Emmy Noether Meeting in Postdam

From Friday to Sunday I was in Potsdam for the yearly Emmy Noether meeting organized by DFG (German Science Foundation). The Emmy Noether Program seems to me one of the most attractive funding options for early career researchers I know of (world wide).

This year I was in the preparation team for the meeting and was co-organizing one workshop where we discussed experiences with research funding in other countries and what ideas for improving current programs we can see. The workshop was on how we can benefit from having students rather than seeing them as “teaching load” – especially in computer science (I organized it with Andreas Butz).

The meeting is always very interesting as it brings together people, funded by DFG in the Emmy Noether Program, across all disciplines. In the political evening we had a keynote by Professor Hans Weiler looking at the current problems of the German systems (“Eliten im Wettbewerb – Die deutschen Hochschulen und die internationale Konkurrenz” ) – one message I saw in the talk is that Germany is very efficient – looking how little money is spend in education and research the outcome is surprising. (But this is only a positive message if we do not want to play a leading role in the world of science and technology). It became very clear that the overall system lacks massively in funding. The additional funding that is provided by the German Government in the widely publicized call for elite universities (Exzellenzinitiative) is 1900 million Euros over 5 years (about 5€/citizen/year)– impressive? Not really – this less than the amount projected for the “Yale Tomorrow” campaign – a 5 year program in fundraising by a single University in the US. And Stanford University has even a bigger campaign as Prof. Weiler told – and there are a few other Universities in the league in the US…

>Emmy Noether Meeting in Postdam

>

From Friday to Sunday I was in Potsdam for the yearly Emmy Noether meeting organized by DFG (German Science Foundation). The Emmy Noether Program seems to me one of the most attractive funding options for early career researchers I know of (world wide).

This year I was in the preparation team for the meeting and was co-organizing one workshop where we discussed experiences with research funding in other countries and what ideas for improving current programs we can see. The workshop was on how we can benefit from having students rather than seeing them as “teaching load” – especially in computer science (I organized it with Andreas Butz).

The meeting is always very interesting as it brings together people, funded by DFG in the Emmy Noether Program, across all disciplines. In the political evening we had a keynote by Professor Hans Weiler looking at the current problems of the German systems (“Eliten im Wettbewerb – Die deutschen Hochschulen und die internationale Konkurrenz” ) – one message I saw in the talk is that Germany is very efficient – looking how little money is spend in education and research the outcome is surprising. (But this is only a positive message if we do not want to play a leading role in the world of science and technology). It became very clear that the overall system lacks massively in funding. The additional funding that is provided by the German Government in the widely publicized call for elite universities (Exzellenzinitiative) is 1900 million Euros over 5 years (about 5€/citizen/year)– impressive? Not really – this less than the amount projected for the “Yale Tomorrow” campaign – a 5 year program in fundraising by a single University in the US. And Stanford University has even a bigger campaign as Prof. Weiler told – and there are a few other Universities in the league in the US…

GPS monitoring for car insurance

In my talk at ISUVR2008 I referred to an example where an insurance is monitor driving behavior and makes a tariff according to this. Some people asked me for more details and
references, here they are…

My example was based on the pilot announced from the German insurance WGV. They planned to run a pilot with 1500 people using a GPS based monitoring devices. The box is mounted in the car and compares the current speed with the allowed speed limit and warns to reduce speed (if over the limit). If the driver is more than 12 times per year over the speed limit (basically ignoring the warning) he does not get the reduced rate. (see http://www.wgv-online.de/docs/youngandsafe.pdf – in German only). In the announcement it said they will run the pilot to 2009…

There are different ideas how to take GPS driving monitoring beyond the lab, e.g. in 2007 Royal & SunAlliance announced a GPS-based eco car insurance and the AIG a Teen GPS Program – targeted at parents.

