Featured in Five is a monthly section where we pose five questions to a Computing Reviews featured reviewer. Here are the responses from our January featured reviewer, Neil Burgess (Fujitsu, Australia).
Q: What is the most important thing that's happened in computing in the past 10 years?
A: Two things come to mind; smartphones and service-oriented architecture (SOA). I think SOA is important because it has enabled the explosion of “in the cloud” offerings, but the smartphone is an even bigger game changer. It has changed end-user habits, established new development platforms, and generated a host of new issues for business.
Q: By the end of your career, where do you think computer science will have taken us? What are you working on that might contribute toward that?
A: The end of my career is probably not all that far away, but given the accelerating rate of change, there will no doubt be significant changes in the near future. I expect we will see a rise in connected devices (the Internet of Things). We will also see more utilisation of big data; that is something I am working on right now. Big data has some ethical challenges as well as technical ones, and we need to be mindful of those as we work.
Q: Who is your favorite historical figure? Why?
A: Mahatma Gandhi, no question. By inventing a new way of resisting oppression, he got the British out of India when armed struggle had failed. His philosophies are especially relevant today. We need to learn again that revenge, although satisfying to think about, just doesn’t work in practice.
Q: If you weren't working in the computer science field, what would you be doing instead?
A: I would probably be working in the beef industry, on a grazing property.
Q: What is your favorite type of music?
A: Country rock. Has been for years. The Eagles, Credence Clearwater, Taylor Swift.