As an IBM Shared University Research Grant recipient, I was invited to speak at IBM’s University Day. Before going I had managed to get UNC-CH to officially sign-on to the IBM Academic Initiative. Good thing too as only four universities in North Carolina are official members: Duke, NCSU, NC A&T and UNC-CH. Any scholar at an accredited institution of higher learning can sign up for the IBM Scholar’s Portal and get free software and lesson plans for teaching, but only Academic Initiative members can get special “hand holding” from IBMers. Not sure that we need it, but it would be nice if you were suddenly asked to teach a database course to have help with say DB2. Additionally — and I am not sure completely how this works – members of the Academic Initiative can go to IBM training at no cost if they are willing to go at short notice and are willing to take an unfilled seat (vacated or unsold). All this from my notes on my Treo so I could be off a little.
Barry Eveland welcomed us to the RTP IBM campus and described the challenge to IBM and to the universities — leading in research, producing the best technical, engineering and scientific graduates in the world, and producing the best code and services. The new part here is the accent on training and on services. This means more skills based education and more attention to business process (notice the inclusion of business schools from Duke and NCSU doing new educational initiatives below).
Margaret Ashida, who runs the international Academic Initiative was the main speaker in the first session. Ms. Ashida also described IBM Fellowships for Faculty and for PhD students.
On to the other talks. Michael Rappa of NCSU’s School of Management described and presented his Open Seminar Software. Nevin Fouts, Duke University Fuqua‘s Associate Dean for Information Technology, explained how to pronounce Fuqua (foo-kwa) and described the Global MBA program. I did a very fast talking version of my talk from the slides that John prepared about ibiblio and six of our current projects. Folks from NC A&T, including Marlow Hinton and Waochang Lee, described their participate in the NC Grid.
Great to catch up with Dan Green, a SILS grad now at NCSU as Director of IT for Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and with IBMers who have used ibiblio for year (or so they told me) including (oops gave his card to Jane Greenberg) who is interesting in metadata and RDF etc. Also had a nice discussion with Mohammad Tabrizi from East Carolina about scanning and searching handwritten documents.
Our panel on Open Source, Open Courseware and Open Minds was chaired by Michael Rappa with Tom Miller NCSU’s Vice Provost for Distance Education and Learning Techologies, my SILS collegue Gary Marchionini (with Open Video), Margaret Ashida and myself.
We had a small crowd for this session so I used the opportunity to pull Tom’s leg a bit. He is delightfully good natured having been educated at UNC.
Michael introduced me to Rada Chirkova who is doing analysis of database usages and who is interested in looking at how ibiblio’s databases are being used and how they might be optimized. This was too good to be true since mySQL was having trouble with the load we put on it even as we spoke.
Also met Heather McClain who is running the University programs for IBM locally.
Thanks to Andy Rindos for putting the whole thing on and for letting me be a part of it.
Others attending from SILS included: Kristin Chaffin, Gary Marchionini, Lamont Cannon, Sayan Chakraborty, and Christopher Maier.

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