Wednesday, 4 July 2007

PhD defence of Mario Pichler in Linz

This Morning Mario Pichler defended his PhD dissertation at the Johannes Kepler University in Linz. One central theme he investigated in his research was how innovation happens between technology push and application/market pull. It is scientifically a very interesting argument when looking at applied research. However considering successful products, especially products from Asia and in particular Korea, it appears that focusing on technology innovation can be a strong and successful strategy.

In the ubicomp community it seems that technology driven projects are seen very critical and that there seems to be a need to justify ubicomp research with applications. The arguments for it is simple – if we let technology drive development we end up with things nobody needs. But I am less and less believing in this argument – many of the things we use daily (phone, SMS, internet, cars) are there because technology has created the need and we did not really need them. Obviously there is a need for communication, entertainment and mobility but this is abstract and the concrete technologies used are not easy to be directly deduce from them.

In Austria they have a general exam as part of the PhD viva. I learnd something about the history of the term dead reckoning (see for a discussion on the Etymology of the term).

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