|Volume 1: No. 29|
Apple and IBM will spin out two new companies, Taligent and Kaleida, plus networking products and a new "PowerOpen" standard for UNIX-based computers. (Ugh.) Taligent will take over Apple's object-oriented Pink operating system, starting with about 200 people and growing to 400. Kaleida will develop multimedia standards, with 60 employees growing to 300. [Rory J. O'Connor, SJM, 10/3.] Steve Cisler (email@example.com) will send you 30Kb of Apple/IBM press releases if you send him an email message. [PACS-L, 10/3.]
Deborah Coleman, Apple's VP of Information Systems and Technology, has been elected to the board of Software Publishing Corp. (Mountain View, CA). [SJM, 10/8.]
ParaGraph International (Moscow, USSR) has licensed its cursive-handwriting recognition software to Apple. ParaGraph is a 2-year-old Soviet-American venture affiliated with the Soviet Academy of Science and the Council for Economics and Mathematics. [Tom Schmitz, SJM, 10/8.]
A federal appeals court has given regional Bell telephone companies permission to offer information services. This permission comes many months sooner than was expected. Congress is working on legislation to prevent the phone companies from using regulation-guaranteed profits to subsidize information services, or to choke off other information providers through discriminatory policies. [SJM, 10/8.] Now is the time to sell expertise or even just man-hours to phone companies (Nynex, Bell Atlantic, Southwestern Bell, Ameritech, U.S. West, Bell South, and Pacific Telesis), cable companies, and newspapers scrambling to capture the interactive-services market. It may also be a boom time for traditional database providers and CD ROM publishers. For the longer term, software based on external information feeds should be a growth market.
Bob Amsler (firstname.lastname@example.org) points out that the Yellow-Pages ruling may force Gale and other compendium publishers to offer their products in electronic form -- before someone else scans and publishes the data. [PACS-L, 10/8.] (Gale already provides custom electronic products, but at relatively high prices compared to paper listings. The printed forms can be difficult to scan, and are often protected by licensing agreements.)
A two-year-old start-up called Momenta (Mountain View, CA) has just entered the notebook-computer market with a 7 lb. MS-DOS unit that accepts commands from a keyboard or from a pen on the display screen. The computer has 4Mb RAM, 40Mb disk, and built-in fax and data modem. It's targeted for white-collar professionals, and will sell for about $5K as early as November. Several pen-based programs will ship with the unit, and more are being sought. Competitors (Grid, NCR, IBM, Microsoft, Go, etc.) are developing primarily for the blue-collar market. [Rory J. O'Connor, SJM, 10/4.] Street price should be near $4K. Momenta has about 100 employees, and considerable venture capital was involved (drawn by the quality of the management team). In six months, this will either be a bust or a $100M company.
Another potential success story is Serius Corp. (Salt Lake City, UT). The founder is 20-year-old Joseph Firmage, who began four years ago to develop a connect-the-icons editor for creating office-productivity software -- databases, spreadsheets, animated presentations, etc. His $800 program suite has had excellent reviews. Joseph has had $1M in venture capital, and is seeking $700K more to hire 10 programmers. He says, "If you look at the history of software, the greatest successes come from one- to five-man R&D teams, not 50-man teams." [Lee Gomez, SJM, 10/4.]
Siemens Corp. has purchased Texas Instruments' industrial controls business for a new Siemens Industrial Automation Inc. (Atlanta, GA). [SJM, 10/8.]
Cadence Design Systems (San Jose, CA) will acquire Valid Logic Systems Inc. (San Jose, CA) by 1/92 -- subject to the usual approvals. Both companies make electronic design automation software, with Cadence designing chips and Valid focused more on circuit boards. Combined revenues are $390M, with 2,600 employees -- about 10% of them now redundant. Joseph B. Costello will continue as president and CEO of Cadence; W. Douglas Hajjar (chairman and CEO of Valid) will serve as vice chairman. L. George Klaus will be COO. [Horng-Ming Chen, (email@example.com), 10/1.] This will make Cadence larger than rival Mentor Graphics (Beaverton, OR). Major customers are Sun, DEC, and IBM. [Tom Schmitz, SJM, 10/3.]
