close this bookVolume 7: No. 85
View the documentFunding news
View the documentPolitics and policy
View the documentBusiness programming
View the documentIndustry news
View the documentCareer jobs (in our CCJ 7.43 digest this week)
View the documentComputer Science journals
View the documentEvents and timely news

DARPA/ITO has issued BAA-98-12 soliciting proposals for self-adaptive software that can evaluate and can modify its own behavior. DARPA is looking for mission-based reasoning techniques rather than neural networks or genetic algorithms. Applications include automatic target recognition, signal processing, planning/scheduling, and robotics. Runtime generation of component interface code from specifications would be good. 27Jan98; Robert Laddaga , (703) 522-7161 Fax. . [CBD, 16Dec97., 13Dec97.]

NIST and the National Research Council (NRC) jointly offer awards for postdoctoral research associateships by US citizens. $45,500/year plus relocation, benefits, and $5,500 in travel or research expenses. NIST divisions that support these associateships are interested in AI for design and manufacture, system interfaces, computational metrology, collaborative design, etc. See and . Inquiries about engineering design-related research can be directed to Ram D. Sriram , (301) 975-3507. Apply by 15Jan97, as directed on . [Mark Schwabacher ,, 05Dec97. David Joslin.]

The National Defense Panel -- mandated by Congress a year ago -- has concluded that the Pentagon should abandon its two-war mission readiness and prepare for "homeland defense" against electronic sabotage and chemical or biological terrorist strikes. What's needed are smaller units capable of rapid, world-wide deployment with more accurate weapons, enhanced satellite defenses, and better protection against chemical and biological attacks. [Robert L. Park, WHAT'S NEW, 05Dec97.]

Canada has extended its experimental high-tech immigration exclusion through Mar98, by which time 400-600 software specialists may have come in without having to prove that no Canadians could fill the jobs. [Ottawa Citizen, 09Dec97. EduP.]

Raphael Malyankar clarified an immigration issue for me. The limit of 65K H-1B visas is in addition to 140K employment- related immigration visas (for all fields, and counting spouses and children). Further, recent graduates of US universities can get up to 12 months of employment authorizations upon graduation -- enough to tide them over until the new visa year. You can find much more info about US immigration and work policies on , esp. Norman Matloff's "A Critical Look at Immigration's Role in the U.S. Computer Industry." Raphael has serious doubts about the recently reported worker shortages and the high wages supposedly available to techies. It's certainly possible to find lower-paying jobs, esp. for recent graduates. [, 10Dec97.] (Also, AI graduates who want to pursue their research further may find few ready-made opportunities. The high salaries are for people willing to do what needs to be done, and that seldom includes AI or research.)

President Clinton plans to order federal agencies to "reprogram" hundreds of millions of dollars -- appropriated for other technological purposes -- to fix their Year 2000 problems. [Ottawa Sun, 12Dec97. EduP.]

A British National Health Service (NHS) study has found the Year 2000 problem to be beyond its budget and skills. Fixing life-support machines, hospital lifts, and doctors' desktop computers could cost half a billion (?) pounds -- or even more, if the fix isn't done until lives start being lost. NHS believes that the rest of the world is even worse off. [Reuters (London), 10Dec97. Bill Park.]

"Yep, kids, in my day, we talked to computers by cutting holes in pieces of cardboard." -- Le Conconcombre Masquee'. [Bill Park , 10Nov97.]

Gartner Group estimates that 30% of all companies internationally have not yet begun to deal with Year 2000 issues. London IT psychologist David Lewis estimates that two in five business leaders are "Internots," still in denial. As an example of the problems that "Y2K stragglers" may face, Brian Wengenroth of Booz, Allen & Hamilton cites a large oil company which recently discovered that thousands of its refinery oil valve controllers will need new chips. However, new chips don't work on the old motherboards, and the new motherboards don't fit the old valves -- so the valves have to be replaced as well. [Bronwyn Fryer, 08Dec97. Paul Milne ,, 11Dec97.] (How long will it take the valve company to fill all new orders from all its customers? Milne says "Membership is now available in 'The Former Optimists Society.' Applications will not be taken after Dec 31, 1999.")

Jim Rivera points out that COBOL programmers tend to be accounting-savvy and business-aware in a way that C/C++ programmers are not. While the hardcore developers were taking classes in data structures and algorithms, the COBOL-minded were studying advanced accounting and business methods, etc. MIS-related background info may be needed to effectively debug business code. Besides, you can do a better job if you're interested in the applications and the programming culture. [,, 09Dec98.]

If you're in it strictly for the money, become a SAP programmer. SAP is a business application, with models for factory machines and processes as well as inventory and accounting concepts. Pay is "... lots more than any of the rates discussed here." [Harlan Smith ,, 09Dec97.]

Electronic performance support systems (EPSSs), or expert systems, are now used to diagnose car troubles, prepare intricate car-leasing documents, plan complicated travel itineraries, and handle performance auditing. As these systems take over white-collar jobs, employers will be less willing to pay a premium for highly educated, experienced workers. [Phillip J. Longman, US News & World Report, 26Nov97. NewtNews.]

Robert J. Samuelson says the average American uses 213 pounds of office paper per year, double the 1966 average. (Tissue use is up 51%; newsprint use is down 6%.) The US has an estimated 8.1M copiers and 16M fax machines (and will send 65B faxes this year, or 250 per person). One reason paper survives is that it helps distinguish important, durable information from infoglut. A paperless society would be chaotic. [Newsweek, 01Dec97, p. 53.]

