Sunday, March 2, 2014

On building bad (and good) research centers

I am sitting at my new office, where my task is to construct the "Technological Empowerment Institute".
My YVC colleague Rachel Or-Bach attracted my attention to an article in the current issue of CACM entitled "how to build a bad research centers".  The author David Patterson from UC Berkeley provides first the negative side --- how to build a bad research center, and then turning to the reverse of each premise, building the positive side.   His advises for the good side are:

Good Commandment 1. Thou shalt mix disciplines in a center.

Good Commandment 2. Thou shalt limit the expanse of a center.

Good Commandment 3. Thou shalt limit the duration of a center. 

Good Commandment 4. Thou shalt build a centerwide prototype

Good Commandment 5. Thou shalt disturb thy neighbors.

Good Commandment 6. Thou shalt talk to strangers.

Good Commandment 7. Thou shalt find a leader.

Good Commandment 8. Thou shalt honor impact.

Some advices to take under consideration.  I do believe in mixing disciplines, though its means also mixing cultures which is not always easy.   Focus, and short to medium range targets are also key properties.   
Last but not least, I also believe in tangible impact,  beyond publications, while the impact criteria should be well-defined.  

More about our own activity - later.   

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