Blog of Joos Buijs

About personal things, process mining and the rest in life.

Archive for the ‘Personal’ Category

Reflecting on my first month ‘out of academia’

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Yes, it has been one month already that I’m working outside of academia.

When telling everyone I decided to leave academia in January (in my previous blog post, but also on LinkedIn and of course in a lot of personal conversations), I could not imagine what life outside of the university ‘walls’ would be like. What I did realize is that a lot of people found this decision ‘brave’ or ‘the best choice’, even if they decided to stay in academia. However, I still did not know if this was true, but was looking forward to find out. I also felt strengthened by the talks and replies I had. So thanks to all who interacted with me. And I hope I have helped a few of you a bit further in your thinking as well. This is also the reason for this blog post: to give some follow-up on announcing the big decision. I do now one after 1 month, but plan to do more in the future (maybe at 3, 6, 9 and 12 months?).

What I was looking for
When leaving academia a month ago I was looking for a better connection to ‘the business’ in order to increase my impact. At the same time I would like to still do process mining, and ideally also be allowed some freedom in pursuing ‘research’ questions.

What I found at APG
During my first days at APG (‘Algemene Pensioen Groep’, which manages the pensions, including financial assets of 474 billion Euro, customer service, etc., of several pension funds) I already realized I indeed arrived in a ‘candy shop’: Read the rest of this entry »

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Written by Joos Buijs

March 2, 2018 at 16:05

Posted in Personal

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I (finally) decided to leave academia, here’s why

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It was not an easy decision, but my upcoming tenure meeting triggered me to decide, and the final decision was to leave academia. In this blog post I try to explain why finally I came to this decision after months of doubt.

The trigger

I looked at the tenure meeting as a marriage proposal: the university is in essence asking me to stay with them forever and ever. However, first ‘they’ (the tenure committee) evaluates whether they really want me to stay forever by looking at my research output, teaching quality, etc. etc. If I would accept the tenure proposal, I would in essence have a ‘job for life’. This provides great stability, both personally and professionally, to really work on my personal career. However, this assumes that you stay in academia for a while, building your own profile, career and research line.

The reasons

I started looking at energy gainers and drainers, and I realized I gained energy from doing data analysis myself. However, in my day-to-day work I was mainly involved in helping fellow researchers obtain funding (in my role as research program manager at the Data Science Center), helping PhD and master students execute their research and projects, and to setup and run courses both online as well as in the master program. I realized I really wanted to do what my PhD and master students were doing: digging into data and finding answers (and more questions). However, in research, you’re always developing hammers (tools, techniques), for which you are looking for nails to use them on. And sometimes you pretend a screw was also a nail for your tool. You are generally not really concerned whether you were answering the business question, your main aim is to gather evidence for your paper or thesis. In the end, it felt too much of creating and then solving puzzles for my own satisfaction.

Secondly, and probably even more important, I do not know of any colleague that is spending <50 hours a week on this job. This is not a bad thing, if you do what you love this comes natural. But for me it is time to do as I say, and really show that “I’m married to my wife, not my boss”. I realized family time was really suffering, and even if I was having a good time in the evening/weekends I could not always enjoy it as much as I wanted to.

What I’ll miss

Of course I’m also leaving a lot of cool stuff behind. I’ll miss the stimulating and challenging environment, the many young students and PhDs in our group each with different personalities, the cutting-edge research we do and the many industry contacts we have. This might sound a bit contra-dictionary to what I mentioned above, but it’s all true. I’ll also miss the transition in which both the Data Science Center and our research group are currently after Wil van der Aalst left to Aachen. I’ll also miss the MOOCs I’m running and the nice contact with the people following them, etc. etc.

What I’m looking forward to

I’m looking forward to start my new job as senior data scientist at APG (a large Dutch pension fund). I’m looking forward to finding the right tools for the nail at hand, to work in a team towards an answer, and to keep learning. I’m also looking forward to stay in touch with my current colleagues, and possibly even start new collaborations from my new position.

Written by Joos Buijs

January 3, 2018 at 13:08

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A reply on “Some thoughts on Generalization”

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Last week, Dirk Fahland posted an interesting article on his blog about the generalization quality dimension in process mining (/process discovery). Since this is one of the topics I touched during my PhD research I just have to reply because I have a slightly different view, and I have the feeling that two concepts are mixed in the discussion. Unfortunately, this could not be done in a comment to the original post…

Dirk discusses the problem of the confidence one can have in a discovered process model, given an event log. A very related question is “have we seen enough traces”? These are all valid questions that we currently can not confidently answer (i.e. it is ongoing research).

Before I can explain why my view slightly differs, let me first explain our view on the quality dimensions in process discovery.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joos Buijs

January 15, 2014 at 17:49

Some LaTeX errors and their solutions (part I)

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Hi all,

So, I have started to set up my PhD thesis LaTeX files. This means starting from scratch with clean and empty files. And of course, each chapter has its own tex file and the style and metadata (title, author, etc.) definitions will also be placed in their own files.

To make things interesting I upgraded WinEdt to version 7 (Version 8 is out but my university does not have a license yet). I also upgraded >all< LaTeX packages to their latest version (if supervisors can not compile your papers, there is something wrong, see problem below).

