  2. Mini Symposium
  3. More Information

1. Year-end Summary

The Open Source Research (OSR) Group was founded in Sept 2009, so it has been 16 months since inception. We hope to be writing a year-end summary every year, available to anyone interested. FAU is the university, CS is the computer science department, “we” is the group, and “I” is Dirk Riehle.

  • Hiring: During 2010 I succeeded in hiring three top-notch Ph.D. students; this fills the initial positions available to us. The three are actively working on their dissertations now. A first funding proposal for another Ph.D. student was submitted to the DFG during 2010, more are to follow.
  • Funding: Following the initial outside funding (gifts) through Novell/SUSE and Red Hat, as facilitated by the OSBF, I was able to acquire sponsoring from BaCaTeC, Google, and the University, mostly for travel. 2011 will have to be the year of increased grant applications.
  • Research: I published several papers in reputable journals, but those represent follow-up work from before the OSR Group was founded. You can find them on http://dirkriehle.com. First submissions of original OSR Group work to journals and conferences are now in the making.

    More about research results can be found on our website or in the appended Mini Symposium proposal.

    In addition, we performed the usual services on journal and conference committee review boards.

  • Teaching: As a newcomer, the OSR Group has no predefined place in the FAU computer science curriculum. Thus we have to make do with existing generic slots, and we are specializing on lab courses (“Praktika”). Two classes stand out: The AMOS Project and Nailing your Thesis.
    • The AMOS Project is a semester-long lab course intended to teach students teamwork and industrial strength software development. No such class existed before. The 2010 AMOS Project developed Mydosis, the software and service for a Wikipedia of dosage information for pediatricians, filling an important need.

      We were able to attract a highly competent group of student developers who developed the first Mydosis release, staying with the project even after the lab course finished. We are now seeking funding with the goal of creating a startup for Mydosis.

      For an AMOS Project I actively seek industry partners and the 2011 AMOS Project is likely to work with public (governmental) open data, mobile devices, and web services.

    • Nailing your Thesis is a semester-long hands-on lecture + exercises + self-study in which we lead students in performing research work and writing a computer science paper that will be submitted to a conference. No such “performing scientific work” class currently existed at FAU’s CS department.

    We are teaching as part of the Applied Software Engineering teaching and research alliance. It is noteworthy that during 2010 I brought in two additional industry lecturers as well as five industry guest speakers to help keep things real. I intend to build on this for the SS 2011.

    More about teaching can be learned from our website or through the appended Mini Symposium proposal.

  • Press: During the first few months after the OSR Group was officially established, we counted 13 press mentionings (before we stopped counting), involving noteworthy places like the Financial Times (Germany), the Handelsblatt, Nürnberger Nachrichten as well as a host of smaller more specialized outlets.
  • Industry: During 2010 I presented 22 industry and general-interest talks (non-research-paper talks) for outreach purposes. One every second week! I have been actively consulting and am now in the process of engaging with two major industry organizations in the area for joint projects.
  • University: I sit on a couple of internal committees; what’s noteworthy is that I led the CS department’s first effort after 10 years to nominate a FAU dissertation for the GI dissertation prize. The intent was to help FAU’s CS department gain added research visibility. We intend to keep leading this effort.
  • Public service: I joined the scientific expert advisory committee of one of Germany’s political foundations for the Enquette Commission “Internet und Digitale Gesellschaft”. I hope to bring our expertise to the table, in particular for the upcoming work topic “Wirtschaft und Arbeit” (business and labor).

These rather short snippets may not be able to convey the breadth and depth of what we are doing! So please don’t hesitate to ask.

One way of making things more concrete is by looking at the agenda options for a possible Mini Symposium (or just selected talks) on the following page. We are happy to show-case our work to sponsors and interest parties, so please take us up on it. Student talks are subject to availability.

That said, for the Open Source Research Group at the Friedrich-Alexander University of Erlangen-Nürnberg, I’m wishing everyone a happy and successful 2011!

Dirk Riehle, 2011-01-02

The Rest of the Letter

Available as a PDF file.