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9:53am on Sunday, 16th September, 2018:



I'm currently seated in Terminal 2 at Heathrow airport, having arrived well in time to be stupidly early for my flight. I'll be spending the next two weeks in Visby, Gotland at the University of Uppsala campus. Yes, when I said I was taking up a guest professor position there, it was actually true.

On this first visit (there will be more to come), I'll mainly be concerned with organising research. The Swedish system is a bit different to that of the UK, in that research and teaching are more differentiated tasks. At Essex University, people try to teach what they research, which is great when it's possible (as it is in my case), but it isn't in fact always possible: you could end up teaching 300 first-years about databases when your research interests are to do with artificial intelligence or formal methods or natural language processing or compilers or pretty well anything else. In Sweden, teaching is mainly undertaken by subject experts who aren't part of the research group; this means you get better teaching, but what's being taught could be quite some distance from what's being researched. I expect I'll be spending some time at the start trying to figure out exactly how the set-up works, because I'm fairly certain it'll be rather more arcane than my present knowledge suggests.

Expect two weeks of typing errors as my laptop keyboard isn't great.

The bloke on the table next to me in the restaurant where I just ate breakfast ordered a beer, a glass of milk and a glass of fresh orange juice, which he drank in that order. His wife had a glass of water.

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Copyright © 2018 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).