The Supreme Court has refused to review the computer-fraud conviction of Robert Morris, inventor of the 1988 Internet worm. This strengthens a 1986 law making it a federal crime to do $1,000 damage through unauthorized computer access -- even if no harm was intended. [Baltimore Sun. SJM, 10/8.]
The Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center at CMU needs a Ph.D. Scientific Specialist in connectionist AI and neuronal modeling. Contact Dr. Frank C. Wimberly (firstname.lastname@example.org). [Neuron Digest, 10/1.]
The Chinese University of Hong Kong needs a Lecturer or Senior Lecturer in CS and several in EE, communications, and robotics. Competitive salary, passage, baggage allowance, long leave, housing subsidy, and superannuation or gratuity. Contact Dean Omar Wing (email@example.com). [Gary L. Dare (gld @cunixb.cc.columbia.edu), m.j.o, 10/5.]
UC Riverside needs a Ph.D. CS professor with a systems background. Contact Marek Chrobak (firstname.lastname@example.org). [m.j.o, 10/5.]
Eckert Research International Corp., a leading independent software firm, is still looking for engineers to work in Tokyo. Topic areas include AI for telephone network diagnostics. Contact their U.S. subsidiary: Personnel Manager, Eckert Research Labs, 25 West 45 Street, New York NY 10036; (212) 869-2338 Fax. [James N. Gershfield (email@example.com), m.j.o, 10/2.]
The Naval Postgraduate School needs a CS Dept. chair for next Fall. Departmental research strengths include software engineering, computer graphics and virtual reality, artificial intelligence and robotics, and secure distributed systems. Contact Michael J. Zyda (firstname.lastname@example.org). [m.j.o, 10/7.]
IBM's Advanced Systems Design group (Endicott, NY) has six open Ph.D.-level positions, of six-months initial duration, in hardware-related high-level design, proofs of algorithms, and logic design. Dr. Stamatis Vassiliadis (stamatis @gdlvm2.vnet.ibm.com). [Michael Flynn (email@example.com), su.jobs, 10/4.]
Steven Sonnenberg (firstname.lastname@example.org) is looking for a $50-100K investment in his UNIX software company. [misc.entrepreneurs, 9/27.]
Peter M. Weiss (email@example.com) has passed along an interesting publication. Bob Cowles ("Dr. Chaos," with an M.S.) has started publishing Chaos Corner, a occasional compendium of computer-related news and telecommunications tips. (Not to be confused with Chaos Manor, Jerry Pournelle's residence.) Contact Bob (firstname.lastname@example.org) for a free subscription.
Neuron Digest is restarting, with 1,200 directly subscribing sites and many more through Usenet comp.ai.neural-nets. Moderator Peter Marvit (email@example.com) just moved to UPenn, and has yet to get the archives working. (Running a popular list can be a big job.)
AIL-L is a new AI and Law list started by David R. Warner, Jr. (firstname.lastname@example.org), Professor of Law at Ohio Northern University. To subscribe, send a "sub ail-l yourname" message to email@example.com. [Neuron Digest, 10/15.]
NEWEDU-L, or New Paradigms in Education List, is a moderated Bitnet discussion of technology and information (including AI and multimedia) in education. To join, send a "sub newedu-l yourname" message to firstname.lastname@example.org. [Greg Swan (email@example.com), PACS-L, 10/8.]
If you're into concurrent semantics, you may want to join the concurrency mailing list run by Albert Meyer. Send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org for info. [Mike Stannett (email@example.com), connectionists, 10/4.]
Neuro-evolution is a forum for discussing genetic algorithms (GAs) and evolutionary design of artificial neural networks. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org. [Mike Rudnick (email@example.com), connectionists, 9/12.]
Laboratory PC User is a newsletter helping people capture lab data and analyze it using commercial tools (such as Lotus 1-2-3). Published monthly by BREGO Research (ISSN 0897-0130), 5989 Vista Loop, San Jose, CA 95124. $48 for 12 issues, or $68 outside the U.S. Disks of programs are available for about $6 each. [W. Todd Wipke (firstname.lastname@example.org), 9/14.] Dr. Glenn Ouchi, the editor-in-chief, was Todd's student. The newsletter hasn't covered AI data analysis techniques yet; I'm sure Glenn would like to get articles about them.
