Sunday, May 18, 2008

Paul on open source and open standards

Paul has recently written two very interesting blogs about open source and open standards: Why open standards and interoperability are subtly different and Open Source versus Open Standards.

A related thing is the "Open Source Requirement for Open Source", which I was part of pushing to finalize when I was on the OSI Board. Unfortunately that never got finished and I haven't had the time & energy to try to get convergence and finalize it. However, I still strongly believe those requirements and push for them in whatever standards activities I'm involved in. Interestingly, I believe this fits nicely with Paul's thoughts.

Monday, May 12, 2008

GSoC: Univ. of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka on top of the world!

Wow; this is amazing: Apparently University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka had the most number of Google Summer of Code applicants and accepted proposals this year!

That's awesome! I'm proud to be associated with Univ. of Moratuwa (I teach part time in the Computer Science and Engineering department) and a large percentage of our superb WSO2 engineering team are from there.

Congratulations to everyone at University of Moratuwa, especially to Ms. Vishaka Nanayakkara, Head of Computer Science and Engineering, for her tireless efforts to get students to participate in GSoC and other similar activities and to her incredible passion towards developing the program and the students. Not all applicants are from CSE of course but I believe a large percentage are.

Mashing up tweets live using WSO2 Mashup Server

Tyrell Perera, one of the WSO2 mashuppers, felt challenged upon seeing to see how long it'd take for him to create a similar thing using the WSO2 Mashup Server, the only 100% open source mashup server in town.

Apparently after 5-6 hours he ended up with this! WOW. Not bad at all :).

Want to learn how to do stuff like that? Attend Jonathan's upcoming webinar on the mashup server. Of course you can just download the mashup server, take the code for Tyrell's mashup and go to town without waiting too!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Sri Lankan CS PhD graduate: Tharaka Devaditya

Ever since I returned home to Sri Lanka in 2001 I've been actively trying to get top local students to go out for grad school (primarily in the US as I'm convinced its the best place for CS graduate work). Many brilliant local graduates end up as programmers (working on off-shored 2nd classs work to moot) and never get the opportunity to have greater impact in the world.

To me, going to grad school and getting that extra nudge is crucial to really get ahead and be able to better compete in an amazingly competitive world. That was my formula .. so I'm trying hard to get others to have the same advantage and opportunity I had. Its incredible to me how people are not aware of the process of going to grad school in the US .. especially the idea that it is possible to get funding and hence to be able to go to grad school without "being rich."

The first person I helped get to grad school, Tharaka Devaditya, recently completed his Ph.D. in Computer Science from Indiana University. Here's what he worked on:

Title: A Graph Based Cache System for Efficient Querying in Distributed Triplestores
Predefining structures for data preclude the ability to describe certain details effectively, as data is dynamically structured by nature and can be highly diverse and multifaceted. Conventional datastores, such as relational databases, do not conveniently accommodate dynamically varying structures, as frequently modifying database schemas is not feasible. Although, XML databases have been proposed as suitable for such dynamic structured data, these databases suffer from update anomalies. RDF triplestores offer a flexible solution for handling such data, where any property about an entity can be described by a triple consisting of a subject, a predicate, and an object. Data is inherently distributed due to origination points, ownership, and many other reasons.
In this dissertation, we develop a distributed triplestore while investigating different approaches for improving the efficiency of query processing. We implement several index structures at a Mediator where each index structure helps to minimize unproductive communications. We show how the addition of each index structure reduces the query response time. We make use of graph-based caches at the Mediator and at individual triplestores to store triples that correspond to the most frequent set of queries. The Mediator cache enables the Mediator to respond to certain queries, while the triplestore caches avoid the need to perform joins between partial results from different triplestores. Sub-graph isomorphism is used to determine whether a cache has sufficient triples to answer a given query. We show how these caches significantly improve querying efficiency.
Dr. Devaditya is going to be working for Microsoft in Redmond, WA in the Live Search group. CONGRATULTIONS and good luck to you in your career!


By August this year there will be nearly 20 other Sri Lankan grad students in the pipeline working on PhDs in the US. (This is only people I know of who've gone from here .. there are a lot more overall Sri Lankan students doing CS PhDs for sure.) As people graduate and go on to bigger and better things in life I'll try to keep track of them in my blog, at least past their first job :).

The only request I have of them is to never forget their home country and to always do what you can to help. It is no longer necessary to be physically in Sri Lanka to do anything (really) .. so its not even necessary to "return home" to become a key contributor to Sri Lanka's future. If your plans land you back here, awesome, but that's not an excuse for forgetting your roots and not figuring out ways to help! :-)

Friday, May 2, 2008

WSO2 - awards and coolness increasing!

WSO2 WSAS, our productized enterprise-ready version of Apache Axis2, recently won a Gold award from for its data services functionality!

As if that wasn't enough, Gartner is now reporting that we're officially cool! Yep, their report "Cool Vendors in Web Technologies, 2008" (pay/subscription) lists us as one of the cool 5. Their preferred product: WSO2 Mashup Server .. for its positioning of server-side JavaScript.

Very cool indeed!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Azeez's blog .. WSAS and EC2 and more

Akham Azeez, the architect and product manager of WSO2 WSAS (our productized version of Apache Axis2), is blogging about various WSAS, Axis2 and other things. The most interesting thing will likely be his on-going work into making WSAS scale automatically on Amazon EC2. If you're interested in that type of stuff subscribe to Azeez's blog!

Jonathan's interview @ Mashup Camp

Jonathan was at the Mashup Camp a bit ago and was interviewed by TechWeb TV. Take a look; great way to understand how we think about the WSO2 Mashup Server!