Friday, May 4, 2018

Updates

Over the past year or so it had become clear that I was probably never going to return to my previous research in High Performance Computing. I was not willing to apply to just any organization I did not feel confident contributing real value to, and those I had thought I would fit in did not share my belief.

The gulf slowly widened to the point where there was no reasonable path back. As an independent scholar I had no reasonable access to high performance facilities, and limited access to new literature. HPC researchers currently have no active interest in supporting a culture of access to literature through open pre-prints, nor open science publications. I was then forced to recuse myself from peer-reviewing literature from my former field of study. My attempts to retain access by asking my former advisor for an assist, ended up in a silent rejection and hence another dead-end.

My engineering skill-sets carried over from working in the HPC environment were too dispersed for me to feel comfortable applying to mainstream tech companies and organizations. And so over this time period, I have had to slowly re-tool and find a new path I was comfortable with. This has managed to happen through my engagement with the OpenWorm organization. Through patience on the part of that community of scientists, engineers, and enthusiasts; I had found acceptance, appreciation, and a way to structure my time as a regular "work week." From a position of little domain knowledge, I had managed to become comfortable enough with developing in the web and python environments to help produce a database tool for worm movement data (Repo: https://github.com/openworm/movement_cloud.)

So I find myself easing my way out of a very dark chapter of my life, and I'm making some minor changes to this site to reflect this. I have found a new community in Neuroscience and Biology and while I have no formal training in those fields, I consider myself a trained-enough scientist and engineer to make a go at understanding and contributing to these fields. I am removing any references to aspirations of ever returning to my old field of study, and retaining only a historical record of my prior interests. The skill-sets may still come in handy in the future (e.g. building and running tools for some computational neuroscience work,) but attempting to conduct any sort of reasonable research in HPC especially where scaling/scalability is concerned will be a fool's errand on my part.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Open Science Blog

As a result of incidental recent activity with OpenWorm, I found myself with a Tumblr account with nothing in it. After some thought of writing material related to OpenWorm and open science under my blog for technical content, it occurred to me that I could simply dedicate my Tumblr account to such content.

As such, I welcome you to come visit that blog at http://cheewai1972.tumblr.com/

I also do have plans to slowly step up activity on my other blogs again. It just has been difficult without a workflow that makes me document activity in a systematic and structured way. I would like my content to generally have some sort of coherent use to people who happen to stumble on what I write.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

The OpenWorm Project

Over the past 4 months or so, I made a decision to reach out to the OpenWorm Project and volunteer my time to work with the group. It was an attempt to restore some structure and purpose to my life, and for a while I had not been comfortable announcing this until I was sure I could commit and contribute to the group's work. Well now I am.

I intend to blog a little more about this from various perspectives in the months to come - personal thoughts on volunteering professional time and my experiences and perspectives; my thoughts on the technical aspects of the process of Open Science collaborations; and any scientific notes, thoughts, and questions that are generated from my experiences.

I would like to think of this chapter in my life as "rehabilitation." It is a way I could do something useful and productive with my time and skills, and as a means to convince myself and perhaps eventually future potential employers that my skills are worth something to someone.