Systems Automation: Research and Applications (SARA) will cover systems aspects of automation, including data management, AI, and robotics, for the International Society for Productivity Enhancement (ISPE). Dr. Biren Prasad, Editor-in-Chief, (313) 661-1838. Ablex Publishing, $95 institutional. [Peiya Liu (email@example.com), comp.robotics, 9/18.]
EDUCOM's Project EASI aids development of campus computer support for people with disabilities. It provides online resources, literature, seminar and workshop materials, speakers, and consulting help, as well as helping with software development, conferences, public policy groups, and legislation. For FTPable files, contact Ray Farha (firstname.lastname@example.org); for other questions, Ruth Holder (email@example.com) or Danny Hilton-Chalfen (firstname.lastname@example.org). [Peter M. Weiss (email@example.com), C+HEALTH, 9/27.] Related electronic services are ISAAC and Handicap Digest.
The Handicap News is a discussion list for and about the handicapped. To join, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com). [William McQueen (wmcqueen @utoroise.bitnet), C+HEALTH, 9/28.]
DEOS-L is a new moderated list for discussion of "distance education." To join, send a "sub deos-l yourname" message to firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also want to subscribe to DEOSNEWS (via a similar message) from the American Center for the Study of Distance Education at Pennsylvania State University, or to the American Journal of Distance Education. [Morten Flate Paulsen (email@example.com), Arachnet, 9/26.]
Dr. Tzipporah Benavraham's online adult-education course on Disability and Technology will begin on 10/15/91. Much of the course concerns legal issues, including compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. One month, $250, via telenet. Contact Paul Levinson (firstname.lastname@example.org). [ibid.]
Computists -- Harris, Zemankova, Twombly, Cross, Chen, Cohen, Pratt:
Mary Dee Harris (email@example.com) of Language Technology (Washington, DC) specializes in NLP as an industry/government consultant, conducting seminars and developing knowledge-based/NLP systems (esp. in banking and finance). She has also done research in humanities computing and in applications of expert and knowledge-based systems. Her Introduction to Natural Language Processing is under revision for the second edition. She taught CS for twelve years, including "Literary Analysis with Computers" at Georgetown University. Her dissertation at UTexas Austin was in computer collation of poetry, and she has been a leader in the Association for Computers in the Humanities. Current affiliations include AAAI, ACH, ACM, ACL, ALLC, the Cognitive Science Society, IEEE Computer Society, MLA, the Quark Club, and Phi Kappa Phi.
Maria Zemankova (firstname.lastname@example.org) is director of the Database and Expert Systems program at NSF. She was previously with the Dept. of CS at UTennessee, where she worked on management of uncertainty, reasoning and learning in intelligent information systems, and discovery in scientific databases. Dr. Zemankova has a B.S. from the American University in Cairo (1977) and an M.S. and Ph.D. in CS from Florida State University (1979/83). Her publications include Fuzzy Relational Databases -- a Key to Expert Systems, co-authored by A. Kandel and translated into Japanese; three volumes of Methodologies for Intelligent Systems, co-edited with Z. Ras; Intelligent Systems: State of the Art and Future Directions, with Z. Ras; and more than 20 published papers. Maria is co-editor-in-chief of the J. of Intelligent Information Systems, is on the editorial board of the Int. J. of Approximate Reasoning, serves on the Advisory Board of ACM SIGMOD, and is a member of ACM, IEEE Computer Society, AAAI, NAFIPS, IFSA, and Sigma Xi.
Alexander Twombly (email@example.com) is studying computational neuroscience in the Dept. of Biophysics at Johns Hopkins University. He uses neural-network models for somatosensory system identification and for image analysis, nonlinear function estimation, optimization, and pattern recognition.
George Cross (firstname.lastname@example.org) is in the Service Concept Design Dept. at GTE Laboratories Inc. (Waltham, MA), where he develops audio and video services based on AI and intelligent information retrieval. Prior to the GTE/Contel merger, he was at the Contel Technology Center in Chantilly, VA, working on knowledge-based systems for operation of TDRSS relay satellites and for remote maintenance of computers. He was also at Washington State University and Louisiana State University and did research in knowledge representation, legal information retrieval, Markov random field texture models, and intelligent image databases.
