mwk is currently certified at Journeyer level.

Name: Matt Kern
Member since: 2001-11-07 11:34:20
Last Login: N/A

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I am currently self-employed, although my business partner and I are currently in the process of shutting the company down, so that we can go off and do other things. In my case, the other things could be a PhD in robotics.

If you are interested in robotics, then the particular area I am looking to investigate is Autonomous, Cooperative, Mobile Robotics in Ubiquitous Communications Environments. This is a field that I have followed for several years now (and one in which my MEng project was based). I think that modern wireless networking will prove to be one of the key enabling technologies in mobile robotics.

Free Software Projects:

  • I am the leader of a large and interesting software project that I would like to bring into the Open Source community in the near future;
  • I am currently involved with the Debian project as a maintainer. Unfortunately, I am not as active now as I was before I started my own company, Gyre Technology. Hopefully once I have restyled my life I will be able to increase my workload on this front once more. My packages have included opie, xpilot and laptop-netconf (and briefly kerberos);
  • I was a one time GNU sysadmin, but owing to a period of near-zero connectivity, I had to give this up;
  • In the last 8 years (since I discovered GNU/Linux and the Open Source community), I have helped out on many projects including the GNU/Linux ARM port, glibc and others;
  • Over the years, I have written numerous software tools that I have shared with my friends. I hope to bring many of these into the public eye when I revamp my home page.


  • I *really* like networks. Anything from network hardware up to distributed computing interests me. I heartily recommend anyone to look at the Adaptive Communications Environment (ACE);
  • I am also interested in UML. I believe that it is a powerful tool for distributed development, and am surprised that it is not used more;
  • My MGB Roadster '69 (Snowberry White) is my pride and joy.


Recent blog entries by mwk

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Long time no post.

I have not been getting into the Christmas spirit. I haven't done my Christmas shopping, and I haven't sent my Christmas cards yet.

More complications with the software. Hopefully will be done and dusted soon.

Time just running through my fingers. :-(

30 Nov 2001 (updated 18 Dec 2001 at 13:14 UTC) »

Yesterday, Ruth and I visited Reading to check out the available accomodation. The studio flat in halls that we looked at was unpleasant and small. In the end we found a really nice flat just off the main road to the station. Something of a catch. There is probably even enough room for us to get all of our stuff (including computers...) in and still have room to swing a cat (well, maybe a kitten).

Also took the opportunity to hand in my application to the Faculty of Science. With luck I will be accepted. The only question now remaining is that of funding. In addition to the work that the department is going to do to try and match me up with some money, I am going to start looking around for sponsors. I you know (or run!) a company that might be interested in sponsoring a PhD student to do some very cool mobile robotics (with the commensurate marketing benefits that can be gained with being associated with such a high profile project) then please drop me a line.

I am going to put the finishing touches to the basic project web site over the weekend and start making announcements soon. If you are interested in any information at this stage, have a look at ISPDB is a free provisioning tool for ISPs. If you are interested in contributing then please drop me a line.

It has been a busy few days.

27 Nov 2001 (updated 27 Nov 2001 at 16:04 UTC) »

Alan Chen pointed me toward distributed ruby as a possibile language for the experiments I mentioned yesterday. I'm looking in to it (thanks, Alan) but if you have any experience of distributed ruby or (particularly) embedded distributed ruby then please drop me a line.

I attempted to get my old director of studies to write a reference for me for my PhD application. It turns out that he has all but retired. He is the second of my DoSs to leave. Perhaps that tells you something. ANyway, the application process is slow to say the least. Just gathering all the little bits of paper together and posting them off. Hey, that gives me an idea...

I've also been having lots of ideas related to my PhD. Basically I would like to kick off the project by developing a series of networked mobile robots and static workstations and some API for cross-agent communication (and perhaps code migration). Then I hope to move towards an evaluation of various control methods across this network (hopefully with more than a passing look at fault tollerance) and develop what I think will turn out to be a good layered network for fault tollerant network operation. The only really tough bit that I can see is chosing the co-operative task that will be used as the benchmark. Hmm. Please send your ideas on a postcard.

My meeting down in Reading went very well. I don't want to get my hopes up too much but I am about 80% sure of a PhD place there.

I didn't get much of an opportunity to speak to CyberKevin, since he had to dash off to Marseilles earlier than planned. I spent a while talking to Iain Goodhew and the other members of the Madlab; I am getting really excited about the possibilites. Just as well really since there aren't any other reasons to be doing a PhD...

My business partner is on holiday this week so there isn't any progress on winding the companies down. Most of the stuff we need to do is legal or financial. Mark won't let me near the legal side of things and I don't want to touch the accounts with a barge pole; company accounts aren't something you can just dip in to.

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