March 24, 2015

Ten years as an academic scientist: preamble of my HdR

Here is the preamble of my HdR, which I will defend on April the 7th 2015 at Rennes.

I defended my PhD thesis ten years ago. At that time, my research domains included peer-to-peer systems, mobile ad-hoc networks and large-scale virtual worlds. Today, these topics hardly get any attention from the academic world. Although most papers published in the early 2000s advocated that centralized systems would never scale, today's most popular services, which are used by billions of users, rely on a centralized architecture powered by data-centers. In the meantime, the open virtual worlds based on 3D graphical representation (e.g. Second Life) fell short of users while social networks based on static text-based web pages (e.g. Twitter and Facebook) have exploded. I do not want to blame myself for having worked in areas that have not proved to be as critical as they were supposed to be. Instead, I would like to emphasize that I work in an ever-changing area, which is highly sensitive to the development of new technologies (e.g. big data middleware), of new hardware (e.g. smartphone), and of new social trends (e.g. user-generated content).

I envy the scientists who are able to precisely describe a multi-year research plan, and to stick to it. I am not one of them. But I am not ashamed to admit that my research activity is mostly driven by short-term intuition and opportunities and that the process of academic funding directly impacts my work. Indeed, despite all of the above, I have built a research work, which I retrospectively find consistent. And more importantly, I have been relatively successful in advising PhD students and managing post-docs, all of them having become better scientists to some extents.

In very short, I have developed during the past ten years a more solid expertise in (i) theoretical aspects of optimization algorithms, (ii) multimedia streaming, and (iii) Internet architecture. I have applied these triple expertise to a specific set of applications: massive multimedia interactive services. I provide in this manuscript an overview of the activities that have been developed under my lead since 2006. It is a subset of selected studies, which are in my opinion the most representative of my core activity.

I hope you will have as much fun reading this document as I had writing it.

No comments:

Post a Comment