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Kasturi Chaterjee :: Blog

July 25, 2008

Today is my last day in China and last day of my work. It has been a memorable 10 weeks so far. There was work, fun, excitements and frustrations. Sometimes felt really tired of this different life and wanted to return to my comfort zone but at the same time on other sunnier days, life was a bliss here and some part of me wanted to start over with all the unknown adventures yet again.

The work was great. Accomplished quite a lot without feeling too overworked. The hours at office were really productive. I am happy that I could complete the work I planned to in the way I wanted to. Both my group and me knew from the very beginning that 10 weeks is really a very short period of time as far as research is concerned specially, since I strated a complete new project right from scratch. But we were optimistic that we would be able to do enough progress to have a clear roadmap for the future direction. And today I am satisfied that I could narrow down the broad problem, solved part of it and know how to progress to improve it. I will continue working on it once I am back to school and collaborate with my group here at IBM-CRL. We hope to have good results and come up with  paper for the upcoming pacific visualization conference.

I want to take this oppurtunity to thank the INFOVIS group at IBM-CRL and especially to my manager Dr. Shixia Liu. She was helpful and attentive to my requirements all through. The entire PIRE team deserves a special thank from me to make all this happen. Its one of the most wonderful memories I would have with me for a long time.

 25 days from today, in June I had my birthday celebrated here in Beijing. There was a nice surprise party at IBM-CRL as well as a wonderful dinner arranged by Chris, Paula, Leena, Jan Chris and Tariq at a nearby Indian Restaurant. The day was wonderful right from the start and I never got a chance to feel the pang of homesickness, thanks to everyone.




Also, here are few snaps of me working at IBM-CRL, having group meetings and just having nice time with the group. It was really a tough job getting permission to take these snaps and a lot of paperworks need to be completed to achieve it.



Today as a farewell, my group is taking me to bowling followed by dinner. I still need to pack and then tomorrow I am off to India for a two weeks break.

I am very excited to be able to see my family after a long time and hope to spend some quality time with them. But, I am feeling a little sad that this journey is over, something I had anticipated for months. In my quite trouble free life at USA, I will miss seeing so many people on the roads, packed buses, taxi drivers each thinking themselves as cousins of Schumacher! I will miss the hard hard spartan bed at the dorm, the nihaos and the xie-xies.......and last but not the least... I will miss my thinkpad..I am sad I have to return it today! :(

Now that I have more time, I will post some of my experience here in China in details.

Till then..... 



Keywords: Beijing, China, IBM-CRL, PIRE

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June 19, 2008

I didn't post for a long time. Its mainly due to the work. I had two deliverables within this 1 month and just finished one last week and one today. The research is shaping up but have plenty of work to do in the next 5 weeks. Hopefully, I will have enough convincing results to put a  paper together. Ten weeks seem to be such a small period of time!!

My sightseeing and beijing tour had been quite less for the last couple of weeks as well. Mainly, got tied up with work.  But, visited a couple of places. Went to lama temple last to last weekend. I loved it. Its a very old piece of architecture tucked away in a peaceful alley, where the mad rush of beijing couldn't quite disturb its serenity. Also, went to the Beijing Zoo last sunday to check the Pandas. The Pandas are an extremely lazy specis. All of them were so busy sleeping I really had a hard time getting their pictures. The Beijing Zoo is sprawled across a large space with lakes fringed by weeping willows. Children were all around but if you want you can still find yourself a quite corner to stare at the lake and listen to birds. My only grivance is, they could have kept the pandas a little cleaner! 

In the mena time, I met with two of my friends from CNIC, Dongri and Shuren for lunch. They are a really good company.  

I am updating my picasa web albums every now and then, so feel free to check them at



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May 17, 2008

O.K so we are finally here. Anticipations and preparations, night long packings-forgetting-and-re-packing, taking care of the last minute deadlines at work...truely, life has been a whirlwind for the last week or so. The flight was good. "Good" because I pretty much slept it through. Reached Beijing Capital Airport at 2:00 pm (Beijing Time).

                                                  Fresh Off the Flight

 The airport is brand new, reconstructed and opened up just a month back. It was impressively huge and clean with plenty of airport staffs ready to help.

