Alabama Academy of Science Annual Meeting

Tonight I am attending the executive committee meeting of the Alabama Academy of Science, where I am the editor for electronic media (i.e., I am in charge of the organization website). Tomorrow I will be chairing the Engineering and Computer Science presentations at the University of West Alabama in Livingston, Alabama. I did not submit a presentation this year, but I am looking forward to the six presentations from researchers across the state. The list of presentations is copied below and available on the Alabama Academy of Science website in the final program.

  • A method for semantics-based conceptual expansion of ontology. Liping Zhou, Dezheng Zhang, Xin Chen, and Chengcui Zhang, University of Alabama at Birmingham.
  • Design and fabrication of a research flight simulator. Harold Zallen, and James J. Baird, Jr., Joint Research Project with Malone Group International and Auburn University.
  • Extracting coexpression relations between genes using grammatical parsing. Richa Tiwari, University of Alabama at Birmingham.
  • Jibu: a tool for efficient and reliable concurrent programming. Srinivasarao Krishnaprasad, Jacksonville State University.
  • Kinematic structure and evolution of the 9 march 2006 Mississippi/Alabama bow echo. Calvin M Elkins, University of Alabama in Huntsville.
  • Metamodel recovery system using grammar inference. Qichao Liu, University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Sun Microsystems VirtualBox

Wow – Sun microsystems has been busy – discreetly releasing and/or acquiring all kinds of important open source software projects. The banner of logos shown above just about summarizes it.

Today I discovered VirtualBox while working on a cluster computing project. VirtualBox isn’t directly related to cluster computing, but it can be used to run multiple compute nodes for testing. VirtualBox is an open-source equivalent to VMWare’s popular VMWare Workstation product. With the performance of today’s hardware, the ability to run multiple operating systems simultaneously on a single machine is becoming a reality for more and more people.

The basic idea is that by installing VirtualBox you install an application and a small set of services that allow you to create virtual machines for running an entirely different operating system in a window on your host operating system. I have just completed an install of the latest version of the Debian OS into a virtual machine. The entire process (including the several hundred megabyte download) took less than one hour to complete. Now I can boot up a Linux operating system whenever I want to run an application only available in Linux ( e.g., Kmines 🙂 ).

The screenshots below give you a glimpse into how it works. The first screenshot shows the virtual machine configuration options, which represents everything you would find on a real machine. The second shows Linux running in a window on my Windows Vista host operating system.

VirtualBox configuration options for my Debian Linux virtual machine Debian Linux running in a virtual machine powered by VirtualBox