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AHM 2008

I was pleased by our workshop on research opportunities this week. Our speakers met several people who were interested in their work and might contribute to taking it further. It's hard to measure the outcomes of these events, because the collaborations that we are aiming to catalyse may take months to firm up and then may take much longer to produce actual results, but the first impressions are positive.

Some of the networking happened outside the workshop itself, of course. That is the advantage of face-to-face meetings; sometimes all you need is to bring the right people together for the first few minutes. Also, you can follow serendipitous links, such as when a colleague pointed me at the workshop on declarative data centres that Microsoft Research Cambridge and HP Labs organised earlier this year. I think the UK is building a critical mass in data centre management and I hope this can be encouraged to the point where it becomes a viable industry.

Beyond our workshop, there was plenty of interest in the wider AHM conference. I chaired one "regular" session in which most of the papers were about the use of social networking tools and similar systems for supporting science teams and similar projects. There is a lot of potential here and several people are taking advantage of it.

One limitation of this year's event was simply the large number of parallel sessions, which meant that individual sessions were quite small and that you couldn't follow even half of what was going on. But I think this was offset by he bringing together of several different communities, which should bear fruit in later years.

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