Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A few things that made my 2014 interesting..

It has become customary for me to write a summarizing blog post each year, with the title "A few things that made my ${year} interesting", summarizing the top 30 events or memories of the year that made the year remarkable and special, since 2012.

1. "The accelerating year" - The year started as a lazy year, and began to catch up and get more interesting and eventful during the last trimester.

2. A year strikingly similar to the year 2010 - A sense of deja vu throughout the year. Many events reminded me the year 2010, probably a larger and more complicated version of the year 2010.

3. Shenzhen 2014 - A two-weeks-summer-break in Shenzhen, China, just before my master thesis defence.

4. Grandma's 粽子 (Zòngzi)! So delicious! Also a tea party in Chinese style.

5. Paris, Once more - This time it was summer, where last time in 2010 it was covered by thick snow, when 4 of us went as a group to SoCPaR 2010.

6. London 2014 - To present my second and final paper of my masters. London was great. Enjoyed the food and the atmosphere.

7. Completion of my master studies - EMDC, which started in 2012, came to an end this year. It was generally successful, and I secured 16.69 out of 20 as the overall grade.

8. Cloud2Sim - My master thesis. It was pretty successful as well. Produced two papers, and a grade 18 out of 20.

9. EMDC Winter Event at Evora - Compared to last year's event, this felt rather like a spring event. However, it was extra special, as I was informed about the EMJD-DC selection results. It was good to give some talk about EMDC life at KTH to the juniors too.

10. Starting of the PhD (EMJD-DC) - This itself was a successful goal.

11. Google Summer of Code 2014 - I became a student after a long time. Last time, I was a student in 2010 with the EPCC of Edinburgh University, under the mentoring organization OMII-UK. This time too, with a university research lab - The Biomedical Informatics of Emory University.

12. Random walks - There was an overwhelming amount of randomness this year. For example, the random walks in London and random explorations in Portugal's coastal line.

13. RĀVAṆA - My initial PhD work. Hoping for better and larger contributions following this.

14. Ilhas Desertas - Long summer day on a deserted island beach in the southernmost Portugal, in Faro.

15. The feeling of missing my friends - We were a group. Then I came back to Portugal alone, end of last year. 

16. UniPlaces - Had a short term collaboration opportunity with this unique team. Though it was just for 1.5 months, due to my time constraints, enjoyed it a lot! This is an outcome of the open source work produced.

17. Random shopping in Lisboa, exploring more (including some serious shopping. :D).

19. A day long walk over the cliffs and beaches of Porto Covo.

20. Obidos Chocolate Festival 

21. CSE Big Brother Big Sister Mentoring - It was an opportunity to meet the younger students and the staff. Since I am away from the country, I do a remote mentoring.

22. Fonte da Talha - The summer was pretty long. I was able to enjoy the beach till the early November.

23. Going bankrupt. Twice! - Immediately following the last year (end-of-year) Nordic countries trip, and also following this summer's Shenzhen - Paris mega trip. But who cares? I survived both times. :P

24. Presenting in a conference after a long time - MASCOTS 2014. Presented my paper after 4 years, again in Paris. This was the second time I was presenting my paper. Last time too, it was in Paris. This also was my first work alone (previous papers were outcomes of team works of 4 of us).

25. UCC 2014 - This is the full paper produced from my master thesis. So the presentation was basically a slightly modified version of my master thesis defence. 

26. Carnivals in Portugal - Witnessed the one in Lisbon and also paid a visit to Torres Vedras. Barcelona one was much better. :P

27. Deadlines - Paper submissions come with deadlines. Working till the deadlines, which often is around 5 a.m Lisbon time was interesting and resulted in a few sleepless or long nights.

28. Visa applications - I did not have to apply for any visas last year, as I did not travel outside the Schengen region. This year, I required visa for China and the UK. Visa applications again! The visa application is not something I really enjoy though. :P This year also marked my 10th country to visit (UK).

29. Clearing my GMail - It got like 6000 unread emails, just in the inbox, along with a million unread email in the other filters. Made the count to zero last month also deploying better email filters and labels. Now the email count has grown to 100+.

30. Planning the future (also known as the year 2015. :P) - According to the initial discussions, it seems my second university for the PhD will be KTH. So EMJD-DC is going to be a larger version of EMDC, in terms of mobility, as IST ->KTH -> IST. That also means, most probably I will be moving to Stockholm mid of next year. Once more, year 2013. :)

Thanks for reading my list till the end. If you are really interested, you may also read the blog posts on the year 2013 and the year 2012. :D Let's see what will I have to write on the year 2021 - The 10th post in this series. :)

I wish everyone of you a very happy new year 2015. Hope it will be more interesting. :) 

Friday, December 19, 2014

[TAVM] Garbage collection auto tuning for java map reduce on multi-cores

This is the second presentation for the TAVM module. The presentation slides are given below, which I prepared by referring to the paper from the original authors.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

3rd winter in Lisbon

Getting ready for the new year 2015. My resolution for the year is to be less random. Too much of randomness in the year 2014. I decide to focus more into my PhD next year, and also some more attention to open source contribution. Will also keep blogging my life and projects with EMJD-DC.

