Five minute interview: Savas Parastatidis

Savas ParastatidisWho are you?

Savas Parastatidis. Until two months ago I worked for Microsoft research in the external research group and now I’m with Microsoft Live Search as an architect.

What are your areas of interest?

Distributed high performance computing. Web services, cloud computing, e-science, scholarly communications, repositories and my primary interest these days is semantic computing. I also travel a lot, and like skiing, music, festivals, and salsa dancing.

What idea are you working on here?

Coming from Microsoft, we usually don’t participate in this kind of competition. So I’m here to give a tutorial on the repository system that Microsoft has built, codename Famulus, which will be released soon as open source.

What’s the major challenge in education software right now?

Ease of use, stability and interoperability. I believe that, especially in institutional repository spaces, as the use of repositories expands and becomes more pervasive, users would like to see better interoperability with client tools and other repository systems. Those who are responsible for deploying repository systems would probably like to see better support for enterprise grade infrastructure which is the reason why Microsoft research has been investigating open source repository systems.

What are the most exciting developments in education software?

I don’t follow that space that closely. But, within semantic computing, doing it on a large scale like Google and Microsoft can and mine the entire web and give you instant answers to key words that you search, the next step is for the same engines, the same companies, to answer your questions in an intelligent way, for information to be pushed to users rather than them having to search for it. We need to build the infrastructure to do that.

What have you learnt so far / interesting things have you heard?

This is my first day, I’ve just arrived! But I’ve been to other events that David has organised and I love them. I love the informal nature of them and that you find people with a specific interest – developers – people who love what they do, you have to love that.

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