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nicole forsgren velasquez <[log in to unmask]>
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nicole forsgren velasquez <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 16 Nov 2011 10:46:12 -0800
text/plain (103 lines)
<<Apologies for cross-posting>>

Special CHIMIT/LISA Workshop

Aligning the Research Interests of System Administrators and CHIMIT

It has long been understood that the inclusion of end users in HCI studies
is the ideal to which most, if not all, investigations should strive. While
some studies target end users who are plentiful, straightforward to access,
or easy to proxy (e.g., the use of undergraduate students to represent
administrative assistants), HCI researchers interested in the management of
IT face many challenges when recruiting subjects, namely system
administrators (sysadmins). First, sysadmins perform work that is complex
and high risk, creating situations and environments that cannot be easily
replicated in a laboratory experiment or outside of their native work
environment. Second, studies have argued that sysadmins are different from
other computer professionals (such as computer programmers); and as such,
proxies cannot accurately approximate their interactions and behaviors in
experiments. Finally, studies suggest that it is particularly difficult to
gain access to sysadmins for study, for reasons that include distrust of
outsiders, overwhelming workloads, and disinterest in research.

To encourage and promote collaboration among researchers and sysadmins, we
are holding a one-day LISA workshop on Monday, December 5, to be held in
conjunction with CHIMIT ’11 and LISA ‘11. LISA is one of the largest USENIX
conferences and attracts sysadmins working with large infrastructures.
Participants will include researchers interested in research involving
sysadmins, and senior sysadmins in the field interested in participating or
providing access to research data. This workshop will provide an
opportunity for in-depth discussions between CHIMIT researchers and highly
experienced system administrators. The expected outcomes include:
1.    the identification of key areas of future research/collaborations
2.    initial action plans, and
3.    future joint conference submissions for CHIMIT and/or LISA.

Interested researchers should briefly describe their interest in research
and identify 2-3 key issues that they would be interested in investigating
in cooperation with sysadmins. Workshop attendees will be selected from
interested CHIMIT participants. There will be a $50 surcharge in addition
to the regular 1-day CHIMIT registration fee. Approximately 10-20 attendees
will be admitted to the workshop based on the proposals.  We also
anticipate 10-20 senior sysadmins as participants; these sysadmins will be
selected based on their interest in participation in research and their
ability to offer feedback, access, and data for the projects identified
during the conference.

Position papers should be sent to: [log in to unmask]  Interested
researchers are encouraged to submit papers this week.

Benefits to CHIMIT participants include:
Admittance to the LISA workshop, which will include lunch and two catered
Opportunity to meet and talk with sysadmins and get feedback on
current/future projects;
Opportunity to mingle and snack with sysadmins during breaks (the important
“hallway track”).
Access to USENIX publications, including LISA proceedings.
Better understanding of issues and problems facing sysadmins today.
Opportunity to design and conduct engaged research with sysadmins.

For $50, selected researchers will be admitted to the LISA workshop, which
will include lunch and two catered breaks.  In addition, reimbursement for
one night of hotel stay (up to $200) will be provided.  Attendees staying
at the LISA conference hotel may be able to have their extra night paid
directly by the organizers.

This special cross-conference workshop will be facilitated by Nicole F.
Velasquez, Adam Moskowitz, and Paul Anderson.
Nicole is an Assistant Professor at Pepperdine University and is a
recognized sysadmin researcher in both academic and industry circles.  She
was chair of CHIMIT ‘10 and has served on two LISA program committees.  Her
homepage is
In addition to two years as CHIMIT chair (2010 and 2011), Adam is a
long-time LISA participant who has served on ten LISA program committees,
was program chair of LISA ’09, and has facilitated the LISA Advanced Topics
Workshop since 1997.
Paul Anderson is a member of the “Centre for Intelligent Systems
Architecture” at the University of Edinburgh. He has a background in
practical system administration and he is currently interested in applying
intelligent systems techniques to practical configuration problems. Paul
was programme chair for the 2007 LISA conference, and author of the SAGE
booklets on System Configuration, the LCFG configuration tool, and a range
of papers in the systems administration field. His homepage is

Nicole Forsgren Velasquez, PhD
Assistant Professor
Pepperdine University

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