'It's not just about cloud computing'
MY EDUCATION WEEK:Dr Horacio González-Vélez Head of the new Cloud Competency Centre at the National College of Ireland
Today is my wife’s birthday, and my car and I need to visit the National Car Test centre. Life kicked in for real today, but I still had to get to work early for a logistics breakfast. The Cloud Competency Centre is opening at the National College of Irelnad this month, and I had to meet up with the NCI team to discuss arrangements for the launch. Wife, car, cloud computing, in that order of priority.
Jeffrey Ullman, a professor emeritus at Stanford University, is coming for the launch, so we had to contact him about practical matters. Ullman is the closest you’ll get to a rock star in computer-science circles. He’s been a professor at Stanford for 40 years, and most of us learned about computing from reading his textbooks. Getting him over here and putting this launch together have certainly been more complicated than my wedding.
The next thing I have to arrange is the Skype meeting with the new advisory board for the NCI school of computing. Chaired by Ullman, we will be chatting on the cloud with Armando Fox and Michael Franklyn from the University of California at Berkeley and John Hopcroft from Cornell University. We must have excellent reception, because, coming from Mexico, I don’t have a BBC broadcaster’s accent.
My last task of the day was to greet the new students of the HDip in web technology. It’s again a great year of this Springboard programme, and the 60-plus students all seem very motivated. That was reassuring, as many of them have been out of school for many years. I was expected at a meeting of the Cloud Arena at 6.30pm, but, with my wife’s birthday cake spoiling in the car and my 12-year-old daughter haunting me on the phone, I decided to skip it.
I spent this morning reviewing preparations for our master’s programme in cloud computing. We have had interest from all over the world. This year’s cohort includes students from China, India and all over Europe. It’s a big deal for them to come and study here. It’s not just about cloud computing but also about life, culture, location and diet. We work hard to support them in their transition to Irish life.
This week we will give several days to the task, including some tips on how to negotiate Irish social norms. For example, the Irish obsession with where people live – not just the county or the townland but the street, the number on the door. I now realise it’s because the Irish like to make a connection – “Oh yeah, my brother-in-law’s best friend lives two doors down from you”. However, for others it can seem like an intrusion, an attempt to establish your class status or, worse, a scheme to burgle your house.