close this bookVolume 10: No. 18
View the document1) NSF news
View the document2) Other opportunities
View the document3) Projects
View the document4) Technology news
View the document5) Electronic commerce
View the document6) Information retrieval
View the document7) Job services
View the document8) Entrepreneurship

NSF's Faculty Early Career Development Program has a 25Jul00 deadline for CISE topics. CAREER supports the early career development of faculty members likely to become academic leaders. The top new CAREER awardees are also considered for NSF's candidates in the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). See and , which replace NSF 99-110. Changes have been made in eligibility criteria, award size and duration, the PECASE program, and proposal preparation and submission. The CISE/IIS contact is Ephraim P. Glinert , (703) 306-1926. [Maria Zemankova , IRLIST, 24Apr00.] (Maria urges senior researchers in her Information and Data Management community to act as mentors to junior faculty who might apply for this program. CAREER proposals have a 30% success rate, which is higher than the rate for regular proposals. PECASE success is much lower -- and more prestigious -- but CISE/IIS/IDM candidates Renee J. Miller and Gregory H. Leazer won in 1997 and 1998.)

Upcoming NSF deadlines include: Interagency Education Research Initiative (IERI), 09Jun00; Science and Technology Centers (STC) Integrative Partnerships letters of intent, 15Jun00; NSF Computer Science, Engineering, and Mathematics Scholarships (CSEMS) letters of intent, 16Jun00; Information Technology Workforce, 22Jun00; Advanced Computational Research Program software tools, 01Jul00; FY 2000/2001 Combined Research-Curriculum Development (CRCD) Program, 02Jul00; Computational Neuroscience, (10Jul00); Human Cognition and Perception, (15Jul00); Linguistics, (15Jul00); Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCOR), 17Jul00; Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) Program preproposals, 19Jul00; Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program, 25Jul00; Science and Technology Studies Program, (01Aug00); Societal Dimensions of Engineering, Science and Technology: Ethics and Values Studies Research on Science and Technology, (01Aug00); Instrumentation Grants for Research in Computer and Information Science and Engineering, 02Aug00; NSF Computer Science, Engineering, and Mathematics Scholarships (CSEMS), 03Aug00; Enhancing Infrastructure for the Social and Behavioral Sciences, 04Aug00; Science and Technology Centers (STC): Integrative Partnerships preproposals, 11Aug00; Decision, Risk, and Management Science, (15Aug00); Methodology, Measurement, and Statistics, (15Aug00); Design Automation, 21Sep00; Theory of Computing, 21Sep00; Numeric, Symbolic, and Geometric Computation, 21Sep00; Software Engineering and Languages, 21Sep00. . See also for International Program deadlines. [NSF E-Bulletin, 01Jun00.]

----- "It's easy to sit there and say you'd like to have more money. And I guess that's what I like about it. It's easy. Just sitting there rocking back and forth wanting that money." -- Jack Handey. -----

The US Office of Naval Research (ONR) has announced its FY'01 Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI), at . Topic #37 of this BAA is Statistical Machine Translation. Helen M. Gigley , (703) 696-0407, (703) 696-1212 fax. [IRLIST, 22May00.] (If you've got a technology that would benefit the Navy, they'll find a way to support it. Ditto for other military agencies. These broad area announcements are important funding channels, but just making contact and talking to a program officer can be worth your effort. Get out there and sell yourself.)

The US Department of Energy's $7B R&D Portfolio for FY'01 will sponsor research in energy resources, environmental quality, science, and national security -- including work in mathematics and computer sciences. . [ScienceWise Alert, 05Jun00.]

The ACM Special Interest Group in Knowledge Discovery in Data and Data Mining is seeking nominations for its $1K SIGKDD Innovation Award and SIGKDD Services Award, by 25Jun00. The Innovation Award is given for outstanding and major technical contributions to the field of knowledge discovery in data and data mining that have had large impact in furthering the theory and/or development of commercial systems. , or contact . [dbworld, 30May00.]

----- "Look, I really don't want to wax philosophic, but I will say that if you're alive, you got to flap your arms and legs, you got to jump around a lot, you got to make a lot of noise, because life is the very opposite of death. And therefore, as I see it, if you're quiet, you're not living. You've got to be noisy, or at least your thoughts should be noisy and colorful and lively." -- Mel Brooks. -----

Darse Billings has announced the 2nd International RoShamBo Programming Competition, for Rock-Paper-Scissors bots written in C. Many of the contestants will be somewhat predictable, so a completely random contestant will compare poorly with smarter entries. However, predictable contestants will do even worse. Code is available for almost all of the top contenders from the first programming competition. Small programs will compete separately. Enter by 10Jul00. . To play RoShamBo on the Web, try Perry Friedman's original RoShamBot at or the new RoShamBot at . [,, 02Jun00.]

