Ausgewählter Nerdkram von Informatikstudenten der Uni Ulm

Interview: Juniorprof. Dr. Birte Glimm

This time the interview is with Birte Glimm, who is a junior professor at the University of Ulm since July 2011. Her research focus lies in knowledge representation and automated reasoning. In the last semesters she has given lectures in algorithms for knowledge representation and semantic web.

At the OpenCityCamp, a Barcamp centered around OpenData that took place a week ago here at the university, she gave an introduction on linked open data. This is quite fitting, since she is a member of the W3C SPARQL Working Group.

Who are you and what do you do?
I am a junior professor at the University of Ulm, where I work at the institute of artificial intelligence.

Which software or programs do you use most frequently?
I use Aquamacs to write publications, lecture notes, etc., so that’s one of my most frequently used programs. For viewing PDFs, I use Skim, which I prefer over Acrobat on the Mac. Apart from that I of course frequently use a browser (mostly Firefox) and I would definitely miss Eclipse and my terminal (shell).

Why did you decide to use your particular operating system(s) of choice?
Software on Mac OS works quite nicely for what I have to do and I like the overall look of Mac OS. It’s also easy to handle and installing programs is hardly ever a pain. I work on the Mac for some years now, so my memories of Windows are a bit outdated, but as far as I remember Windows frequently asked me questions that I didn’t want to answer (like whether I want to remove unused symbols from my desktop, which I don’t) and it was less smooth to use. All in all, I am happier with Mac OS. I never really used Linux/UNIX at least not for my personal computer.

In what manner do you communicate online?
I use email, Skype, IRC and sometimes special online meeting software (XMeeting or Webex). Email is by far the most used of those, but Skype is useful for collaborating with people in different locations or for just calling friends. I use IRC only for W3C telephone conferences, where an IRC bot manages the call participants and where we keep minutes in IRC.

Which folders can be found in your home directory?
Desktop, Documents, Downloads, Dropbox, Movies, Music, ontologies, Pictures, Public and Temp.

Which paper or literature has had the most impact on you?
Hm, it’s rather people who had an impact than papers or literature. I have also read so many papers that there is not a single one that had a big impact, but they all contributed a bit to my work or to my understanding of the things I work on.

What has had the greatest positive influence on your efficiency?
Not working at home. If I work in the office, I get less distracted and find it easier to just work.

How do you approach the development of a new project?
I scribble with pen and paper.

In your opinion, which piece of software should be rewritten from scratch?
That is a tough question as most software I use works quite well. I would probably rather rewrite some parts of a software. For example in the OWL Editor Protege I would spend some time on rewriting the part that interacts with the reasoner. This is probaly because I am implementing a reasoner that is used as a plugin in Protege and I see how the communication between Protege and the reasoner is sometimes not ideal.

What would your ideal setup look like?
If it doesn’t have to be real, I would want a MacBook Air with lots of memory and a big SSD plus a nice external screen.

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