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Ingrid Buckley :: Blog

August 16, 2011

 I spent all week working on a conference paper and making arrangements for my travels back to the US. This week concludes a very challenging yet valuable journey for me both academically and culturally.  I appreciate the support received from the graduate students, staff and professors at UNIMI, they made my stay productive, culturally rich and enjoyable. I will absolutely miss the people, coffee and Gelato, if only I could take back Gelato to last a year!

Although it’s time to sojourn home, I leave with a strong foundation set for research to continue and enough happy memories to last a life time. Saluti!

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I took a short trip to Lake Como. Lake Como is a lake of glacial origin in Lombardy, Italy. It is the third largest lake in Italy, after Lake Garda and Lake Maggiore. At over 400 m (1320 ft) deep it is one of the deepest lakes in Europe and the bottom of the lake is more than 200 metres (656 ft) below sea-level.

Lake Como is surrounded by gigantic mountains. The mountain sides are adorned with beautiful villas that extend towards the lake shores, it was amazingly beautiful! Breathtaking!  I took a boat ride from Lecco to Bellagio, then from there to Varenna. Despite the forecast of perfect weather, sure enough, rain fell for most of my trip. Either way, Lake Como is a definite must see in any weather.

See pictures below:

 


 

That’s it for this week, Ciao!

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July 21, 2011

It’s amazing how time flies! I wanted to experience the beach in Italy before leaving and I heard that some of the best beaches are located in the Cinque Terre.

The Cinque Terre is a rugged portion of coast on the Italian Riviera. The Cinque Terre means "The Five Lands" which is composed of five villages: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. The coastline, the five villages, and the surrounding hillsides are all part of the Cinque Terre National Park.  The locals over time have carefully built terraces on the rugged, steep landscape right up to the cliffs that overlook the Mediterranean Sea.  Like Venice, a part of its charm is the lack of visible corporate development. Paths, trains and boats connect the villages, and cars cannot reach them from the outside.

Cinque Terre is not like the major Italian cities like Rome or Florence, instead it offers a more relaxing and easy going atmosphere coupled with great beaches and vineyards. I enjoyed walking the easiest and most famous path between Riomaggiore and Manrola - the Via Dell'Amore ("Love Walk"). The paths between the other villages are more challenging and time intensive to explore. I am not much of a hiker so I took the easy and inexpensive route and took the train to reach the other villages. I missed Corniglia due to time constraints but the 4 villages that I saw had amazing beaches. They say pictures say a thousand words so I will let you decide.

 Ciao until next week!

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July 15, 2011

After a long work week, I decided to make use of the perfect weather, so I headed off to Venice, the beautiful city on water.  Venice is refreshingly unique; the general mode of transportation around the city is by gondola, water buses (vaporetti) or personal boats. The maritime portion of Venice has no roads as such, it is composed almost entirely of narrow footpaths, and laid out across islands connected by staired stone footbridges, making transportation impossible by almost anything with wheels. Transportation by Gandola is considered luxury and so it is quite expensive.

I also visited the Venetian Lagoon. The Venetian lagoon is the enclosed bay of the Adriatic Sea in which the city of Venice is situated. The Venice lagoon is about 30 minutes by vaporetti from Piazza San Marco. The lagoon has many islands, but the most famous are Murano, Burano and Torcello.

Murano is known for glass blowing and making. They provide free demonstrations of glass blowing and glass making with explanations in EnglishSmile. I personally enjoyed the quaintness of the three detached islands. But I must say that Piazza San Marco is amazingly beautiful. The architecture, paintings, monuments and sculptures of St Mark's Basilica is absolutely incredible. I also enjoyed riding down the Grand Canal by vaporetti and taking in all the beautiful buildings with their front doors right by the water. Venice is a must see once you are in Italy, the pictures say a thousand words.

 

 

 

Ciao until next week!

 

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July 08, 2011

The highlight of this week is the beautiful city of Florence. Florence has tons of beautiful buildings, sculptures, palaces, museums and piazza's. It can get quite expensive though to enter each venue as they can cost between 4 -15 euros each.   The narrow streets are crowded with tourist, tour groups and vendors, selling leather bags, knock off Gucci purses, paintings and scarves.

There was no rain this time, but the sun was scorching hot and it was very humid, add the crowd factor to all of this and use your imagination. It is very hard to not eat gelato under these conditions. I have also come to enjoy another Italian treat called Granita.  Granita is a semi-frozen dessert made from sugar, water and various flavorings, when the sun is hot, it’s perfect for quenching your thirst!

The Duomo of Florence and the cathedral are spectacular inside and out and they are free to visit. I also enjoyed Palazzo Pitti and Piazzale Michelangelo.  Piazzale Michelangelo is a famous square with a magnificent panoramic view of Florence, which is also free after a 40 minute hike up hill  Laughing.

Duomo of Florence and Cathedral:

 

 

Piazzale Michelangelo: 

 

Palace Pitti: 

 

Around the city:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Keywords: Florence

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June 24, 2011

My host advisor Dr. Damiani coordinated the 6th MDPS workshop. This workshop is organized by the Department of Information Technologies of the Università degli Studi di Milano, in collaboration with the Chair of Distributed Information Systems of the Faculty of Informatics and Mathematics of the University of Passau and INSA - University of Lyon.

