Archive - 2011


December 19th

my year in cities, 2011

To continue the tradition from past years, here’s a list of cities I have been to this year:

End of an era: 5.5 years in the making, the thesis is submitted, bags are packed, memories are tucked away into a special part of my heart. It’s a little crazy to think about, but I’ve called A2 “home” for just about as long as any other city I’ve ever lived in!

  • Ann Arbor, Michigan

Job hunt: The end of a Ph.D. brings with it an epic multi-month fly-everywhere-and-talk-about-yourself ordeal. Scheduling this was quite the epic traveling-salesman setup. (Turns out, we didn’t have an utterly optimal solution — I flew the DTW->PHX->SJC I think 4 times this year!)

  • Bay Area (Palo Alto, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, San Jose and San Francisco)
  • Columbus, Ohio
  • Redmond, Washington: I come back here a few months later for a friend’s wedding
  • Madison, Wisconsin
  • Florham Park, New Jersey
  • New York City, New York

One last epic summer internship:

  • Mountain View, California

My first conference travel as a non-student:

  • Seattle, Washington

Going home: back to India after many years!:

  • Delhi
  • Mumbai: though Delhi is technically “home”, 2 weeks in Delhi, and I just had to leave for Mumbai. Maybe it’s the waves at Juhu beach. Maybe it’s the bustle of the trains. Or maybe it’s the huge list of seafood restaurants I just had to eat through!
  • Kolkata: Like an old, wizened grandma, it doesn’t matter HOW many years you come back after, Kolkata is always the same.

Southeast-Asia vacation with parents:

  • Singapore
  • Putrajaya & Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  • Genting, Malaysia
  • Penang, Malaysia
  • Phuket, Thailand
  • Krabi Island, Thailand

Seven days in Rajasthan : Longest I’ve been away from my laptop!

  • Udaipur
  • Jodhpur
  • Jaisalmer
  • Jaipur

Next up:

  • Columbus, Ohio!

21 cities, 5 countries, 2 continents — looking forward to 2012!


August 31st

Guided Interaction: Rethinking the Query-Result Paradigm

Just got done with my presentation at VLDB 2011's Challenges and Visions Track! The paper is available here, as are the talk slides. Abstract and browsable slides are below!

Abstract:Decades of research, coupled with continuous increases in computing power, have enabled highly efficient execution of queries on large databases. For many databases, far more time is spent by users formulating queries than by the system evaluating them. It stands to reason that, looking at the overall query experience we provide users, we should pay attention to how we can assist users in the holistic process of obtaining the information they desire from the database, and not just the constituent activity of efficiently generating results given a complete precise query.

In this talk, we examine the conventional query-result paradigm employed by databases and demonstrate challenges encountered when following this paradigm. We recognize that the process of query specification itself is a major stumbling block. With current computational abilities, we are at a point where we can make use of the data in the database to aid in this process. To this end, we propose a new paradigm, guided interaction, to solve the noted challenges, by using interaction to guide the user through the query formulation, query execution and result examination processes.

There are significant engineering challenges to constructing the system we envision, and the technological building blocks to address these challenges exist today.


June 6th

We'll be right back after the following messages from our sponsor

Recent life changes have kept me away from the blog. I hope to resume posting soon; until then, watch this space!

For now you can: