The KIT ─ Knowledge & Information Technology
Issue No. 61 - 1 December 2011
In This Issue
The Real iGeology
Knowledge Architecture
Proteins and Computers
Gartner Criticizes Vendors
Seen Recently
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Will the Real iGeology Please Stand Up?

In the last issue, I thought I was being clever by making up the title "iGeology" for an Android application developed at Lafayette College in Easton, Penn., that allows geologists to combine field notes, GPS location and videos taken during field trips. It turns out, as noted by observant reader Nigel Cooke, that iGeology is an actual application (with a different but related purpose) from the British Geological Survey. It runs on the iPhone, iPad, and Android devices.  


The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), the leading society for people in the IT and software professions, just announced a new Special Interest Group (SIG) on High Performance Computing. The mission of  SIGHPC is "to help spread the use of HPC, raise the standards of the profession, and ensure a rich and rewarding career for people involved in the field." The SIG's Chair is Cherri Pancake, professor at Oregon State University. The only critical comment one can make about this is: what took them so long? 

Toward a Knowledge Architecture

This is the title of a November 15 Cutter Advisor by Claude Baudoin. The multiplicity of knowledge repositories and knowledge-related projects in larger organizations, and the conversations that arise when people adopt a taxonomy-based approach to the organization of their knowledge systems, imply that an architectural framework is now emerging for KM, similar to what Enterprise Architecture (EA) has done for traditional information systems.

Proteins and Computers

You may know that understanding the complex 3D configuration of proteins, which holds the clue to biological mysteries and medical advances, the "protein folding" problem, is even more complex than genome sequencing. A short computer animation from Stanford University shows how a protein goes through convoluted motions to find its stable configuration.


Protein folding has become an online game, FoldIt. In September, a scientific journal reported that FoldIt players had solved in ten days the 3D structure of an enzyme used by a virus that causes AIDS in monkeys. This potentially important result had eluded researchers for ten years.

Surprise, surprise...? reports with some fanfare the analysis by Dennis Gaughan of Gartner, who recently talked about "What Microsoft, Oracle, IBM, and SAP Don't Tell Customers." In fact, it should not be news to many of us that:

  • "Microsoft mainly wants to protect Windows and Office
  • Oracle products don't really work well together 
  • IBM wants to take over your IT strategy
  • SAP confuses customers with pricing"

The real novelty is Gartner being openly critical of the vendors that pay them big money. Gartner always claimed that the size of their vendor subscriptions did not bias their judgment... and we always politely agreed and privately remained incredulous. If this is a move to prove their independence, that's good... but then please tell us something we don't know. 

Seen Recently...

"I may be a dumb computer, but not so daft as some programmers."

-- Toni Bowers, "A Gallery of Goofy Error Messages"