Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Who uses morse code anymore?

So, funny story: today I was talking with my acquaintance Beth; she works at the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at CU.  She asked me what my major is, and I told her I'm a computer scientist.  She then told me that at LASP, the computer scientists are basically the only ones that can communicate with any telescopes, satellites, or other orbiters that we send into space.  Apparently, one of their recent missions got up into space and the scientists on the ground were able to retrieve information from it, but there was a system failure that meant they couldn't send new commands or controls to the satellite.

Computer scientists to the rescue!  According to Beth, the information gurus translated their instructions into Morse Code to communicate with the satellite.  Probably not something they widely shared, but nonetheless, quite cool.  My reply to this story: to a computer scientist, information is information, no matter how you encode it.  Reminded me of the recently released DNA-encoded book by George Church at Harvard.  Here's Carl Zimmer's blog about it.

Anyway, it was good to hear that Morse Code is alive and well and rescuing our space missions!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Apply for the Omidyar Postdoc Fellowship

I'm posting this because I spent time at SFI in the summer of 2011, at their Complex Systems summer school.  If you're interested in cutting edge, self-directed interdisciplinary research, this postdoc is for you!  Also, Santa Fe is a great city.
SFI is recruiting Omidyar Postdoctoral Fellows!  

The Omidyar Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Santa Fe Institute offers:
• transdisciplinary collaboration with leading researchers worldwide
• up to three years in residence in Santa Fe, New Mexico
• discretionary research and collaboration funds
• a structured leadership training program
• unparalleled intellectual freedom
Deadline: 1 November 2012. 

The Omidyar Fellowship at the Santa Fe Institute is unique among postdoctoral appointments. The Institute has no formal programs or departments. Research is collaborative and spans the physical, natural, and social sciences. Most research is theoretical and/or computational in nature, although it may include an empirical component. SFI typically has 15 Omidyar Fellows and postdoctoral researchers, 12 resident faculty, 100 external faculty, and 250 visitors per year. Descriptions of the research themes and interests of the faculty and current Fellows can be found at http://www.santafe.edu/research

Requirements include a Ph.D. in any discipline (or expect to receive one by September 2013), an exemplary academic record, strong quantitative and computational skills, a proven ability to work  both independently and collaboratively, a demonstrated interest in multidisciplinary research and evidence of the ability to think outside traditional paradigms. The Santa Fe Institute is an equal opportunity employer, and women, veterans, and members of underrepresented groups are especially encouraged to apply.  U.S. citizenship is not a requirement.

The SANTA FE INSTITUTE is a private, independent, multidisciplinary research and education center. SFI seeks to catalyze new collaborative, multidisciplinary research; to break down the barriers between traditional disciplines; to spread its ideas and methodologies to other institutions; and to encourage the practical application of its results. The Omidyar Fellowship at the Santa Fe Institute is made possible by a gift from Pierre and Pam Omidyar.

For additional information or assistance, please email ofellowship at santafe dot edu ofellowship@santafe.edu or fax 505-982-0565