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1. your name:

Caleb Phillips

2. the intended topic area for your PhD:

Systems, Wireless Networking

3. most important reason for you personally to get a PhD

Opportunity to learn lots of new things.

4. name three computer scientist which YOU consider most important for the field and what you consider their contribution

I assume you mean computer science in general, and not my research sub-field.

4.1. Alan Turing.
4.2. John von Neumann.
4.3. Edsger Dijkstra.

5. name the three most important, professionally relevant books which you have read

I guess I don't read many books about computer science (textbooks, papers, and journals, of course, but I don't think
that's what you mean). So, a couple of these are a bit philosophical, I do think however that they are professionally
relevant for me (if nothing else than for perspective).

5.1. Modern Operating Systems by Tannenbaum.
5.2. On The Geneology of Morals by Freidrich Nietzsche
5.3. Better Off by Eric Brende

6. assuming you will collaborate with researchers and explore ideas outside of CS during your PhD studies which domains are the most likely candidates for this effort

6.1. Algorithms and Complexity Analysis
6.2. Artificial Intelligence (kind of blends with 6.1, I suppose)
6.3. Security

7. briefly characterize your own digital literacy:

7.1. which programming languages do you know (mention them in an order of decreasing familiarity)

Ruby, PHP, Perl, C, C++, Java, Javascript, Matlab, Bash and friends, Haskell, Assembler (x86 and sparc), Pascal, Nickel, Python

7.2. describe the top three projects (problem, programming language used, for what) which you have done in the past

I'm not sure how you mean "top". Most recent? Biggest? Most important to me? Most important to other people?

WriteIdea ( is a software suite that I wrote with a few other students at Portland State University as part of
a senior "capstone" project. It is a set of programs that collaborate to help a user simplify complex text so that
it is easier to read (primarily for people with cognitive disabilities). It has two different front-ends, one written in Java
and one written in Ruby (using Ruby on Rails). The backend is written mostly in Ruby.

Saponified ( is a software project I wrote
for fun with a friend. It is chess server written in C which uses SOAP to communicate with clients (players). The
example client is written in Ruby.

WiCap-PHP ( is a captive-portal that I wrote for OpenBSD (at the time
there were no other working captive portals for OpenBSD). It is written in C with some PHP. It is used on wireless networks
to restrict users until they agree to some terms. It is small and fast and intended to be run on embedded systems.

7.3. which are the top three applications that you are familiar with (e.g. Photoshop, Canvas, Dreamweaver, iMovie, .)?

Bash (often over SSH)
Mozilla Firefox

8. List your three favorite topics that you would like to see discussed in this course!

8.1. CU-Specific Logistics, Processes, and Resources for Ph.D. Students..
8.2. General Requirements and Expectations for Ph.D. Students..
8.3. Introduction to active research areas at CU..

Last modified 29 August 2007 at 3:40 pm by caleb