This is going to be my 3rd new year in Lisbon. Since I left Sri Lanka in 2012, I have been moving between countries, thanks to the mobility of my studies. Have been also travelling during the year end vacations. However, I have always come back to Lisboa for the new year, so far. :)

Friday, December 12, 2014

London 2014 || UCC 2014

London Eye~~
[07/12/2014 - 12/12/2014]
Good bye London! See you again soon probably another year. :D This was probably one of the best and craziest trips of the recent past (Probably only second to the Shenzhen 2014.)

Many things I learned. Many random events made me learn the world more in different lights. Many highlights during a very very short trip.

[The first two highlights here.]

3. Friendly receptionists. Learned he is in fact finishing his MBA and planning to return to his home country (Mauritius).

4. A random walk, realizing many people here actually can recognize a Sri Lankan. :D

5. Trying the Lebanese Halal Cuisine for a dinner (I had Farrouj Mussahab), listening to energetic Lebanese music and sipping Jallab. Loved the music (food was not that great though. :P)

6. Making friends and trying to get the best out of the presentations. :D

7. Realizing the time has gone too quick. (Life is always like that) :S

8. A night at the Heathrow Airport.
Just realized, for my basic survival I need these 6 things (in no particular order): Some food, some water, plenty of sun light, some Oxygen, electricity, and an uninterrupted supply of WiFi. :P The airport provides 4 hours of complimentary Internet for each device. Airport had notifications asking us to keep the devices charged, and those that are not charged may be prohibited from taking with us in the flight. :-o So I had to find a spot to sit down, charge my computer and Nexus 7, while surfing the Internet.

9. Fire Exits and Doors.
Interestingly, all the buildings in London are very serious about fire protection, with fire doors. I felt, it is because of the 1666 Great Fire of London.

Transportation was pretty expensive. Just one way metro ticket inside the central London costs 4.1 GBP, making the round trip costs 8.2 GBP. The daily ticket costs 8.9 GBP. Hence, we always bought the daily ticket, as the single/return tickets were very expensive. The ticket was for a day, and not for 24 hours. So each time we bought a ticket in the evening, it was in fact valid only for a few hours, till 00.00 hours.

Luckily my presentation came on the first day of the conference. Hence I was able to relax for the rest of the conference. Now going back to the regular busy life.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

~~ Life in the small world..~~

London felt colder than Stockholm!
I presented my paper at UCC 2014, on the 8th of December, 2014. This is my master thesis paper. This is the second (also, the last) paper produced from my masters thesis.All the other papers from now onwards are my PhD papers. :P

UK has become the 10th country that I have visited. Have a long list to go. :D My London trip (7th - 12th, December 2014) had two interesting highlights. Second one was, I presented my paper, which was effectively the core of my master thesis work. It was a full paper (so I had 20 + 5 minutes to present).

First one was meeting my room mate (I only had one room mate so far - that was in Stockholm), who made my stay in Stockholm remarkably pleasant, sharing the happy and sad moments of life. We met after almost one year, as we both had moved to different universities, thanks to our mobility programs. 

When we move to another country (or even city), we start everything from the scratch. We learn new things; we change a bit; we hopefully improve. When we move out from the place, we don't move completely. We leave part of us wandering around, in the place that we lived. We become scattered - our memories become. I have only lived in 3 places so far - Colombo (Sri Lanka) -> Lisbon (Portugal) -> Colombo (Sri Lanka) -> Stockholm (Sweden) -> Lisbon (Portugal) was my life in a nutshell since 2012. When I left Lisbon to continue my studies in KTH, Stockholm, I missed Lisbon. Same happened to a considerable extend when I moved back to Lisbon. I missed Stockholm.
We always gain new friends - some we even call family - brothers and sisters from many countries. When we go back, the people we met may have moved out. But the memories remain. 

Meeting my brother who tolerated my weird nature and owl life style for one whole semester surely made a highlight of my London trip. I got the interesting updates since I left Stockholm, while having a quick tour around London. We will meet again. Small world, after all. 

Friday, December 5, 2014

Composing Software-Defined Networks

We at Distributed Systems Group (GSD) of INESC-ID Lisboa have regular technical meetings, where we discuss some papers that we have published recently, or are going to publish in the near future. We also discuss some external research work that is interesting to the research group. Recently I presented Pyretic, a language for composing software-defined networking, with the help of the original video recordings. The complete video can be found below, explaining the language for a modular software-defined networking.

[TAVM] The Value of zSeries Virtualization Technology for Linux

We have 3 presentations to be done for the Advanced Virtualization Techniques (TAVM) module. I presented z/VM for this. The presentation slides are given below, which are a sub set of slides adopted from the slides of the original developers.

Monday, December 1, 2014

SDNSim, A Compact Simulator for Software-Defined Networking

Following the development of Ravana (RĀVAṆA)  adaptive architecture for network flows, I am currently building SDNSim. SDNSim is a compact and expressive simulator for Software-Defined Networking (SDN) built using Java, extending the xSDN, an Expressive Simulator for Dynamic Network Flows.

The project page can be found here. The code will be made public, when considerable development has been done.