Not a Bright-Spark

I recently saw an advertisement in a local newspaper for the UM Bright-Spark programme. However, looking at the criteria, I noticed that I do not qualify because I do not have any quality publications. Frankly, my list of publications is close to zero. Damn, so I’m not a bright spark after all!!

But wait!

While I may have few publications, and those few publications that I have had are not cited at all, I have just discovered that I have quite a lot of citations elsewhere! (and these citations have other citations too!)

My work is used in academia by a number of universities. The earliest known one to me is my AE18 used at North Carolina State University way back in the early 2000s. My previous incarnation of AEMB was used at Virginia Tech and the current incarnation was used at TU.Delft and Shandong University, China. Actually, I’m sure that it is used far more widely. At one time around mid 2000s, the AEMB was the second most popular open-source microprocessor world-wide. It got about 10,000 hits a month. These are just some of the ones that I know about. Also, my work is found in commercial products already sold in the market. So, my work is also practical.

Lots of people I have spoken to wonder how can someone get cited without publishing. It’s definitely possible – using a modern method of peer-review and publication called Open Source!

However, this method is only easily accepted in the computing world because it was pretty much invented here. In other fields, it is probably not so easy to embrace open-source yet – because the proper exposure and mind-set is not there. I can easily imagine the biology world embracing it and the same goes with the other sciences but things will take some time.

Anyway, it’s okay not to be a bright spark. Like my doctoral examiner realised, I am an engineer first, not an academic nor researcher.

What matters to me is impacting lives (or saving them).

Published by

Shawn Tan

Chip Doctor, Chartered/Professional Engineer, Entrepreneur, Law Graduate.

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