LISA Paper

July 8, 2010

Our paper on fast encrypted laptop backups has been accepted for LISA 2010.

HP Award

July 8, 2010

I’m going to be doing some work with HP looking at automated planning for configuration changes in cloud services:
Offical announcement here.

Automated planning for configuration of cloud computing infrastructure

March 29, 2010

Seeking PhD Student for “automated planning for configuration of cloud computing infrastructure”


March 26, 2010

CHIMIT 2010 will be in San Jose on Nov 12-13 this year, immediately following LISA.

LISA 2010

March 26, 2010

LISA 2010 is accepting submissions of draft papers, this year, as well as having a a separate category for less formal “experience reports”. Tom Limoncelli has a good summary.

Volunteers wanted to help collect Mac backup statistics

February 17, 2010

We have a small project which is looking at a way of producing fast & secure backups for Mac laptops users. We are trying to collect some stats on the typical contents of Mac laptop filesystems. We’d be really grateful to anyone prepared to run some stats collection on their Mac & let us have the results …


Watercolour simulation with OpenCL

February 2, 2010

A really neat talk by Andy Finnell at NSConference on using OpenCL to do realtime simulation of watercolour painting. Based on this paper.

How to start programming ?

January 20, 2010

My 12 year old nephew asked me …

“I was wondering if you knew any beginners computer scripting books.  I know absolutely nothing about scripting, I don’t have any programs for it or any idea how computer language  works or what to type in to make it do something.”

So, I asked people here in the School of Informatics. Thanks to everyone who replied. I received some surprisingly consistent responses:

Scratch –

This seems to be the “lightweight” favourite (9 votes). Graphical output & graphical composition of the source statements – so quick returns. Seems like a good starting point which might get someone interested in the idea of programming quickly without putting them off:

It’s point and click to stick blocks together, rather than edit-compile-run; though concurrent and reactive which makes things interesting too.


Seems to be the “language” favourite (10 votes):

“Snake Wrangling for Kids” is a printable electronic book, for children 8 years and older, who would like to learn computer programming. It covers the very basics of programming, and uses the Python 3 programming language to teach the concepts.”

Some other quoted links:


An obvious choice which gives nice visible results if you buy the hardware (4 votes).

Probably for a younger age group – a programmable car with a pen:

Processing – (

An interesting choice (2 votes):

“It’s a wrapper around Java that’s used by artists among others, so the introductory materials start simple.  Probably won’t teach good

practice, but it does seem to have some of the feel about it that I got when I was a kid learning BASIC on Sinclair and Acorn computers (i.e. you can be drawing stuff on the screen in a few minutes)”

“It’s canned Java — much easier than real Java but will take you there eventually if that’s where you want to go.  And you can do really quite neat things with very little effort”

Other Languages

A selection of other languages got one or two votes each …

  • Perl (3 votes)
  • Basic (2 votes)
  • Javascript (2 votes)
  • Tcl/Tk (1 vote)
  • Logo (1 vote)
  • C# (1 vote)

LISA Workshop Notes

December 11, 2009

Notes from LISA Workshop on Virtual Infrastructures & Cloud Computing:

Next Cloudcamp on 23rd September

September 18, 2009

CloudCamp is an unconference where attendees can exchange ideas, knowledge and information in a creative and supporting environment, advancing the current state of cloud computing and related technologies.