Saturday, November 10, 2012

On IBM scientific accomplishment

This week, the annual accomplishment process of the IBM Research Division was concluded. This is a process that recognizes major impact activities in various categories: scientific, contribution to IBM products, contribution to IBM services, contribution to standards and some more.  

Within this year's process, our work on the event processing conceptual model has been recognized as a scientific accomplishments.  The criteria are: number of citations (according to Google Scholar) and support letter from senior members of the scientific community in this specific area. 

It is interesting to note that the major publication referred was the book I have written together with Peter Niblett, "Event Processing in Action".

 The interesting fact is that the book was not written as a research oriented book, but was geared towards the professional market,  yet it accumulated so far 153 citations, with the number steadily growing (when the process started the number was around 130).  

Drilling down to the citations list it is also interesting to observe that while some of the citing papers belong to the event processing community, many others come from different domains and implemented systems in the areas of power management in mobile devices from Finland, rotor-craft control from Brazil, as well as others that indicate that the material in the book had some practical impact in additional to the impact on the scientific community, which is also important, as science is being built in layers.

I have been out of the research work for about 10 years, where I kept research activity in the back sit, mainly through supervising  PhD and MSc students at the Technion.  The major project I was involved in the years 1998-2005 (AMIT), has a single major publication that is actually the summary of the PhD dissertation of Asaf Adi  (this paper also accumulated nice number of citations). 

The question whether citation number is a good metric - is another discussion, for me the actual impact (those using the work in practice) is also an encourging indication that the work is not done in vain -- more later