PhD on Rails: An Introduction to the Metadata Cascade

Sam Aaron, Newcastle University

Date: Wednesday 19 September 2007
Time: 17:05 - 17:50
Location: Saal Maritim B

A Brief Introduction to Interest Management

Interest management is emerging as an important field in computing. Given the potentially huge sets of material contemporary information and communications technologies make available to us, how do we create smaller, more easily consumed, sets of things we are interested in? This problem is brought into focus when we consider that there are currently more blog posts available than you could read in a lifetime.

The presentation will introduce the results of Sam Aaron's PhD research into creating a metadata cascade system -- a filter-based approach to managing interest. The primary focus of the research was on applying this system within virtual environments, but the underlying principles make the ideas equally applicable to the filtering of RSS feeds, emails, spatial information, etc.

From Java to Rails

As part of the research, Aaron migrated from a Java/VRML implementation of the metadata cascade to a hybrid consisting of a VRML browser, a Java CLI, and a set of Ruby libraries, all controlled via a Rails application. The presentation will cover the motivations for this change, the process of migration, and the benefits gained. The research gives examples of the real-world application of a variety of Ruby/Rails tools and libraries, including Rspec, ActiveRecord, open3, database migrations, and the use of DSLs (domain specific languages).

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