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! :-)