Armonk Expo, day 1: Started with an early breakfast (delicious sausage and made-to-order omelettes). Our keynote speaker talked a good deal about the importance of innovation, ending with the memorable line "If you shoved radios up the birds asses, we'd have music in the sky." He kinda reminded me of Dr. Rodney Hill from TAMU.
The presentations were all decent, though I found Almaden's to be the most entertaining. The projects on the whole were mostly good, with the exception of the one that was supposed to be an improved recruiting tool for universities - the team explained things poorly, had no data to support their (broad) claims of improved efficiency, and all in all were entirely unconvincing. The worst part was the bit where they tried to show a graph of number of grad students vs. terms remaining. Heck, the grad students don't know when they're going to finish - don't pretend to have accurate data when you don't have any real data. RANT RANT RANT.
The rest of the projects, however, were pretty cool. The guys who implemented hot-data migration to SSD for btrfs worked all summer on GPL'd code that will hopefully get reviewed and merged into btrfs by 2.6.37, which is awesome (and so were their benchmarks). The project on Java runtime sharing (share JIT'd libraries! share JVM! decrease memory footprint and load times!) was also neat, and their mentor mentioned that he'd be going to Finland soon to pitch the IBM JVM for use on Nokia's MeeGo devices, which is cool. Clever hackers have already ported the IcedTea OpenJDK to the N900, but an open-source IBM Java stack probably wouldn't be bad either (Android uses the IBM class libraries with the Dalvik VM, and Nokia uses IBM Java on all their S60 line, so this is precedented).
Sam Palmisano (IBM's CEO) came to the demo showcase and visited five project teams. I took some HDR photos of Sam with the team that worked on a spherical display on my phone with FCamera. I need to composite them now. After Sam visited the five chosen projects, he gave a brief talk on how IBM has always been about tackling hard problems for the enterprise, bringing really smart people together, and integrity. After a few more photos, he was on his way out...but he stopped as he was leaving to shake my hand. Jeanie, the woman who was escorting him around the various project booths, introduced us and mentioned that I was an Extreme Blue intern last year, and that I'm starting my PhD program in the fall. He asked where, and I replied Berkeley, with a focus on HCI. He mentioned that he visited California recently, to which I replied "It's a beautiful place." Then he noted that he was right on the coast, in which case it was slightly more chilly. But it was super neat that he took a minute out of his day to talk to me, the random intern.
Later, Jeanie informed me that she told Sam the following as they walked away: "He's crazy smart, you know." I'm honored - the CEO of IBM might just think that I'm crazy smart.