close this bookVolume 8: No. 31.1
View the documentNSF news
View the documentOther opportunities
View the documentIndustry news
View the documentCareer jobs (in our CCJ 8.31 digest this week)
View the documentElectronic publishing
View the documentBrowser fonts
View the documentIn memoriam

NSF has named UPennsylvania CS&E professor Ruzena Bajcsy to be Assistant Director for NSF's Computer and Information Science and Engineering Directorate (CISE) as of Dec98. She will replace Juris Hartmanis, who is returning to Cornell U. Bajcsy ("buy chee") is a pioneering researcher in machine perception, robotics, and AI. At NSF, she will manage a budget of about $300M/year. . [Maria Zemankova , IRList, 05Oct98.] (An assistant director heads a directorate, whereas divisions -- at a lower level -- have directors. (I find that confusing.) I hear that one of the questions awaiting Bajcsy's arrival is the future emphasis of the Information and Intelligent Systems division. IIS includes robotics, cognitive AI, databases, information technology, and human-interface programs. Division director Michael Lesk could steer more funds into digital libraries initiatives, such as knowledge representation and indexing, taking funds from other programs. Then again, Bajcsy might like to steer more funds toward perception, reasoning, or robotics. Reasoned petitions are likely to have greatest effect now, even if that effect takes several budget cycles to develop.)

NSF has updated its Advanced Computational Research Program Announcement (nsf98168, formerly nsf9727). . [CNS, 09Oct98.]

New report: "Employment of Scientists and Engineers Reaches 3.2M in 1995." . [CNS, 06Oct98.] (Shouldn't that be "Reached"?)

New brief: "Are Forms of Financial Support and Employment Choices of Recent Science and Engineering Ph.D.s Related?" . [CNS, 06Oct98.]

NSF Custom News Service (CNS) lets you specify which NSF topics and announcement types you want to receive. Sign up at .

The Stanford Humanities Center is soliciting applications for 30 fellows, including "philosophers of mind" and other humanists, to engage in formal and informal study and interaction. 15Nov98; Susan Sebbard , (650) 723-3053. and . [USOA, 08Oct98.]

The Air Force Research Laboratory Space Vehicles Directorate (AFRL/VS) at Kirtland AFB, NM, is seeking research on space technology, including control systems, cybernetics, and AI. . [FEDIX, 01Oct98.]

The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD), through the Dahlgren Laboratory at Dahlgren, VA, and the Coastal Systems Station at Panama City, FL, is soliciting white papers to identify potential sources of PhD-level basic and applied research, including CS and simulation. SOL N00178-99-Q-3001, through 30Sep99. , . . [CBD, 01Oct98.]

Guy Kawasaki's (Palo Alto) has officially opened as a new seed-stage funding broker for high technology entrepreneurs and investors. helps startups find seed capital through confidential proposal review by venture capitalists, corporate investors, and business angels. It also provides advice, research, reference materials, and topical forums. Investors get access to pre-screened proposals, plus help in bringing in multiple investors. . [PRN, 01Oct98. Bill Park.]

High-technology industries in 1998 have cut four times as many jobs nationally as last year, including 143K layoffs in the electronics, computer, and telecommunications industries -- more than almost any other sector of the economy. EE unemployment jumped to 3.4% in the 3rd quarter, up eight-fold since the beginning of 1998 and the highest since the record high of 1994. Nearly 50% more US high-tech degree holders (4.7M) were working outside of their fields than the total number of US technical workforce professionals (3.2M) as of 1995, according to a new NSF report. Most of the displaced science/engineering degree-holders now work in sales and marketing, management and administration, and non-science teaching. . [Paul Kostek and Chris Currie , IEEE-USA , 09Oct98. Bill Park.]

