Monday, August 26, 2013

What is Cambridge, MA known for?

Cambridge has been reinventing itself for four hundred years. It's a former farming village that became a major industrial town (New England Glass Co., Carter's Ink Co.) that became a seat of the 80s and 90s computer industry (VisiCalc, Lotus) that became a diverse intellectual and biotechnology capital.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

“Is Computer Networks a boring area?”

Over on Quora, the question-and-answer Web site, my hackles were raised when I saw this question that seemed out of left field:
Is Computer Networks a boring area?
I'm asking this question since I'm looking at possible areas to do Masters in, and one of them is Computer Networks. [...] I've never met anyone who's been passionate about this field as of yet. I've met people from areas like data mining, AI, computer vision, robotics etc. who're fiercely in love with their subject. Thirdly, the very nature of this field made me ask this question. Innovation seems slow in general, especially hardware, and it appears that you get lost in a sea of implementing protocols and going through a lot of fine lines of code, instead of working on the next big thing.
I'd be glad if someone proves me wrong. Am I missing something here?
I couldn't help myself from piping up to defend the honor of computer networking (and discuss my own work in the process).

My answer:

Monday, February 4, 2013

Q: How accurate is Google Flu Trends?

Update March 14, 2013: In 2012–13, Google Flu Trends did not successfully track the target flu indexes in the U.S., France, or Japan. Here are my slides from a talk at the Children's Health Informatics Program (March 14, 2013).

Why this happened is a mystery. Google has said they will present their own view some time this fall. I think the divergence suggests that one needs to be careful about trusting these kinds of machine-generated estimators, even when they work well for three years in a row. It can be hard to predict when they will fall down. (And without an underlying index that is still measured, you might never know when it has stopped working.)

I did an interview with WBUR's CommonHealth blog in January and again in February, and spoke on the radio in January.