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Tariq King :: Blog

July 07, 2008

Yes, has been a while but things are hectic at CRL.  I have been extremely busy trying to get things done with the research, time is definitely a factor to be considered and so I'm sure some weekends will be sacrificed for the sake of good research. Right now I'm at the implementation stage and so there's no time for thinking just coding :)  I have run some preliminary tests on my stuff (like a good tester should do) and my models are being constructed correctly, so at least things are headed in the right direction. I don't expect to find any major bugs in my own code of course but if I do I'll be sure to not report them, or add them to the documentation as features like all good software developers do.

On a different note, this week I will get a chance to meet some IBMers from other groups here at CRL, they approached me to find out if I could help them with some video clip recordings of native english speakers to enhance the communication skills here at CRL, especially in teleconferencing.  I have to read two dialogs about three minutes each so it won't be too painful but I think this is a very good and worthwhile initiative here at CRL. As expected most people here at IBM speak english but as they predominantly speak to each other in chinese, and so english communication is seldomly practiced, and like with any skill if you don't practice it you can lose it. I feel very fortunate to be able to help out with this initiative and hope to make some new friends during the one hour session. 

 I think (besides the research of course) that the best thing about the PIRE program is this type of cultural integration, initially there is culture shock but eventually you get to appreciate everyone's differences and learn that each individual can contribute something meaningful to the group as a whole.  Personally I don't think that I'm very different from the people here, if you look at this pic closely you can't even tell that I'm not from China... I mean really its like what we call in computer science "seamless integration" - one people, different colors...

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May 22, 2008

So this evening while the Tsinghua researchers (yes let me call names - Paula, Chris, Jan, and Lina) enjoy themselves at the olympic tryouts at the National Stadium, Kasturi and I are tired from the long work day.  The experience at IBM CRL is great but unfortunately we miss out on some of the PIRE group events.

Anyways at least we have a longer time in Beijing than them so hopefully we will catch up on everything later. This week so far was hectic with getting tours of the lab, security badges, thinkpads, login accounts, etc... I'm loving the IBM environment and the research attitude here in China. Everyone just seems to love coming to work, and happy to be doing what they're doing. Every minute one or two people zoom by with their thinkpads smiling.

Our typical work days are 9AM - 6PM, we take the cab to and from work.  We took the bus one day, but its super  crowded at rush hour and you literally have to force fit yourself through the doors.  So my advice is take the cab... CRL isn't far from Tsinghua (like 15-20mins) and so its about 30 Yuan by taxi (~ $5 USD). It's well worth the headaches and other aches that may result from trying to shape your body to the contours of the crowded bus.

Today our managers took us for a welcome dinner at a nearby restaurant. The food was nice but I think after one week of chinese food I'm ready for some Denny's or Flannigans, Chilly's, anything?  So far we have been briefed on our projects, and will give presentations on our research to date at FIU. Can't discuss the details of our projects due to confidentiality issues but I really like the research activities here in software testing.

Earlier this week  Bill Strachan from IBM USA paid us a visit. I must say even though I'd never met him befre, it felt like a familiar face from the U.S. was here in Beijing. I think things like that are definitely needed in a program like this to make the interns and students feel comfortable... Good Job IBM/PIRE/FIU/FAU!  And so concludes my blog entry, here's two pictures we just took outside of IBM CRL after work, so that everyone knows its not all fun and games here in Beijing (olympic pun intended) but we're loving it anyways.

Keywords: Chris, CRL, IBM, Jan, Kasturi, Lina, olympics, Paula, Tariq

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May 16, 2008

Arrived at Miami International Councourse J, United Airlines. After about half an hour fighting with the self check-in machine, still no sign of any of the other PIRE students... Now off to the currency exchange to purchase some Chinese Yuan.  All of the nearby currency exchange substations were closed so I had to walk from Concourse J to Concourse E to the main station...

The main station is open but the attendant posted a sign reporting that he would be back at 6:55, thank God for being early.. still plenty of time before the flight boards at 8:10AM.

The money is different... larger physical dimensions for the 100 Yuan bills, and smaller dimensions for the 50, 20, and 10. Peculiar that the same guy is on each of the bills, I guess he must be a very important chinese figure. Anyway my heart was at ease having some local currency and with some smaller denominations just in case no one has change for 100.

Breakfast time... stumbled on a hispanic coffee/sandwich place on my way back to Councourse J. Bought a turkey sandwich and sat to eat at the tables nearby... spotted Lina and her mom also getting something from the same place... so at least one other PIRE student is here, now off to the security checkpoint.

Usual drill through Miami Security - shoes off, laptop out of bag, belt, watch, loose change etc... line moved pretty quickly. At gate J10, I saw Jan waiting... asked him if he saw any other PIRE students but no luck there... I told him I saw lina and so now at least we have accounted for 3 of 6.

All of the others show up to join me and Jan at the gate. Lina is full of energy and excitement... while I'm still trying to recover from not sleeping the night before. Kasturi is also ready to sleep. Chris has packed everything under the sun... food, SD cards, clothes, etc.. We get a guy closeby to take a couple group pictures of us before we board.

