Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Malaysian academic quoted in the Economist

It's not often that a Malaysian academic gets quoted in the Economist. I read this economist article last week and it referred to a Malaysian academic by the name of Narayanan Kulathuramaiyer, who is based in UNIMAS in Sarawak. I google scholar searched him and he has a pretty long list of publications. The Economist quoted him as a data mining expert. Kudos to the professor!

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Kian Ming,
His publiations (see http://www.fcsit.unimas.my/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=702&Itemid=114) are mostly in (local)conference proceedings. What's the fuss about?

Penang Tionghua said...

Normally, when one teaches in a university, it is not difficult to publish works in journals or books, etc. In fact, publications are a simple and easy thing for them. Right or wrong they would be looked upon as worthy academics or "authority," by most people who hold education in awe, unless under a true peer review.

Publications are useless if they cannot contribute to the improvement or well-being of lives or humankind, whatever one may say.

Some university faculty members would keep on churning out their publications be they useful or not because of some personal agenda, eg. a professorship, etc. Because the publications are from faculty members, most publishers would willingly accept it. Some academics with agenda would not be bothered if their publications end on the racks collecting dust and incurring storage rentals.

Therefore, not all publications are true and worthy.

Ahmad Ikmal said...

Dear YB,

Pursuant to my program to help unfortunate children to go to school which was also posted on your blog earlier, I was asked to assist with regard to Malaysian children who do not have birth certificates. I have discussed with YB Dato' Seri Hishammuddin's (Minister's) office and would like to inform the public of the solution.

Would appreciate if you could post my blog - http://aikmal.blogspot.com for the solution.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

yb tony, do u have any idea who is going to be the next VC of UM? just curious. datuk rafiah contract is going to expire early next month. um become even worse (in term of uni ranking) under her management. who is the best highly regard VC that the minister promise to hire for um..

Grace said...

I totally agreed with Anon and Penang Tionghua. Personally I don't find his publications impressive at all! I wouldn't even include conference proceedings in my publication list.

There wasn't any publication in good journals. If you notice, he is a co-author in all his publications. I suspect that the main contributors to these papers are his students.

I wonder why he's quoted in the economist.

Anonymous said...

he might not be a Malaysian.
Just a foreign lecturer at UNIMAS.

take a look at his facebook
http://www.facebook.com/people/Narayanan_Kulathuramaiyer/1189371934

Anonymous said...

Grace,
You are very likely to be right in saying ".. . suspect that the main contributors to these papers are his students." This seems to be rampant in local unis (of course there are exceptions)
As a comparison, we may compare him with a Head of Department in UM (see http://www.fsktm.um.edu.my/web/profiles.php?Uid=184)of a similar rank. What is to be noted in these and many other local academics is that it does not take much (in terms of research publications)to be an Assoc.Professor or full Profesor. This does not augur well for the quality of our universities.

Anonymous said...

With all the mistakes made by finance experts and mathematicians I think you may have to take what is published with a pinch of salt after all who gave us subprime and who gave us all the woe in teh world - the bald, the bearded and the ugly. By the way Dr Greenspan admitted a flaw in his model as well. Make sure no academician think that he or she is perfect just because he has a PhD and has solved complicated calculus.

Penang Tionghua said...

In certain universities, an associate or full professorship can be attained after 5 years as a senior lecturer. It's an automatic promotion process.

Again, in some universities the candidate for associate or full professorship must be under peer review and interview; and it's not easy to come by.

In many foreign universities, the professorship needs not arise due to vacancy. It can be out of needs, competence or endowment. Therefore, a real professor needs not be constricted or obstructed in his career path.

Prof TD Lee the joint Nobel Laureate became the youngest full professor of Columbia University at the age of 29.

He was a joint winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics at the age of 31 in 1957.

There is a need to re-look at researches. Don't just simply be awed by the words - research and thesis. It may mean nothing more than a pile of insignificant papers unable to change lives of the masses although a PhD was awarded. Don't be led up the garden path by this fad.

Shawn Tan said...

The nature of real research is that you won't know where it will take you. If you already know the conclusion before doing it, something must be wrong. Sometimes, it leads to something that can change the world and lives of others. Sometimes, it leads to something that will only gather a pile of dust. Sometimes, it leads to utter failure and doesn't produce anything. Such is the nature of research.

Any researcher knows that in order to publish something of Nobel prize quality, takes hard work and a lot of luck. It also takes a lot of support as people rarely hit the jackpot on their own. So, behind every Nobel prize winner, is usually a string of graduate students that have each contributed a little to the final product. These are all the silent heroes.

Papers are usually written by the students while professors tag along as one of the co-authors. This practice happens everywhere. There is often a lot of horse trading going on when it comes to the order of authors, especially if several students are involved. Sometimes, power wrangling happens and the order of names switch around drastically.

However, such is life.

Azman Mamat said...

I only believe in peer-reviewed papers. The academic business has grown to be highly competitive and even a paper published in a high-impact journal is not good enough, unless they are cited. In the long run, a faculty member standing can be best measured by using h-index (hirsch-index), albeit it does have some weaknesses as well.

Penang Tionghua said...

shawn: The statement was made by a PhD candidate during a research proposal I attended in 1989.

He was asked about his likely breakthrough as the purpose of research.

He stated the same thing:

The nature of real research is that you won't know where it will take you. If you already know the conclusion before doing it, something must be wrong. Sometimes, it leads to something that can change the world and lives of others. Sometimes, it leads to something that will only gather a pile of dust. Sometimes, it leads to utter failure and doesn't produce anything. Such is the nature of research.

He was then asked, " Then how long could you finish the PhD when you are in a blind alley without any focus on your likely breakthrough? If it is going to take 20 years to be in the light, then you could run out of the candidature."

Joe said...

Anon 10/23/2008 11:22:00 PM

As much as one likes to fully grasp and control his or her future tightly in their hands, they are still susceptible to the uncertainties, which might cause mishaps, failures and etc. Don't try to push the blame to Mathematicians and Financial experts. This is economics, and I am sure you know how volatile it can be!