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Chris De Vries
Works at CeleraOne
Attended Queensland University of Technology
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Chris De Vries

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I had a late birthday present arrive. The paper titled 'Parallel Streaming Signature EM-tree: A Clustering Algorithm for Web Scale Applications' I co-authored with Lance, Shlomo and Richi was accepted at WWW 2015 (http://www.www2015.it/). This is the #1 international conference for all things World Wide Web related. I couldn't think of a better venue for it to be published. I am really amazed after receiving a nomination for an outstanding Ph.D and I am humbled by having this paper that continued my Ph.D research accepted at such a great venue.
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Chris De Vries

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It is finally official. You can now call me Dr Chris. I received official notification of the award of my PhD from QUT. It is awesome to be done and my thesis is already online! http://eprints.qut.edu.au/75862/
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Congrats!
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Amazing sidewalk succulent on a street in Oakland.
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My PhD reviews are back and I was nominated for an outstanding thesis award. Very happy :)
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Good job man :-)
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I wrote a long piece on LinkedIn reflecting on Steven Brill's excellent Time Magazine cover story "Code Red_", about the rescue of healthcare.gov by a small team of volunteer techies from Silicon Valley. My conclusions:   

Hats off to the rescue team.  They did a great service, while also demonstrating that yes, a small team with the right skills can do more than disorganized, mismanaged teams of contractors charging the government hundreds of millions of dollars.  But if we think that bringing Silicon Valley to the rescue is that simple, we're missing the big opportunity, which is to change the way we design and manage these projects. 

The lesson of the Code Red exercise wasn't that you can just sprinkle some Silicon Valley fairy dust and go back to business as usual.  The "emergency measures" of the rescue need to lead us to a profound rethinking of how government creates IT projects.

At the same time, this is a long process, and we do need folks from Silicon Valley (and other tech hubs) to engage with it.  There's a lot to fix, and now is the time!
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ClusterEval 1.0 has been released today. Read more in my blog post at http://chris.de-vries.id.au/2013/06/clustereval-10-release.html.
Today I have released ClusterEval 1.0. This program compares a clustering to a ground truth set of categories according to multiple different measures. It also includes a novel approach called 'Divergence from a Random Baseli...
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"Horrifying clown statue deep in the woods" http://feedly.com/k/ZvE6oW
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Chris De Vries

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K-tree website updated, http://ktree.sf.net. A paper has been accepted!
The ClueWeb09 and ClueWeb12 document collections are some of the largest document collections used for research. They contain 500 million and 733 million English language documents respectively. The Streaming EM-tree algorithm using binary document vectors produced by TopSig has been used to ...
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Colourful sunset in Berlin.
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An interesting read. Driving cars makes people unhappy.

"cyclists report feeling connected to the world around them in a way that is simply not possible in the sealed environment of a car, bus or train. Their journeys are both sensual and kinesthetic."

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/nov/01/secrets-worlds-happiest-cities-commute-property-prices
What makes a city a great place to live – your commute, property prices or good conversation? Charles Montgomery finds out
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Mmm. Cloud internet.
 
Release the Google Internet Balloons! Photos and video! 

See the Full article with all the pretty pictures on blog at:  http://www.stuckincustoms.com/2013/06/14/google-internet-balloons/ 
See the YouTube video at:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t9ULgTdPuks 

4 AM, a week ago:
I get a strange email from Google.  Just sign the paperwork they say.  We can't tell you anything.  I sign, assuming it's gotta be cool with an approach like that.

Fast Forward One Week
Next thing I knew, I was up in a helicopter over Tekapo, New Zealand, sitting by Steven Levy from Wired magazine tracking balloons as they headed for the stratosphere. I was just a few hours north of my home in Queenstown, so I was excited to check out this secret Google X project right in my own backyard!

So, here's the whole story.  I'll start with a video I shot with Google Glass that shows some of the behind-the-scenes: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t9ULgTdPuks  

(Note, here is the Longer Video linked therein that has a lot of the tech talk and geeky stuff if you want to know more.]

So, what's the reason for all this?  Well, there are billions of people on Earth without internet.  Billions!  What's a crazy (loon-y) idea to get them internet?  Step in Project Loon from Google X and Rich DeVaul.

New Zealand was a perfect test bed because even though we have only 4 million people, 1 million of us don't even have internet.  Or, if we have it, it's crazy-expensive.  We even visited one farmer (Charles) who said that he had to pay $1400 for ONE month of satellite-internet.  Crazy! 