A coalition of Dutch and German scientific research libraries is saying that libraries subscribing to a print journal should pay no more than 7.5% extra for electronic access, and that an electronic journal alone should not exceed 80% of the print rate. [Science, 28Nov97. EduP.]

Nelsen Media Research says there are now 58M US/Canadian adults on the net, up 15% from six months ago. 20%-25% go online every day. 10M have bought something over the net, up 50% in six months. [WSJ, 11Dec97. EduP.]

Can't afford your own domain name, (InterNIC registration is $100 for two years. Your ISP may charge another $25-$75 to set it up, plus monthly charges.) A good alternative is a vanity domain from a company that has reserved a lot of cool choices. You won't be the only one using the domain, but so what? Some can be rented by the month (and forwarded to another email address), others are free if you don't mind looking at ads. Available selections include,,,,,,,,,, and Sign up with My Own EMail , iName , or Vanity Email . There are also companies offering single domains for specific groups, such as to Florida State University fans. [Elizabeth Wasserman, SJM, 09Nov97, 5F.]

In its first 30 days, Apple Store rang up $12M in orders and became the 3rd largest e-commerce site. Apple Store was created using Apple's WebObjects software. [PRNewswire, 10Dec97. Bill Park.]

Regardless of the lawsuit outcome, Sun has found a way to provide the components of Java that Microsoft insists on leaving out. A Sun program called Activator automatically downloads Java Virtual Machine features from Sun's website if it can't find them on your machine. [WSJ, 10Dec97. EduP.]

Hitachi and Intel have come up with software that can generate PC video from any of the 18 high-definition digital TV standards that have been proposed. [NYT, 05Dec97. EduP.]

Motorola produces more than 50K different chips, ranging up to the PowerPC microprocessor. System chip sales are now $4B/year, but could top $70B by 2001 -- three times the current microprocessor market. Motorola intends to be the leader in custom chip design. [BW, 15Dec97. EduP.]

You can now get circuit boards with 4,096 little computing cells implemented in field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs). Mapping problems to such an array is roughly the same as programming for a Connection Machine. It can be a low-cost, high-performance way to do genetic algorithms. [John Koza , genetic-programming, 10Dec97. Bill Park.]

UPittsburgh: asst. prof in intelligent multimedia systems.

Brown U. (Providence, RI): asst. profs in experimental CS.

Argonne National Lab (IL): postdoc in distributed supercomputing, telepresence.

Washington U. (St. Louis): GRA in multiagent systems, game theory. (*)

UOklahoma (Norman): director of CS dept.

SMU (Dallas): CSE prof and department chairman.

Denver: AI scientist for agents, KBS, educational software.

PostLinear Entertainment (San Francisco): SEs in games AI, network graphics. (*)

Morrison & Foerster (San Francisco): patent analyst.

SRI (Menlo Park, CA): BS/MS programmer in speech recognition, NL understanding.

Center for Software Development (San Jose): technical director.

Sony Research Lab (San Jose): BS/MS computational linguist and programmer for spoken English-Japanese translation.

USC/ISI (Marina del Rey, CA): programmers for Java-based agents in educational software.

UHagen (Germany): postdoc and PhD student in spatio-temporal DB systems.

UHamburg (Germany): BS research scientist in speech recognition.

UBonn (Germany): RA in German/English speech synthesis, prosody.

Central European U. (Budapest): researchers and faculty in agent-based social simulations.

Ben-Gurion U. (Israel): CS profs.

* captain's cool jobs of the week. (Selected by Brian "captain" Murfin.)

J. of Computer and System Sciences is a bimonthly covering formal languages, complexity theory, and neural networks. Abstracts are at . [, newjour, 22Feb97.]

Information and Computation publishes new papers in theoretical computer science. Abstracts are at . [Albert R. Meyer. , newjour, 14Feb97.]

The J. of Symbolic Computation covers algorithmic treatment of symbolic objects: objects in formal languages (terms, formulas, programs); algebraic objects (elements in basic number domains, polynomials, residue classes, etc.); and geometrical objects. Abstracts are at . [, newjour, 07Mar97.]

The J. of Universal Computer Science is a refereed monthly e-journal on all aspects of CS. Full text access is currently free. . [Hermann Maurer , newjour, 15Aug97.]

Computers and Biomedical Research puts abstracts online at . [T. Allan Pryor. , newjour, 05Feb97.] (Full text is available via the IDEAL library service.)

There will be a time series prediction competition at the Int. Workshop on Advanced Black-Box Techniques for Nonlinear Modeling at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Belgium), 08-10Jul98. . [John Koza , genetic-programming, 28Nov97. Bill Park.]

Finals of the Danish Championship in Robot Soccer 1997 will be transmitted live on the Internet via Mbone, on 18Dec97. See for details. [Henrik Hautop Lund ,, 12Dec97.]

If you're a fan of Riven, the sequel to Myst, check out the auction of Riven-related items at . Proceeds will benefit Oxfam America. [NewtNews, 09Dec97.] (Bidding started 12Dec97.)

You can also buy and sell computers on AuctionMillennium, . [Guy Bodart ,, 09Dec97.]

The PEP National Directory of Computer Recycling Programs links to many organizations that accept donated computer equipment (for worthy causes in various countries). US listings are broken out by state. . One group that can reuse old 3.5-inch floppy disks is USA CityLink Project, Attn: Floppies for Kiddies, 20349 Highway 36, Covington, LA 70433. The project reformats the disks and distributes them to schools and nonprofit organizations. . [TidBITS, 10Dec97.]

-- Ken