The workshop promotes the participation of Ph.D. students and senior researchers of different countries, centered on the presentation and discussion of research in progress at the doctoral school as well as  seminars conducted by experienced researchers or industrial experts on  subjects related to the scientific program of the workshop. Invited speakers will be selected from both academic and industrial communities, to bring their experience and present their research studies as well as discuss novel issues, recent developments, applications, methodologies, and novel techniques.

PhD Students from all three universities meet twice each year for one week to share their research work to gain quality feedback from different point of views. I thoroughly enjoyed this workshop as it provided a very enriching experience both culturally and academically. It was such a pleasure to participate, I gained so much knowledge about different research efforts some of which was related to my research work. This workshop had so much dept, it even included a segment on possible career choices and directions for PhD students. Dr. Damiani and the professors from the University of Passau and University of Lyon discussed different research paths that can be taken, and their differences.

I gave two presentations, one about the PIRE program, its objective, motivation and impact. I also gave another presentation about my research work. It included past work, work in progress and future work to give the audience a holistic view of my research path. The feedback was very encouraging; I received interesting views and insights that could be complimentary to my future work. Both presentations were well received.

 

Highlights from the workshop:

 

 

Ciao, until next week.

Keywords: MDPS

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June 11, 2011

This week went by quickly. It has been raining since I got here, it is also quite cold. The weather does not seem to bother the locals though. Many of the locals travel by bicycle; it’s very surprising to see someone riding a bicycle with an umbrella in one hand while riding expeditiously at the same time. The older females seem to have this skill down pretty well.

Some of the staff members and professors at the university met to have pizza for lunch before the holidays. Each person ordered a pizza of their choice, so I assumed that the pizzas would be the individual size ones. Not the case, see pictures below:

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I have been exploring the city in the evenings when it’s not raining so much. Most of the stores, restaurants and churches are located in the center of the city. The locals like to walk through the streets window shopping while eating Gelato. There are several bars and cafes as well, see pictures below:


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Here are some pictures I was able to snap of statues and monuments during the independence holiday weekend:



Until next week, Ciao!

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June 05, 2011

My first week in Italy has been very quiet and uneventful. I moved into a studio flat near the centre of the city. I am having difficulty finding my way around the city. I also found that at different times in the day, the streets become desolate and all stores are closed.

Back at the university I met with the group I will working with for the next two (2) months and we have agreed on a good starting point for my research. I did not get much done in terms of research this week because I was looking for a place to live and also Thursday and Friday were public holidays here, so it was very quiet. The university closed on Wednesday and will be reopening again on Monday (06/06/2011). I spent some time walking about but there was not much to do and I did not want to get lost; futhermore most stores and business places were closed because of the holiday.

I treated myself to some gelato, it's similar to ice-cream but not as creamy, it’s very delicious. The men here are very friendly, though we cannot talk, they make gestures to take me for a drink at the bar, and of course I decline.

It will take me some time to get acclimated to the customs here.


Thats it for now! Ciao!

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July 12, 2008

This week was busy, and Wednesday was the national Independence day in Argentina. I met with Dr Gustavo to discuss the WS-Reliability pattern I wrote, he gave me some feedback on my work and some pointers.

 

 Dr. Gustavo      Dr.Gustavo  and I having a meeting.

 

 

 

I still cannot believe that I am leaving already, my time in Argentina has run by so swiftly and now it’s time to return to Florida, I have had many experiences here that I will never forget. Below are pictures of the lab, the team, myself working and the Informatica Building:

 

    

                    

Me closing the lab, I am generally the last one to leave.

 

 

 

- Meet the team                    The Informatica Building

 

We had a dinner with Julian and Andres on Thursday night, just one last dinner with our teammates in the LIFIA lab, oh so sad. Dr. Gustavo invited us all to dine with him on Friday night, a little sending off dinner, we spoke about our experiences as well as the highligts of the trip. See some pictures of this event below:

- Dr Gustavo and is wife.

 

The dinner       - Everyone

  

I have gotten so much done in the last two months, I am gratified and encouraged by my accomplishments. I was able to work in a lab with many young people in the Computer Science field, we ate lunch together, shared our work experiences and interests and of course we partied together as well.  The atmosphere in the LIFIA lab is warm and conducive to work.

 

I want to thank all the persons that made this experience possible for me and  all the other students in the PIRE program. The opportunity to study in a foreign country, and to learn from people in the same field of study is great. I have learned so much about the culture, the people and also a lot about myself. Many thanks again for making this happen.

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July 06, 2008

This week was very fruitful I completed the WS-Reliability pattern as outlined in the POSA template. I started to focus more on patterns for fault-tolerance in Web Services, I also started conducting an evaluation of several fault-tolerance patterns with a view of classifying them. Today marks the beginning of my final week in Argentina, my experience here will not be forgotten.

 Students in the LIFIA Lab.    The Lifia Lab

 Computer Science Building.     Working at the lab

This weekend was also exciting I visited Colonia in Uruguay which is just one hour from Buenos Aires, I spent the whole day there. Explored the culture and the people, they have lots of arts and craft, the people were very friendly and helpful.

One thing I noticed was that the drivers were very kind, and stopped for pedestrians to cross safely. The town was very quiet and had an old town feel. Overall my impression of Colonia is that it’s an excellent place to relax and take it easy, the pace is very slow. The prices were outrageous though, the meals were like 250 Uruguay Pesos, wow! Please see some of the pictures I took in Uruguay below :

 

 

 I also visited Florida avenue in Buenos Aires to take in as much of Argentina as I could. The weather was not so fair, it was overcast, cold and it rained heavily. Despite the weather I had a good weekend. 

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