So, one of the topics that has come up from time to time concerns so-called Blue-sky research versus applied research. The image of a blue sky research project is one of a researcher or small group of researchers having fun dreaming up some cool technology but with no relation to the real world. I have always been a little uncomfortable with this distinction. The reasons are two-fold: in my experience, the time-scales associated with a project bear no direct relation to whether the research is 'blue sky' or 'applied'; secondly the actual work done in a research project may be incremental or grand in both blue sky and applied. (In fact, given the general reluctance of people to fund blue sky research, they tend to be smaller and less grand than applied projects.) So, here is a different, more grounded distinction that, I believe, is more authentic: Bottom-up versus top-down research. Bottom-up means, of course, exploring from what you have and seeing if there are any ser
A sporadic series of essays on things that interest me. Mostly about programming in one form or another.