Ramesh Ravula (email@example.com) is developing AI/NN/expert systems in medical diagnostics for GE Medical Systems, which he joined in 2/89. He previously developed signal- and image-processing algorithms for magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) on the SA/GE MRS Research Workstation. He completed his M.S. in EE at Wright State in 1986, and is working on a Ph.D. in CS and engineering. His current affiliations are IEEE and the IEEE Computer Society, AAAI, and INNS.
Horng-Ming Chen (firstname.lastname@example.org) grew up in Taiwan and graduated with a CSBS from Chun-Yuan University in '87. He joined Cadence Design Systems (San Jose, CA) in 5/90, after getting an M.S. in Computer Information Systems from Syracuse University (NY). (He reports that Syracuse's Connection Machine is really cool.) Horng-Ming's current interests are in parallel processing, operating systems, and AI. He'd like to find a Ph.D. program that relates to real-world work.
Dawn Cohen (email@example.com) is a graduate student at Rutgers, working for Casimir Kulikowski and Helen Berman in AI and computational chemistry. Her thesis covers knowledge discovery in databases, with application in molecular biophysics. Related interests are expert systems and machine learning.
Lorien Y. Pratt (firstname.lastname@example.org) is finishing off her Ph.D. in CS at Rutgers University, under Jack Mostow and Haym Hirsh. She is studying knowledge transfer between learning algorithms, and has transferred neural-weight knowledge in speech recognition, chess end game classification, heart disease diagnosis, and DNA promoter detection. Lori has published in AAAI91, IJCNN91, and NIPS91, and is interested in hearing from people who could use her skills.
Hong Zhang (email@example.com) is looking for an M.S.-level correspondence course in AI or intelligent robotics that he can take from Japan [comp.ai.neural nets, 9/30.]. What are the options for home study or remote education in AI? If there are none, this might be a good business opportunity.
Bill Hart is collecting university textbooks and English instructional materials for Argentina. Also cash, computer magazines, and any materials on dentistry, automotive engineering, and mechanical engineering. So far he's placed about 20,000 books through the University of La Plata. To contribute, contact Prof. William Hart, Math Dept. G-401, Macomb Community College, Warren, MI 48093; (313) 445-7143. [Dan Frezza (dfrezza @vela.acs.oakland.edu), sci.research, 10/3.] (Donations are tax-deductible, I'm sure.)
David C.L.C. Blythe (firstname.lastname@example.org) is searching for other Native American Indians who are involved in any field of business. Blythe runs an engineering consulting corporation. [misc.entrepreneurs, 9/11.]
The Office of Personnel Management reports that only 15% of the upper government echelons (GS-15 and above, starting salary $61,643) are women. In contrast, a majority of all government employees are women. [Ned Zeman, Newsweek, 9/23.] In defense of the system, though, clerks and secretaries would be foolish to believe they are on management career paths. The 15% figure may be damning, but the sex ratio at lower levels is irrelevant. If you want to be in the upper levels, you have to start in the upper levels.
A 1989-90 Census Bureau study shows that higher education has moved blacks and women ahead, but that they haven't caught up with white men. Factors confounded with race include job location (city vs. suburbs), type of company (e.g., wholesaling vs. services), and time with a company. On average, white men with four years or more of college earned $41,090 in 1989; black men, $31,380; white women, $27,440; black women, $26,730. For those with only high school educations, the figures are $26,510, $20,280, $16,910, and $16,440. A Labor Department report attributed much of the difference at large corporations to entry-level training and management-track recruitment practices. [AP. SJ Mercury, 9/20.]
Another Census Bureau report shows that small businesses owned by white men tend to be capital intensive (e.g., mining and manufacturing) or in wholesaling, finance, insurance, and real estate, with average receipts of $189,000/year. Minority ownership is strongest in lower-revenue businesses such as retailing (19%), services (46%), transportation, public utilities, and agriculture. Small businesses owned by Asian (incl. Pacific Islander) men average $107,000; Hispanic, $66,000, black, $50,000; and American Indian and Alaska Native, $47,000. Corresponding figures for women are: white, $70,000; Asian,, $64,000; black, $41,000; Hispanic, $38,000; and Native, $32,000. Minorities and women continue to have difficulty getting loans, according to survey manager Donna McCutcheon. [AP. SJ Mercury, 9/19.] (I suppose the good news :-} is that white men find it relatively easy to get loans.)