                                 Beijing Airport Getting Ready for the Olympics 2008


There were engligh signs everywhere, so we figured out our way without any problem. The immigration was cool and my baggage came in all intact (usually my baggage doesn't travel with me!!!). We were greeted by the students from Tsinghua. They were helpful and courteous. It was about a 30 mins ride from the airport to the Tsinghua Campus. Captured some of the city mood on my way from the cab.

                                                          Fresh From the Plane
                                                           Beijing City Roads


On the first impression, I liked the city with people on the road walking, biking, driving without rules. It has a lot of resemblance with metros in India which brought up a feeling of familiarity and ease. My room is tiny but cosy. Its clean and furnished comfortabely. Us just arrived at Beijing Its like a nice little extended stay!!

Walked around the campus with my chinese phrase book, figuring out signs and trying desperately to spot people who might just speak some english. Its totally a different ball game here. Despite of the fact that Tsinghua houses a lot of foreign students in its campus, there are very little/no help for non-chinese speaking people to get around. Even the campus map has only a chineses version. Nevertheless, it was fun pointing my phrase book at the cafeteria, making odd and ridiculous sounds when actually trying to pronounce something in Pinyin, using elaborate sign language like a pro. Its going to be an experience for lifetime.

                                 View from my Room (romantically foggy OR pullutedly smogy?????)


Rest later.........

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May 12, 2008

Student Name: 

Kasturi Chatterjee

Supervisor’s Name and Title at FIU/FAU:

Dr. Shu-Ching Chen, Associate Professor

Name of the PIRE International Partner’s Institution:

IBM Research, China Research Lab

Supervisor’s Name and Title at the PIRE International Partner’s Institution:

Dr. Shixia Liu, Research Scientist, Information Visualization, IBM-CRL

Project Title:

Proposing a Graph Similarity Toolkit for improving Social Network Layout

Problem Statement:

Visualization is a cognitive process to develop images and mappings of objects in one’s mind. In computer and information sciences it is the visual representation of a domain space using graphics, images, animated sequences and sound augmentation to present the data, structure and dynamic behavior of large, complex data sets that represent systems, events, processes, objects and concepts. In this joint project, we will work on Information Visualization utilizing Automatic Graph Layout concepts. A detail implementation plan and algorithm for automatic graph layout with a special concentration on graph similarity will be recommended after a careful survey of the existing works on graph layout techniques.

Motivation and Impact:

Visualization have immense impact on various genres mainly to fields which deal with a huge amount of data. Apprppriate visualization techniques are capable of extracting many hidden interpretations of critical data which might be hard to detect under ordinary circumstances. Using dynamic graphs is one of the most popular techniques of data visualization specially for applications like Social Networks. Finding interesting subgroups of sub-graphs from a Social Network Graphical structure using graph similarity techniques is a very interesting topic and would help to design and analyze Social Networks structures better. 

Current Status:

This is a completely new venture both on my part as well as for the research group for IBM-CRL. They had been more concerned with the visualizaton aspects of the graph and want to extend it to the data analysis part as well using similarity metrics. Thus, we need to start building up the knowledge base, design and implement the proposed idea.

Research Roadmap:

In 2008, the work will be decomposed into the following major subtasks:

1.      Explore all the existing graph layout algorithms from multiple resources from academic, commercial products and open sources with a special concentration on Graph Similarity and Distance.

2.      Analyze the characteristics (advantages, disadvantages) of each layout algorithm.

3.      Define the research agenda of automatic graph layout recommendation for the team, and divide research responsibility with other colleague(s) of the Research team with the following objective:

                              a.       Recommend the layout algorithm for each input graph

b.      Recommend the layout algorithm for each sub-graph in the input graph



4.      Prepare a final document of the findings with experimental results and details of the recommended structure.


Relation to PIRE Core Research Projects:

Though information visualization is currently not directly related to the PIRE projects but there are ample future oppurtunities to extend our research in this field. For example, visualizing the post hurricane information as graph structures and analyzing the data and categorizing them using the similarity toolkit might be just one of the many implementations of my research at IBM-CRL. 

Keywords: kasturi, pire, proposal

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