Of course, during all these things I encountered issues/challenges. Below I would like to briefly summarize them. I hope that someone, possibly future me, find them useful. (oh, how I look forward to the day that Google brings me to my own solution blog post)

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joos Buijs

June 25, 2013 at 17:15

Posted in PhD

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LaTeX template for (TU/e style) Master thesis

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Hi all,

Writing a thesis, being it a Master or PhD one, works best using LaTeX (unless you like fixing layout and referencing issues in M$ Word).
However, finding or creating a good style is sometimes difficult. And often you just want to use one you just saw. Well, apparently some of you like the style I used for my Masters thesis. So, I want to share this with all of you.

In my opinion it is a good clean style for any Masters thesis, although this one has a titlepage specifically for TU/e (Eindhoven University of Technology) use, but is easily adaptable to any institution.

Soon I will start writing my PhD thesis so an updated version for a PhD thesis will be published in a couple of months (I hope :)).

Please find below the LaTeX files needed to jump-start your own Master thesis in LaTeX (you will start with 27 pages without having typed a single word!).

This style has been the joint work of Thijs Nugteren and myself, so kudos also go to him.

If you use this style, please let us know this in the comments. And when you’re done, be sure to share a link with us so we can be proud with you!

Also, if you have applied any improvements, please share them too, so others can benefit.

But most of all: have fun writing!!!

 

Files:

LaTeX thesis template

Zip file with all the LaTeX files

Example theses: Thijs Nugteren (using an older version of the style), Joos Buijs, Danny van Heumen

Note:

You are free to use and adjust this style without referencing (although it would be nice of course 😉 ).However, this also means that we can not provide any support to customize the style to your needs or help you solve any LaTeX issues (there are many, many resources for that to be found online).

Written by Joos Buijs

April 1, 2013 at 13:22

Posted in Master Project

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Windows Movie Maker 2012 Memory Bug: a Solution?

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Hi all,

This post might come as a surprise for some (after my last post 6+ months ago halfway an exiting trip… Will post about that later :)).
But this post is about a problem a colleague and me are having with Windows Movie Maker 2012 (we are recording screen casts from tools for a course).

The issue: We have made the screen cast (using camStudio) and added captions in Windows Movie Maker 2012. When trying to export the movie (on our not ‘small’, 64bit Windows 7 machines) Windows Movie Maker happily reports that there was not enough space. This is a well-known memory-leak issue.

Now, what I did to solve it, is to create a custom export definition with exactly the same dimensions as the original movie (in my case 1024×768 pixels). It is now happily purring on a 300 Mb input file, steadily using around 300 Mb of memory. Where previously it would grow until ~4Gb and then break (the 32-bit memory limit).

So, if anybody reads this and has the same issue, try it! And of course, let me know if it worked 🙂

Joos

Written by Joos Buijs

February 14, 2013 at 11:29

Almost 3 Weeks in Brisbane…

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…and everything is going well. So well that I did not really had time (or took time, sorry) to write another blog post.

After a bad start with a homestay family too far from QUT which was also a bit too crowded and hectic, I managed to find another homestay as of my 2nd weekend here. From then on everything is going great! This homestay family is really friendly and includes me in all kind of ‘normal’ family and social activities. Something that I clearly need. At the same time I do enough on my own, for instance yesterday. Together with 4 colleagues and the girlfriend of one of them we went to D’Aguilar National Park. Only a short drive (30 min.) from the Brisbane city center. There we drove to several lookout points. Then, we made a 4.5 km walk through (rain)forest to a (modest) waterfall. That was halfway the walk after which we turned round to get back to the car (and motorbike). It was then already past 3 PM and nobody had any lunch so we were happy to find a place with gas barbeques. Even though it was raining a bit and the barbeque was not covered, we had a great meal. Everybody brought some meat, bread and juice, even pepper and salt. It was delicious (but maybe because we were really hungry). All in all it was a great day, with nice colleagues from QUT. You can see a selection of pictures here and others on Facebook. The next trip is in the planning and should take place 2 weekends from now. I’m curious what we will see and do then 🙂

Besides the fun and weekend stuff I’m of course also working. It is interesting to see that the (work) culture in Australia has its commonalities and differences with the one I’m used to in Eindhoven. Although I’m not sure how much is due to cultural differences or just group dynamics. Furthermore, since the collaboration between the two groups is rather tight, there are not really that many differences in approach and work ethics. It’s just other people working on different topics.

This Thursday is my ‘halfway’ point by the way, after that the countdown towards my trip back home can really start. Although I really like being here and I’m glad that I was given this opportunity, I do look forward to go home. I have a lot of respect for those that leave their home and family behind and go pursue a study, and/or PhD in another country. I would not be able to do that for several years.
It will also be interesting to celebrate my birthday here, it will be one I will not quickly forget…

By the way,  I am quickly adapting to the Australian habit of eating a ‘proper’ meal both at lunch time and for dinner. Where in the first week I sometimes had a banana for dinner because I was still full from lunch, last week I sometimes felt hungry, only an hour after having lunch. At the same time I’m not gaining any weight as far as I can notice, even though gaining a couple of kilos could not hurt. I will have a hard time getting used to sandwiches for lunch… Now I really understand the complaints of the foreigners visiting our group, we do not lunch with real food indeed… Poor us 😛

Written by Joos Buijs

June 25, 2012 at 13:16

Posted in 2012 QUT visit

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