So, imagine a network, a mesh of balloons that spin around the earth, effortlessly handing off internet from one balloon to the next, just like the way you hand off phone service from one tower to the next as you drive.  You can see more about the tech on Google's Project Loon site at http://www.google.com/loon .

Anyhoo, I was invited along to take photos.  Google was nice enough to even officially license a few photos (thanks!). No, they didn't pay me to write a nice article.  I'm just kind of a Google fan.  Stephen Levy and Wired liked some of the more special photos too, so you can see even more in Stephen's article Wired magazine - http://www.wired.com/ .  Man, he's a cool guy.  You really get to know a dude when you're ripping through the New Zealand mountains with these crazy Kiwi pilots!

After watching the flawless launch on a chilly morning, we ended up taking a chopper to a remote farm.  There were a lot of choppers.  It was kind of like Apocalypse Google Now.

We landed and jumped off to go try out the internet.  Again, flawless.  I can only assume they had a few failed tests beforehand… they must have been working on this for a long time.  But man, it was smooth.  The family was super excited.  They were on www.Trademe.co.nz , which is the eBay of New Zealand.  The husband was looking for a new truck… his wife was not thrilled.

At lunch, the creator of the project, Rich DeVaul, told us a funny story.  I don't even know if I can repeat it, but I will.  It seems innocuous enough.  BTW, I'm not a real journalist or anything.  I'm just a guy that takes photos and likes stories.

[Queue Radiolab soundeffects] Rich is tearing down a highway in central California.  He's in his own car.  There are other Google people in there, and they are peering upwards and out the window like tornado chasers.  They have radio antennae, laptops, and all kinds of crazy Google equipment as they try to track a balloon.  At some point, they overload his alternator and they come to an unceremonious stop.  They are stranded.

Rich has to call his wife to pick them up.  She's been in the dark for years about this project, and he hasn't told her anything.  She drives hours and hours to pick them up.  He fills up her car with nerds and equipment and they sit there silently, ignoring the Fringe/X-Files nonsense that is happening in the backseat.  His lips form a line as he looks side to side innocently.  I'm not sure if that look actually happened, but it probably did.

I heard she's here at this press conference that's happening right now in Christchurch.  So now she knows everything; She's probably quite proud of him!

And, by the way, if you are here in New Zealand in Christchurch, come see me at the Festival of Flight at the Air Force Museum on Sunday! The Project Loon event is from 10am-2pm on Sunday June 16th.  There will be a lot about balloon science and stuff like that… bring the family! Here's a map:   http://goo.gl/xJ81W  

Anyway, hats off to all the engineers and team members.  It's a cool project.  It's all quite early, of course, but if they can keep iterating, it will be a really cool option to get internet everywhere.  I can see remote villages in Africa having one of those red-ballooned antennas.  I can see it forcing competitive local internet services in SE Asia to provide cheaper service and no data caps (the same way Google Fiber is disrupting competitive services).  I can see myself putting one of those antenna on my truck so I have internet no matter where I travel in New Zealand to take photos.  Man, I can't wait!

A Photo-Essay of the launch
You can click through the photos in the album below to see more!  #HolyKaw

Photo Below: The Internet floats over New Zealand. Another Google Loon Balloon makes its way towards the stratosphere, spreading internet like ambrosia dripping from Mount Olympus.
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Have him in circles
110 people
Daniel Nadasi's profile photo
Joanna Bajor's profile photo
Gowri Shanmugan's profile photo
Steve Taylor's profile photo
Jaap Kamps's profile photo
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Work
Occupation
Software Engineer
Employment
  • CeleraOne
    Software Engineer, 2014 - present
  • Queensland University of Technology
    Tutor for Systems Programming Subject, 2008 - 2011
  • Altech
    Network Administrator, Technician, 2002 - 2004
  • Chris De Vries
    Network Administration Contractor, 2004 - 2005
  • JK Tech
    Software Engineer, 2005 - 2007
  • Google
    Software Engineering Intern, 2007 - 2008
  • Marcom Projects
    Network Administration Contractor, 2002 - 2005
Basic Information
Gender
Male
Other names
Christopher M. De Vries
Story
Tagline
Software Engineer
Introduction
Cyclist, Sign Spotter, and, Science and Technology Enthusiast.
Bragging rights
Wrote a PhD thesis for fun and profit.
Education
  • Queensland University of Technology
    Computer Science, Software Engineering, Data Communications, 2004 - 2014
    BIT (software engineering and data communications with distinction), MIT (research), Ph.D. (computer science)