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Thread: Googlish research in Stellenbosch

  1. #1

    Default Googlish research in Stellenbosch

    Googlish research

    The Electronic Media Laboratory at Stellenbosch University takes a different approach to postgraduate research, by fostering an environment where web and mobile innovation can flourish.

  2. #2
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    Brilliant!!

  3. #3

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    I wish I was back at Varsity...I would have loved to be a part of this.

  4. #4

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    I don't know. Sounds cool but note the fact that they want to transfer IP to their industry partner. Sounds like anything you do in the lab that really comes to something the university will own and then sell. An important point of the student web creator is they do it in their own time and on their own equipment so the university can't claim ownership. I might be overstating it but I would be very careful what you do in university owned labs.

  5. #5

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    ** I think its a good idea **
    Last edited by bleh69; 26-08-2010 at 11:02 PM.

  6. #6

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    Basically they doing post-grad CS but switching to communication science ie. (media lab group studies) but in the way that ivy league universities do in the states. Its the "professionalism" of the programs that foster start-ups like Google and it makes perfect sense. Call me cynical but its been done before, only not at the level the university seems to have adopted. I cannot for the life of me understand why most university's in SA have never adopted first world mentality but it probably has something to do with "indifferent" staff. Or grumpy less-than-capable staff. Either way all these grads will get snapped up and probably end up working overseas. With our exorbitant telephone costs how could we possibly have a Google coming out of South Africa? Anything that relies on communication is doomed and I doubt mobile innovation will circumvent this. Its the sad reality for all the talented CS grads who have so much to offer.. screwed by governments backward approach to comms.

    Just imagine what all our CS & engineering students could do if we weren't crippled by costs? SA would be a whole different landscape

  7. #7

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    Never read anything into some of these stories. The only advantage I see here is being able to write a nicer thesis than the usual ones. Let's face it, companies are only interesrted if you already skilled with exactly what they want/need, if you don't have xyz, they tell u to bugger off until 6-12 months later they still looking and everyone knows they idiots. :P

    If there's one thing I've learnt the last 3yrs since grad then its this, make your own startup and take out your competition.. Don't work for them! In the end unless its a big company teachers get paid more and if you studied engineering +/- a MSc like this article then you gotto go wtf are you doing.

  8. #8

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    This is just a nice way to get some j2me etc experience that u can write down on CV and say yah.. I did it and I got proof. :P

    I think industry is stupid in that 1. Graduates come in two flavours, the ones that can do things and the ones that can only write about it. 2.being in engineering grad does not mean u need to have done xyz, asd, bcf.. At a course to be able to do it. Much luck European languages have a similarity about them and some easily adapt to learn it, so too do university grads in particular engineers and hon cs people.

    I've said before abd ill say it again, it industry in SA, as small as it is a waste unless u do your own thing.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by gpe View Post
    I cannot for the life of me understand why most university's in SA have never adopted first world mentality but it probably has something to do with "indifferent" staff. Or grumpy less-than-capable staff. Either way all these grads will get snapped up and probably end up working overseas. With our exorbitant telephone costs how could we possibly have a Google coming out of South Africa? Anything that relies on communication is doomed and I doubt mobile innovation will circumvent this.
    Just imagine what all our CS & engineering students could do if we weren't crippled by costs? SA would be a whole different landscape
    You hit the nail on the head. I know G-J (author of the article) personally and he really is an exceptional lecturer that is an inspiration to his students as opposed to the majority of lecturers that don't really have time to go beyond their duty as supervisor or give a crap. Without guys like him, the "first world" mentality you speak of is doomed in ZA.

    You're also right about the cost of telecoms, but I disagree that it is crippling. Even though we are limited in bandwidth here in South Africa, you can still deliver some good research outputs if you set your mind to it. It might take a little longer to get that SDK/framework/samples you need but you're going to get there eventually if you have some patience and perseverance. I do believe that we would be able to deliver even more if we did have some decent bandwidth
    ---

  10. #10

    Talking Anamatronics

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  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by fluffy54 View Post
    I don't know. Sounds cool but note the fact that they want to transfer IP to their industry partner. Sounds like anything you do in the lab that really comes to something the university will own and then sell.
    You touch on a very important issue here -- in my experience, students often think that IP issues don't affect them, and just don't worry about it. It does, and you should know what your IP relationship with your varsity/employer is.

    It's not quite as bad as you sketch it though. As in all contracted work, the IP belongs to the party paying for it, but only the IP that was commissioned. In the case of postgrad research, the University owns the solution to the research problem (or the sponsors, if the University chooses to assign it to them).

    However, commissioned reseach -- the stuff in the thesis -- usually isn't where the exciting innovation happens. It's much more likely that a spin-off idea from the research will be really valuable, or even just the random messing around that you did when you should have been writing that thesis. Or the business idea hatched by varsity friends at 2:00am over a bottle of red wine . Universities have no claim to IP unrelated to a student's academic work, nor can it be claimed by a sponsor.

    At the Media Lab, we distinguish between three types of IP:

    1. The commissioned stuff, which is "bought out" by the sponsor
    2. Spin-off ideas directly related to the research, but not initially commissioned. If such IP has commercial value, the University will help the student to license it to the sponsor, and split royalties 50-50.
    3. Unrelated ideas, whether you did it sitting in the lab or not. The University has no claim on this, nor can it assign the IP to anyone.

    We very strongly encourage our students to innovate in that last category, because that the stuff you can take into your start-up. That's the "20% time" the article talks about.

    Quote Originally Posted by fluffy54 View Post
    An important point of the student web creator is they do it in their own time and on their own equipment so the university can't claim ownership. I might be overstating it but I would be very careful what you do in university owned labs.
    It would be sad if students had to move out of a social, creative, idea-buzzing lab space to go and work on their great ideas in their flats. The student web creator working on something unrelated to his research, owns whatever he/she creates. The University has no claim to that, just as it cannot claim copyright on the E-mail you sent from your lab computer.

    Grabby, self-interested policies or practices would be creative suicide for a University. The Media Lab is in itself an experiment in research management, where we try to attract exceptional corporate sponsorship, exceptional commitment from the University, and exceptional performance and innovation by the researchers, by making it a highly attractive deal for all parties involved.

    Just for reference, the University's IP policy is available here, because, like you say "be very careful". Students should take note of what their legal obligations are. But they'll probably find that Stellenbosch's IP policies encourage rather than stifle innovation.

    G-J

  12. #12
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    I remember the type of research people did on campus
    AltaVista for "Pamela Anderson nude" - hehe. Ok the newsgroups were used for that too.
    Neko-nyan dansu! by Harenchi Punch! MST3K. Hitler goes Kaput!. Fravia's SearchLores Shills, trolls & meow wars.

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