Monday, July 19, 2010

Professor in Italy

Recently I became a full professor of Computer Science in Italy. I had been a mathematician at the University of Sydney in Australia, and when I moved to Italy I had no plans for an academic career here, but the opportunity arose.

However just as I reached this pinnacle it seems that the Italian university sytem is falling into deep crisis. I will quote two sentences from a report in Nature.
"Science teaching in Italian universities could be crippled if tens of thousands of junior staff make good on threats to strike later this year. The 'ricercatori' (researchers) are protesting harsh university budget cuts and a looming reform bill, which threaten their futures."
"If these changes don't happen, and the ricercatori carry out their threat to strike, universities may find themselves unable to open for teaching in September."

If you read the comments to the article you will see that the situation is very complicated.

Italy has all the advantages and disadvantages of being a very interesting place to live.


Tuesday, July 06, 2010


It is now more than a year since I began regularly posting to this blog. I see that I actually started the blog in 2005 with some irregular posting and I had done blog-like posts before when I was in Sydney. The motivation, I have to admit, has been principally objections to things, though I have tried not to seem too negative.

The posts in 2005 were about what seemed to me to be an error in Andy Tannenbaum's book on operating systems. I wrote to him several times over several years but couldn't get an answer from him, so I wrote a post. I still haven't managed to get anyone to agree or disagree with my comment (not just to the post but in conversation, in lectures etc) so that post didn't resolve anything.

Another series of posts, from which however I learnt a great deal, were a result of my dissatisfaction with process algebras.

However the main energy behind this blog has been the struggles at the University of Insubria, including the closure of our course in Informatica at Como. I was so distressed by the misinformation occurring in some local newspapers that I needed an outlet.

I have tried always to be diplomatic in the blog, not saying saying anything too explicitly to avoid upsetting anyone. This seems to have worked, although I did overstep the bounds once it seems.

Although the energy has come from rants, I feel now that there is some kind of conversation going on, with few people maybe, but also with other blogs, and I enjoy it.

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