Looking at different comments (on news pages and in blogs) it seems that people’s opinions are very split…

GPS monitoring for car insurance

In my talk at ISUVR2008 I referred to an example where an insurance is monitor driving behavior and makes a tariff according to this. Some people asked me for more details and
references, here they are…

My example was based on the pilot announced from the German insurance WGV. They planned to run a pilot with 1500 people using a GPS based monitoring devices. The box is mounted in the car and compares the current speed with the allowed speed limit and warns to reduce speed (if over the limit). If the driver is more than 12 times per year over the speed limit (basically ignoring the warning) he does not get the reduced rate. (see http://www.wgv-online.de/docs/youngandsafe.pdf – in German only). In the announcement it said they will run the pilot to 2009…

There are different ideas how to take GPS driving monitoring beyond the lab, e.g. in 2007 Royal & SunAlliance announced a GPS-based eco car insurance and the AIG a Teen GPS Program – targeted at parents.

Looking at different comments (on news pages and in blogs) it seems that people’s opinions are very split…

>GPS monitoring for car insurance

>In my talk at ISUVR2008 I referred to an example where an insurance is monitor driving behavior and makes a tariff according to this. Some people asked me for more details and
references, here they are…

My example was based on the pilot announced from the German insurance WGV. They planned to run a pilot with 1500 people using a GPS based monitoring devices. The box is mounted in the car and compares the current speed with the allowed speed limit and warns to reduce speed (if over the limit). If the driver is more than 12 times per year over the speed limit (basically ignoring the warning) he does not get the reduced rate. (see http://www.wgv-online.de/docs/youngandsafe.pdf – in German only). In the announcement it said they will run the pilot to 2009…

There are different ideas how to take GPS driving monitoring beyond the lab, e.g. in 2007 Royal & SunAlliance announced a GPS-based eco car insurance and the AIG a Teen GPS Program – targeted at parents.

Looking at different comments (on news pages and in blogs) it seems that people’s opinions are very split…

Thermo-imaging camera at the border – useful for Context-Awareness?

When we re-entered South Korea I saw guard looking with an infrared camera at all arriving people. It was very hot outside so the heads were very red. My assumption is that this is used to spot people who have fever – however I could not verify this.

Looking at the images created while people moved around I realized that for many tasks in activity recognition, home health care, and wellness this may be an interesting technology to use. For several tasks in context-awareness it seems straightforward to get this information from an infrared camera. In the computer vision domain it seems that there have several papers towards this problem over the recent years.

We could thing of an interesting project topic related to infrared activity recognition or interaction to be integrated in our new lab… There are probably some fairly cheep thermo-sensing cameras around to used in research – for home brew use you find hints on the internet, e.g. How to turn a digital camera into an IR cam – pretty similar to what we did with the web cams for our multi-touch table.

The photo is from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermography

Thermo-imaging camera at the border – useful for Context-Awareness?

When we re-entered South Korea I saw guard looking with an infrared camera at all arriving people. It was very hot outside so the heads were very red. My assumption is that this is used to spot people who have fever – however I could not verify this.

Looking at the images created while people moved around I realized that for many tasks in activity recognition, home health care, and wellness this may be an interesting technology to use. For several tasks in context-awareness it seems straightforward to get this information from an infrared camera. In the computer vision domain it seems that there have several papers towards this problem over the recent years.

We could thing of an interesting project topic related to infrared activity recognition or interaction to be integrated in our new lab… There are probably some fairly cheep thermo-sensing cameras around to used in research – for home brew use you find hints on the internet, e.g. How to turn a digital camera into an IR cam – pretty similar to what we did with the web cams for our multi-touch table.

The photo is from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermography

>Thermo-imaging camera at the border – useful for Context-Awareness?

>When we re-entered South Korea I saw guard looking with an infrared camera at all arriving people. It was very hot outside so the heads were very red. My assumption is that this is used to spot people who have fever – however I could not verify this.

