Blog of Joos Buijs

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

Posts Tagged ‘research

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

Posted in Personal

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I’m Alive and Travelling

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Dear readers,

The time has come. The time to travel. For business. For real.

It is something each academic should do: visit other groups in academia and learn how academia works around the world.

I have been given the chance to visit the QUT BPM group in Brisbane, Australia. I’m leaving next week Tuesday and will be staying there for a good 6 weeks. Although this will not give me a lot of time to do and see all the really fun Australian things (Great Barrier Reef, Sydney’s Opera House, and far more nature than I’ve ever seen) I still think it is plenty long to absorb some pieces of Australia. And, of course, work!

Furthermore, I’m staying with three different families during my stay. I think that this will be a unique experience to learn about the Australian culture. I expect it to be different than here in the Netherlands, although Australia still has kind of a Western culture.

So, in the next few weeks I will be posting regular updates. Mainly aimed at family and friends but of course colleagues and complete strangers are more than welcome to follow me. And, hopefully, including beautiful pictures to make you all wish you were there.

For some readers my posts might be not very interesting (I will be posting pictures of airports and planes) but please understand that I have never travelled further than 1300km from home (Croatia), never been away for much more than 2 weeks and I’m travelling alone. I’m not a world traveller (yet) but hope to visit America and possibly China/Indonesia/… with my girlfriend (/wife) sometime in our lives.

For now, I’m preparing for my flight: 24 hours of travelling, mostly spend in air planes, something I have never experienced… And then the timezone difference, in the wrong direction. That will be a hell of jet lag I’m afraid…

As soon as I have more news to share, you’ll find it here! (also links will be posted on Twitter and Facebook)

TTFN

NOTE: for those concerned, I’m still in the Netherlands until next week Tuesday (June 6) and I will still be at work tomorrow. Thanks for caring Ine 😉

Written by Joos Buijs

May 31, 2012 at 16:54

Posted in PhD

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The Results of my Master Project

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Update 26-05-2010: The official XESame (or XESMa) website is now located at processmining.org! This post will not be updated further.

So, after 7 months my master project is completed and the results are final!

Last Monday I gave my final presentation (.pptx, 1.7 MB). This presentation gives a good introduction into the problem and topic of my project.

More detailed information about what I did can be found in my master_thesis (.pdf, 9.8 MB). This should also be used as a temporary ‘user guide’ for my application.

Warning: This is a prototype! No support or guarantee is given whatsoever! Use at your own risk!

If you want to test/play with the prototype I created, it can be downloaded at the link below. However, use it at your own risk 😉

XESMa Application Prototype (v 1.0) (.zip, 3.4 MB)

How to start XESMa in 3 steps:

  1. Extract the contents of the zip file;
  2. In Eclipse (or any Java editor), create a new Java Project from the folder you just extracted;
  3. Execute ‘Application.java’ in the org.processmining.mapper.ui package.

Warning: This is a prototype! No support or guarantee is given whatsoever! Use at your own risk!

Now that everything is finished I will enjoy a holiday until May 3. Then I’ll start on a PhD position, here at the TU/e, more about this in another blog post.

I hope I have/get the time to continue to work on XESMa in the future. I have some ideas for improvement. And of course, your feedback is very much appreciated!

Thesis abstract:

Information systems are taking a prominent place in today’s business process execution. Since most
systems are complex, enterprise-wide systems, very few users, if any, have a clear and complete
view of the overall process. In the area of process mining several techniques have been developed to
reverse engineer information about a process from a recording of its execution. To apply process
mining analysis on process-aware information systems, an event log is required. An event log
contains information about cases and the events that are executed on them.
Although many systems produce event logs, most systems use their own event log format.
Furthermore, the information contained in these event logs is not always suitable for process
mining. However, since much data is stored in the data storage of the information system, it is
often possible to reconstruct an event log that can be used for process mining. Extracting this
information from the business data is a time consuming task and requires domain knowledge. The
domain knowledge required to de ne the conversion is most likely held by people from business,
e.g. business analysts, since they know or investigate the business processes and their integration
with technology. In most cases business analysts have no or limited programming knowledge.
Currently there is no tool available that supports the extraction of an event log from a data source
that doesn’t require programming.
This thesis discusses important aspects to consider when de ning a conversion to an event log.
The decisions made in the conversion de nition in
uence the process mining results to a large
extend. De ning a correct conversion for the speci c process mining project at hand is therefore
crucial for the success of the project. A framework to store aspects of such a conversion is also
developed in this thesis. In this framework the extraction of traces and events as well as their
attributes can be de ned. An application prototype, called `XES Mapper’ or `XESMa’, that uses
this conversion framework is build.
The XES Mapper application guides the de nition of a conversion. The conversion can be
de ned without the need to program. The application can also execute the conversion on the data
source, producing an event log in the MXML or XES event log format. This enables a business
analyst to de ne and execute the conversion on their own. The application has been tested with
two case studies. This has shown that many di erent data source structures can be accessed and
converted.

Keywords: data conversion, database, event log, process mining, process-aware information
system

Edit 01-04-2010 11:50: added XESMa execution steps

Written by Joos Buijs

March 31, 2010 at 15:17

Funny process model week 45: The Scientific Method

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Well, this ‘process model’ is rather tricky to post because without the proper explanation it might appear that I or we (here at the TU/e or my faculty) work this way. I must say, that this is not the case to my knowledge. The proposed process model is just a hypothesis of how reality could look like and needs to be tested…

Or how it works in reality...

Or how it works in reality...

Hope you don’t feel offended 😉

Joos

Written by Joos Buijs

November 6, 2009 at 17:00