Sohan's Blog

Living the Developer's Life

What I Learned From My First Semester at University of Calgary as a Grad Student?

In a single line, the first semester has been awesome.
Some of you already know that I came to Calgary, AB, Canada this fall to start a graduate research focusing agile software development. So, to get started I tried to come up with a research idea by hunting several resources including popular publications, blogs and books. This is not yet over…
However, I took a course called Applied Machine Learning and had the opportunity to work on a project that might lead to my MS thesis. The project, Auto Tagging Emails with User Stories, targets to grab and automatically tag emails with user stories based on a project’s context information. The trick is, if you see the text similarity between an email and a user story and complement with their temporal and meta data similarity, you can make a guess about their relation. I wanted to make it an automatic process so that when people share knowledge in emails they can easily make use of this knowledge for future references. The project was successful in its scope and I submitted a paper day before yesterday. Keeping my fingers crossed to see the decision on this paper!
Apart from the project, this course also offered the unique opportunity to work with Prof. Dr. Richter. He was really helpful and spent a lot of time on my project and the paper.
I also did a group project for the Interactive Tabletops and Surfaces course. This project was called “Tavolo”, a surface solution for conferences where people could bring their research ideas through images/videos/pdfs and annotate/share with others. This was my first ever tabletop project. We used Microsoft Surface and I liked the hardware so far. But in the end I found that the size and low resolution of the surface limited our opportunity to implement several features of the project. But in a nutshell this project gave me the opportunity to try something around Human Computer Interaction and next generation collaboration designs.
During the last week of November, I attended the ITS2009 conference. It was a 3 day international conference people came from all continents. I liked the presentations and the fact that this research community is as if its a connected web. I must say, the Bill Buxton speech was a great one. He envisioned the next generation human computer interaction and also discussed about real life commercial applications coming out of the research. It was very inspiring!
I also submitted a grant application to iCore. I am personally convinced that this was a good proposal and I have the necessary background to make it a successful research. But according to my supervisor, its a good idea to be less optimistic with iCore fund. Anyway, composing this application helped me in finding some of the holes in my writing and thinking skills. I will happily take this lesson!
In my family life, this was an eventful time as well. My wife, Shahana, got admitted to the ECE department at University of Calgary and she will start her MS this January. This means we might be graduating at similar times and be back to Bangladesh soon thereafter. Wish we make good use of the opportunity in our graduate studies.
Well, this is a pretty much a summary! But I forgot one thing, Swimming! For the last month and half, I am going to swimming 3/4 days a week and enjoying this activity. The university swimming pool, like all other games and sports venues, is really well maintained.
I am looking for a Camera and waiting for the Boxing Day sale. Let me know if you saw a good DSLR camera around $500!
Oh! I forgot another announcement! I have taken my first web venture at! If you have some time stop by and let me know if you like/dislike the idea and its presentation. I am planning to go live from Jan 1 2010!
Merry Christmas!


@Syed Raihan, this is a RoR project. After I worked in .Net and RoR for over 3.5 years, I realize that at this moment RoR is the better choice for a web project for me.
Any comment on the business idea?
Syed Raihan
What technology are you using in CampZero? Is it Rails or ASP.NET MVC?