Looking at the images created while people moved around I realized that for many tasks in activity recognition, home health care, and wellness this may be an interesting technology to use. For several tasks in context-awareness it seems straightforward to get this information from an infrared camera. In the computer vision domain it seems that there have several papers towards this problem over the recent years.

We could thing of an interesting project topic related to infrared activity recognition or interaction to be integrated in our new lab… There are probably some fairly cheep thermo-sensing cameras around to used in research – for home brew use you find hints on the internet, e.g. How to turn a digital camera into an IR cam – pretty similar to what we did with the web cams for our multi-touch table.

The photo is from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermography

Trip to North Korea

[see the whole set of photos from tour to North Korea]

From Gwangju we took the bus shortly after midnight to go for a trip to North Korea. The students did a great job in organizing ISUVR and the trip. It was great to have again some time to talk to Yoosoo Oh, who was a visiting researcher in Munich in our group.

When entering North Korea there are many rules, including that you are not allowed to take cameras with tele-lenses over 160mm (so I had to take only the 50mm lens) and you must not bring mobile phones and mp3 players with you. Currently cameras, phones and MP3 players are visible with the human eye and to detect in an x-ray. But it does not take much imagination to see in a few years extremely small devices that are close to impossible to spot. I wonder how this will change such security precautions and whether or not I will in 10 years still possible to isolate a country from access to information. I doubt it…

The sightseeing was magnificent – see the photos of the tour for yourself. We went onto the Kaesong tour (see http://www.ikaesong.com/ – in Korea only) It is hard to tell how much of the real North Korea we really saw. And the photos only reflect a positive selection of motives (leaving out soldiers, people in town, ordinary buildings, etc. as it is explicitly forbidden to take photos of those). I was really surprise when leaving the country they check ALL the pictures you took (in my case it took a little longer as it was 350 photos).

The towns and villages are completely different from what I have seen so far. No cars (besides police/emergency services/army/tourist busses) – but many people in the street walking or cycling. There were some buses in a yard but I have not seen public transport in operation. It seemed the convoy of 14 tourist buses is an attraction to the local people…

I have learned that the first metal movable type is from Korea – about 200 years before Gutenberg. Such a metal type is exhibited in North Korea and in the display is a magnifying glass in front of the letter – pretty hard to take a picture of…

Trip to North Korea

[see the whole set of photos from tour to North Korea]

From Gwangju we took the bus shortly after midnight to go for a trip to North Korea. The students did a great job in organizing ISUVR and the trip. It was great to have again some time to talk to Yoosoo Oh, who was a visiting researcher in Munich in our group.

When entering North Korea there are many rules, including that you are not allowed to take cameras with tele-lenses over 160mm (so I had to take only the 50mm lens) and you must not bring mobile phones and mp3 players with you. Currently cameras, phones and MP3 players are visible with the human eye and to detect in an x-ray. But it does not take much imagination to see in a few years extremely small devices that are close to impossible to spot. I wonder how this will change such security precautions and whether or not I will in 10 years still possible to isolate a country from access to information. I doubt it…

The sightseeing was magnificent – see the photos of the tour for yourself. We went onto the Kaesong tour (see http://www.ikaesong.com/ – in Korea only) It is hard to tell how much of the real North Korea we really saw. And the photos only reflect a positive selection of motives (leaving out soldiers, people in town, ordinary buildings, etc. as it is explicitly forbidden to take photos of those). I was really surprise when leaving the country they check ALL the pictures you took (in my case it took a little longer as it was 350 photos).

The towns and villages are completely different from what I have seen so far. No cars (besides police/emergency services/army/tourist busses) – but many people in the street walking or cycling. There were some buses in a yard but I have not seen public transport in operation. It seemed the convoy of 14 tourist buses is an attraction to the local people…

I have learned that the first metal movable type is from Korea – about 200 years before Gutenberg. Such a metal type is exhibited in North Korea and in the display is a magnifying glass in front of the letter – pretty hard to take a picture of…