Moving to a new role

It has been just over a year since I joined Microsoft; my first day was 12 September 2005. Since then, I changed 3 managers and I was part of 3 different incubation projects. Throughout, it’s been a blast! I have been working with so many clever people and doing extremely interesting things, always working on future technologies within the Connected Systems Division (CSD).

Around March, I joined the very prestigious CSD architecture team, reporting to Don Box. Although I can’t talk about the things we’ve been doing since then, I can say that it was tremendously educational and entertaining. The small team, tasked with delivering a fantastic piece of technology for the years to come, is just great, both technically and socially. I am sure you’ll start hearing about the great things this team has been working on in the near future, perhaps starting sometime next year. I have been very honoured to be part of this team and contribute just a small piece to what will come out of CSD in the years to come.

Because of the excellent time I’ve been having working with Don Box, Chris Anderson, Clemens Szyperski, Jeff Pinkston, Jeffrey Schlimmer, Martin Gudgin (Gudge), Geoffrey Kizer, Chris Sells, Dave Peck, John Dohty, the decision to leave them was incredibly difficult. You are all great guys! Thanks!

An opportunity became available to join Tony Hey (Microsoft Corporate Vice President of Technical Computing) and his group within Microsoft‘s Research and Strategy office. This is a new challenge; I have been given the chance to be part of a very small group of people aiming to establish technical/scientific computing within Microsoft (not just its research arm) and investigate the commercial potential of the company’s products and ideas in this space. I am treating the experience as if I had joined a small startup company with great ambition and potential. This means lots of hard work. As Craig Mundie recently said, we are all about “Putting Computing in Science and Science in Computing”.

It has been an extremely stressful couple of months trying to make the choice between staying with the status quo or moving on. Hence the sparse blogging posts, the lack of updates on the book front, and the standstill on the overlay webs/knowledge representation space. It’s not easy making a decision to leave the best team within CSD for something that is totally unknown. However, I trully believe in the difference we can make in the world of scientific computing through the use of middleware and Web technologies, by using the Web as the computing platform. This has been a difficult career crossroad for me and I may have chosen the wrong path but there is no turning back now. I am very determined to succeed in my new role.

Expect to hear more about this new role since I will be able to blog about the things I’ll be doing. I aim to demonstrate the application of my ideas on knowledge representation, microformats, the writeable web, conversation contracts (i.e. SSDL-like contracts), etc. in solving science-related problems and/or providing infrastructure solutions to help scientists do their job easier, faster, more accurately. My hope is that through such demonstrations, the ideas will jump to other spaces as well and, hopefully, be adopted by the industry. I am also looking forward to restarting my interactions with the scientific community.

Back to my last few days of holidays now :-) It’s beautiful in Greece at the moment. Blue sky, bright sun. I am in Athens for few days before I take my flight back to Seattle. It’s a great feeling to be able to just walk for few hours around Acropolis!

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