We get split up on the plane.. seems like most people are in different seats, although I think two of the PIRE students got adjacent seats... turns out I'm sitting next to the guy we asked to take the pics... so he asks me if we're together on a business trip or for pleasure... seems like PIRE is a bit off both.

Arrived in Washington, and now off to find gate C3. At least the group is back together and so everyone is making jokes. Lina is still hyper, and starts with the chinese phrases... she taught me how to say "where is the bathroom?" but I forgot two minutes later. We stop so that some of the others can sign up to get miles from united airlines, and found a currency exchange to let Kasturi and Jan get some Chinese Yuan. Most of us now have the local currency so we're sure that we can all cover each other in case of any emergencies... it's good to have a group, eases the nerves ALOT.

Time to board the flight to Beijing... another split, I go on ahead of the others as I was in seating area 2... way at the right-back section of the aircraft (seat 57K), but a window seat no worries. A guy sits next to me and asks me if I would trade with his wife as they got split up, she's on a window seat as well so now I move 10 rows up to seat 47K. I see Lina, Chris, and Paula sitting together a couple rows ahead of me, and Jan by himself a few rows ahead of them to the left. I wonder where kasturi is sitting.  Before coming on-board I expected to find a plane full of chinese people... boy was I wrong, most of the passengers were caucasian... there were one or two black people beside myself but not many at all. They serve the first of two "lunches". Beef or Chicken was the choice, the food was good. Fell asleep so time is fuzzy here. I awoke when a movie was starting (apparently it was the second movie I had slept through the first). The movie "Jumper" was pretty good and it helped an hour or so pass.



Time to get up from this seat.. been too long sitting. I went up to pay Chris, Lina, and Paula a visit. Seems like they had the hook up with one of the flight attendants as they have more drinks and food than anyone else. We talk for a while and take a couple more photos. The flight attendant that was hooking them up, came and told us about what is good and not good to buy in China.


Still with Chris, Lina, and Paul but see kasturi by the flight attendant area of the plane getting some water. I go get her and bring her over to share in the wealth of food and drinks that the others are enjoying. We talk for a while and then go back to our seats.

Came here to write this entry for the blog while things are fresh in my memory, while watching a movie on my laptop... we should be in china in about 3 hours and 30 mins. Energy level is getting low so posts are becoming shorter...

2:25AM and 2:25PM in China
We're here... everyone waited outside the plane for us all to regroup and we headed for immigration... the immigration lines weren't bad.  The terminal we came through was brand new, first thing I noticed was that the immigration staff all looked young... we got processed pretty quickly with no problems, there was a little "rate my satisfaction button" by each immigration officer... I gave them the highest rating and moved on to the baggage area. Our bags took pretty long to show up on the conveyor belt, felt like a whole hour waiting there but I think we were so excited it didn't matter. Once the bags came we headed outside, and quickly found the Tsinghua students holding the sign "FIU/FAU PIRE STUDENTS".  They introduced themselves to us, and told us they had been waiting for us 2 hours.  On the outside we noticed a proliferation of cabs... literally looked like hundreds of cabs were outside... beijing is beautiful... very well developed, here we split into three different cabs and headed for the university. More to come........ but needless to say the cab ride was interesting... here's a pic of the group before we left for the flight, and some random airport pics in Miami and in Beijing.


Keywords: china, christopher, flight, jan, lina, paula, PIRE, tariq

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March 21, 2008

Supervisor’s Name and Title at FIU/FAU: 
Dr. Peter J. Clarke, Assistant Professor

Name of the PIRE International Partner’s Institution: 
IBM China Research Lab

Supervisor’s Name and Title at the PIRE International Partner’s Institution:
Jun Zhu, Research Staff Member and Manager, Service Building Technology

Project Title: 
Business Constraint Based Testing Generation

Problem Statement:
Test Planning is a very important step of the software testing process. How to develop an optimized test plan that can help identify as much problems as possible becomes a challenging problem under the assumption that the testing process actually comes with business constraints (resource, time, cost and etc).  In this joint study project, the above problem will be explored and an algorithm will be developed to study how critical test planning decisions should be made under a set of predefined business constraints (resource, time, cost and etc). The algorithm will help achieve the lowest level of risk after the test execution.

Motivation and Impact:   
Testing planning has been a long studied problem in academic area, while few usable technologies have been successfully developed and deployed to the commercial tools. This study will help us identify the key problem and point out future direction.

Current Status:
Tariq M. King, the FIU PIRE participant that will be involved in this project, has been working on developing dynamic test planning strategies for autonomic computing systems. Some preliminary investigations were conducted during the REU Summer 2007 program, related to planning test execution based on current resource utilization. 

Research Roadmap:
• Milestone1 / 2008-05-30 / Study report of academic & commercial products
• Milestone2 / 2008-06-30 / Develop of the storyboard & algorithms
• Milestone3 / 2008-07-30 / Experiment and paper writing

Relation to PIRE Core Research Projects:
This project fits into the PIRE theme “Autonomic Resource Management”.  The outlined problem involves developing an optimized plan given business constraints such as resources, time, and cost. Although the project will target test planning, the algorithms and results produced from this undertaking can be used to enhance autonomic planning and resource management.

Keywords: Constraints, Resource, Testing

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