(These statistics are fuel in the H-1B visa fight, concerning the importation of perhaps 150K more foreign workers. It's not clear to me whether any significant fraction of the displaced workers would have made good scientists or are not happier in sales and management. As frustrating as [forced?] career changes may be, they're a part of growing up. Our universities do not force students to explore their options and themselves, but rather pump students through whatever department they join. Grade inflation helps poor students remain in the stream. Imagine what the arts would be like if anyone who could pay for lessons were considered a national resource. Besides, isn't it good that technical salespeople, managers, and teachers actually have some science training?)

"I don't think it's very useful to open wide the door for young artists; the ones who break down the door are more interesting." -- Paul Schrader.

Duke U. (Durham, NC): postdoc in spatial statistical modeling, advanced statistical computation.

UIllinois (Chicago): profs in HCI, agents, robotics, interactive learning, etc.

Concordia U. (Montreal, Quebec): prof in IS, HCI, multimedia, DB, knowledge processing.

RESPITE/EC ESPRIT (FR, BE, DE, UK, US): PhDs in automatic speech recognition. (*)

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

Microsoft has joined the "Open eBooks" push for electronic-book HTML/XML standards, along with Bertelsmann, HarperCollins Publishers, Penguin Putnam, Simon & Schuster, and Time Warner Books. . [News.Com, 09Oct98. Bill Park.]

The US Senate has dropped database protection from its version of the digital copyright bill, but may try to pass such legislation next year. Reverse engineering tools and security studies will also be exempted from penalties for possession or use of devices to defeat copyright protection technologies. [SJM, 09Oct98, 1C.]

The Mozilla Organization is a clearing-house for Netscape source code. . [BotSpot Report, 01Jun98.]

BotSpot Report's monthly HTML newsletter now has over 2,700 subscribers. . [Marcus P. Zillman , 27Jul98.] (A good way to keep up with "software agent" news. I find it somewhat overwhelming.)

The Browsers FAQ lists browsers that run on Amigas, MSDOS, NeXTStep/OpenStep systems, etc. . [Thomas Boutell , net-hap, 16Jul98.]

12-point Times -- the default web font -- is "lousy" for on-screen reading. See screen-friendly alternatives from Microsoft (Georgia, Verdana, Trebuchet, and Comic Sans MS, free with Windows and Internet Explorer), , and from Adobe and Bitstream (Myriad Web, Minion Web, and Caflish Script Web, $50), . Apple's Monaco, Chicago, Geneva, and especially New York are also good, as is Charcoal (free with Mac OS 8). [Jeff Carlson , TidBITS, 03Nov97.]

You can also smooth the rough edges of any font with Adobe Type Master (ATM) 4.0 or the shareware program SmoothType (), but this tends to blur small fonts. Better solutions are coming, with font compression, embedding or automatic downloading, and protections against unsophisticated font pirating. PostScript and TrueType font technologies will be merging as OpenType (which currently supports only TrueType). A competitor is Bitstream's TrueDoc technology (aka Dynamic Fonts), . [Ibid.]

PDF is a general discussion list for Adobe Acrobat/PDF users, now archived at . Send a "subscribe" message to or . [Kurt Foss , NEW-LIST, 12Aug98.]

David Evans, of Evans and Sutherland and then Adobe, Pixar, and Silicon Graphics, has died. He was the force that brought us smooth 3D graphics. "There are few people who have had the intellectual power and personal touch that, combined, create excitement and knowledge in several generations of students and co-workers." [Mark R. Anderson , SNS, 06Oct98.]

Not at the same level, but still a matter of some regret, computational linguist Grady Ward -- not dead! -- has lost a suit filed by the Church of Scientology and will have to pay $200/month for the rest of his life for having posted copyrighted teachings of the church online. Ward created a great series of NLP utilities called the Moby Lexicons: Moby Words, Moby Pronunciator, Moby Part-of-Speech, Moby Thesaurus, Moby Shakespeare, etc. These were commercial products, but he gave them free to the NLP community when he stopped developing them. and . [Jorn Barger ,, 28Sep98.]

-- Ken