The SETI@home project project has updated its client software to version 2.0, including new security features to prevent tampering with results files. Some of the volunteers may have been cheating to boost their rankings. . [TidBITS, 31Jan00.] (The search for intelligent life has a long way to go...)

----- "I wanted to change the world. But I have found that the only thing one can be sure of changing is oneself." -- Aldous Huxley. -----

UToronto scientists Sajeev John and Geoffrey Ozin have created microscopic silicon "wires" that channel light. A photonic band gap prevents light from leaking out at curves in the channels. "Cages" for light are also possible. The chemical process for creating the wires is said to be simple and cheap. "Probably one of those little things that changes the world," according to financial analyst Mark R. Anderson. [, SNS, 31May00.]

Researchers at Boston U. have implanted a biological toggle switch in bacteria, using two genes that inhibit each other. The switch is slow, but may lead to useful DNA computational mechanisms or to programmable organisms for health care. [NY Times, 01Jun00. Edupage.]

Ananova, the British Press Association's virtual newscaster, already ranks among the most popular news sites. The stories she reads are coded for voice tone and facial expressions. Motorola will launch a cyber-assistant named Mya next month, to read email messages, stock quotes, and other online information. MIT's MediaLab is developing a real estate agent avatar to read housing database info. USC's Integrated Systems Center is developing "immersive environments" where users' avatars can interact in chat rooms or online shopping situations. [Washington Post, 31May00. Edupage.]

Jackie Strike is a simulated female candidate running for President of the United States. You can see the beginnings of her campaign at . [Mark R. Anderson , SNS, 24May00.] (The idea of multiport 24/7 access to candidates is going to grow. Simulated or not, people would rather talk one-on-one with candidates than view static websites or read text from position papers. TV spots and news snippets can't match the experience of personally interviewing the candidate, even at the level of a simulated personality and historical database. And if the simulated candidate makes a faux pas, the candidate will get TV exposure for the denial. Everyone benefits.)

Computists may be interested in the Conita Technologies speech application technologies at . [Walter Rolandi , 18May00.]

Litton is looking for commercial applications for its natural language systems. Ask Jacob Sommers for a patent summary if you are interested in licensing their NLP technology. , (213) 743-4230. [, 25May00.]

----- "If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I'd spend six sharpening my axe." -- Abraham Lincoln. -----

Attendees at a Harvard conference on The Internet and Society say the Internet has neither empowered individuals nor helped small companies compete with larger firms. Companies that spend the most on advertising get the most business. Half of all e-tailers may go out of business within a year. However, Tim Berners-Lee and Esther Dyson pointed out that quality sites do exist, and that Web users just need to find them. [Boston Globe Online, 01Jun00. Edupage.]

UChicago's Open Channel website will distribute open-source software -- including university products -- organized by discipline. The site will also offer user guidance to scholarly software and fee-base technical support for some of the more commercial programs. [Chronicle of Higher Ed, 12May00. Edupage.] tracks free Application Service Provider (ASP) applications and source code. Subscribe to their weekly ASPCode newsletter at . [, NEW-LIST, 29Feb00.]

Over 900K websites now offer illegal software, according to the Business Software Alliance. That's up from 100K three years ago. [USA Today, 22Sep99. Edupage.]

----- "Open source should be about giving away things voluntarily. When you force someone to give you something, it's no longer giving, it's stealing. Persons of leisurely moral growth often confuse giving with taking." -- Larry Wall, developer of the open-source Perl language. -----

Oracle's new Internet File System (iFS) will allow users to retrieve more than 150 document formats, including video. iFS will be free with Oracle's 8i software. [SJM, 16May00. NewsScan.]

Pointera (Palo Alto) is basing its business plan on file-sharing software similar to Napster and Gnutella -- but with streaming content rather than downloads. Users make file pointers available to others, rather than offering copies. Other people can play or view the files via real-time streaming software. CEO Manish Vij claims this falls within fair use under US copyright law, but future versions will allow exclusion of specific file types. The Pointera Search Engine can also be used by business groups that want to share files internally via peer-to-peer networking. [ , 05Jun00. NewsScan.] (Napster grew to 10M users in its first nine months. Vij is trying to interest portals or browser makers in his technology, for integration with standard Web search engines.)

InfraSearch (Mountain View, CA) is offering a similar technology, allowing people to post product catalogs, stock indexes, or other non-HTML data to the Web. The individual's computer becomes a server and specialty search engine for information that otherwise would not be available on the Internet. (Only 14M computers currently serve pages to the Web, out of some 480M computers online.) InfraSearch is adding "intelligent agent" Web search to Gnutella's file-swapping model. No licensees have yet signed up to market the software. [Jon Healey, SJM, 05Jun00, 1E.]