The suicide rate is highest among white males, lowest among black females. [Newsweek, 9/30.] Perhaps it relates to expectations?
GM is running an ad in Forbes (10/14) touting "More Ph.D.s, M.D.s and Dummies." The headline is a good reminder that industry values us for contribution, not education.
Charles Cunningham (email@example.com) says that Physics Today has been carrying an interesting exchange of letters, with Leon Lederman claiming there are too few Ph.D. physicists and several recent graduates claiming there are few jobs and hundreds of applicants for each. Job offers that Charles eventually received (in astronomy) had nothing to do with his field of study (thin-film superconductors), and were from contacts through his advisor or at conferences. [soc.college.grad, 9/7.]
Recent graduates find full-time employment through temporary work more often than through job fairs, according to Romac & Associates (Portland, ME). Of the available data-processing jobs, only 44% are filed with recruiters; the rest are advertised or are posted internally. [Computerworld, 9/23.] (Many of those "hidden-market jobs" advertised by headhunters in the classifieds are simply copied from the previous week's corporate ads. Where the headhunters excel is in selling "equivalent experience" to a desperate manager. Personnel departments do a keyword match between requested experience and resumes, often failing to infer obvious matches. If looking for a specific experience, on the other hand, a headhunter or personnel employee may ignore everything else in your resume. You may find it best to omit DP keywords that are unrelated to current goals.)
Business Week (10/7) featured a report on modern careers. Bruce Nussbaum says we've entered an era of itinerant managers with portfolio careers. It's time to work for skills and reputation rather than job titles. Seek short-term projects with maximum visibility, and build personal networks through cross- industry professional associations. Start with a big corporation, then moonlight to develop skills, contacts, and reputation. Shift industries or move to a start-up or small company, then take a mid-career break -- a sabbatical, non-profit work, or college study -- before turning to management "temping."
At this level (over $100K total compensation), get to know your headhunter. (The U.S. has a growing workforce of executive temps, with some 50 firms specializing in placing them. For a list, send $5 to Executive Recruiter News, Templeton Road, Fitzwilliam, NH 03447.) Take "interim assignments," auditioning for a permanent position. (One company, IMCOR, says that 40% of their temps become permanent.) When you take a job, try for an exit contract guaranteeing 1 to 2 years pay plus pension and medical coverage. Maintain your networking contacts, helping others. If you find yourself out of work, consider joining Exec-U-Net ($300/year) for job listings and monthly meetings.
Get your own insurance coverage while you're employed. (Negotiate substitute benefits in place of company coverage.) If you're over 55, check AARP's group health plan and mail-order pharmacy. Others should check out IEEE's excellent insurance, or join a group like the National Association of Self-Employed. Annually renewable disability insurance (ARDI) should be converted to a fixed policy after you reach 50. You don't need mortgage or credit-card insurance.
If you're in danger of becoming a floater, try to get a home-equity line of credit while you're still employed. Pay off your charge cards and convert risky investments to savings accounts or money-market funds. If you get a lump-sum retirement payout, try to keep it in a separate IRA or other tax shelter as long as possible. [Jane Bryant Quinn, Newsweek, 9/23.]
One hedge is to diversify your income sources. Contract employees should spend about one week per month pursuing new contracts. (If you find more work than you can handle, you may be able to subcontract it. If not, at least you can pass it to a friend as a favor.) Husbands and wives should work for different companies, and preferably in different -- or negatively correlated -- industries. [firstname.lastname@example.org, misc.jobs.misc, 10/3.]
For more info on corporate careers, see the following books: Charles Handy, The Age of Unreason; Henry Conn and Joseph Boyett, Workplace 2000: The Revolution Reshaping American Business; Robert Kelley, The Gold Collar Worker; and Rosabeth Kanter, When Giants Learn to Dance.