IRLIST Digest (IR-L), the online newsletter for information retrieval scientists, lost much of its subscriber list during a recent move to a new host. If you are no longer receiving this publication, contact Nancy Gusack Crawford . Archives are at .

----- "Life is the process of finding out, too late, everything that should have been obvious at the time." -- John D. MacDonald. -----

The MegaJobs search engine from lists over 2M jobs, culled from other jobs websites. (A recent US District Court ruling against Bidder's Edge in favor of eBay may make it illegal in the US for Web spiders to gather data from other sites' databases in this way. Deep links into the content of other sites may also be prohibited, if compiled automatically via online spiders or agents. [SJM, 25May00. NewsScan.]) offers services and forums for dot-com job seekers and recruiters, with a special section on the SF Bay Area. [BASES, 29May00.] (WetFeet itself is also hiring operations staff.)

Jobnob is a new company that helps match people with opportunities, both for job hunting and for building hot new startups. Jobnob is part of the Springboard Angels effort, helping early stage companies grow. . [BASES, 29May00.]

----- "The work of the world is not done by intellectual geniuses. It is done by men (and women) of ordinary capacity who use their abilities in an extraordinary manner." -- Gordon B. Hinckley. -----

More than half the students at Harvard Business School are members of the High Tech and New Media Club, and 18% of its 1K graduates joined high-tech companies last year (up from 9% in 1997). The school has replaced its required first year General Management class with a new Entrepreneurial Manager class. [Red Herring, May00. Edupage.] lists 4K commercial technologies from 50 universities and research labs. 30 licensing deals are currently in the works, with 10% to go to UVentures. Competitors include,, and the Patent & License Exchange ( Dartmouth says that inquiries are up 50% since it listed with UVentures. [Darnell Little, BW, 05Jun00, EB 116.]

You can get a list of business incubators from the National Business Incubation Association, . On average, companies spend 2.5 years in an incubator. Tech start-ups may do best with a nonprofit incubator -- such as a university operation -- that charges rent and fees. For-profit incubators sometimes charge 22%-44% of equity, so hire a professional to represent you during negotiations. [Karen E. Klein, BW Frontier, 22May00, F.16.]

"Store in a box" Web services cater to the 8M-24M small businesses in the US (and elsewhere), hoping that clients paying low initial fees will grow to need more expensive services. Some of the free online storefront companies are,, and Swap advertising via LinkExchange, and get a free toll-free number from Communicate with colleagues via HotOffice or, and do your office work in Sun Microsystems' StarOffice at . Free websites are available from, YahooGeoCities,, or Tripod, with a domain name from Tech support? Try,,,,, NoWonder,, or VirtuaDr. [Cecilia Kang, SJM, 17Apr00, 1C.] (Or try's zShops. Not free, but you can get customers from their search engine.)

StartVenture is a support-services newsletter and discussion list for entrepreneurs. Contact . [NEW-LIST, 10Apr00.]

For office salary surveys, see .

If you need venture capital, you might try some of the online sites where business angels and VCs gather. Angels must be worth $1M or have an income of $200K to participate. Some of the sites are currently free, but with plans to charge investors. OffRoad Capital requires a $25K minimum bid per investor, and has raised $42M for seven companies since Mar99. WR Hambrecht has only a $5K minimum. It gets 2% of any deal up front and 20% of profits at IPO or acquisition. charges investors only $495/year, but they have to negotiate their own deals after reviewing online business plans. Other sites that introduce VCs and entrepreneurs include and . [Susan Scherreik, BW, 22May00, 172E10.] (Angels fund 30-40 times more ventures than do venture capitalists.)

Info and financing sources for small and home-based businesses can be found at . For buying into existing or larger businesses, including franchises, try Moneytree at . [SJM, 02May00, 18C.]

Recent business books of interest: Bob Reiss, "Low Risk, High Reward: Starting and Growing Your Business with Minimal Risk"; Stan Davis and Christopher Meyer, "Future Wealth," about democratization of wealth and a shift to risk as the basis of wealth creation; and Andrea Gabor, "The Capitalist Philosophers: The Geniuses of Modern Business," which profiles Herbert Simon as one of the 13 great management thinkers of the past century. [Business Reader Review, 24Apr00.]

Even newer books worth noting: Osnabrugge and Johnson's "Angel Investing: Matching Startup Funds with Startup Companies"; Thaddeus Wawro's "Radicals and Visionaries: Entrepreneurs Who Revolutionized the 20th Century," with over 70 biographical sketches; and Alan Gregerman's "Lessons from the Sandbox: Using the 13 Gifts of Childhood to Rediscover the Keys to Business Success." [Business Reader Review, May00.]

-- Ken