I try to stay on the ground-level of the ivory tower as much as possible.  I am always interested in chatting with anyone that works in any corner of the technology industry about their ideas, plans or issues.

From a technical standpoint, I’m interested in cloud computing, virtualization, file systems.  From a more personal standpoint I’m always looking for applications that can benefit society.  As an example, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed working with the Ushahidi project in both my courses and personally over the last two years.

I love to have guest lecturers come in to talk to my students about what their professional lives will look like and how technology fits in.  Frankly, I think most universities could improve their connections with industry and so I try to do my little part.  And computing is everyone and every business, so don’t think you have to be at a technical company to contact me.  I’m interested in hearing anyone’s challenges as they related to computers.

I see these collaborations as being useful in two primary ways.  First, it can foster a sense of appreciation between the academic and non-academic spheres that is often lacking.  Second, It helps me better understand the issues that industry (big or small) faces on the ground, which better informs my teaching.

And if the idea is really interesting, I’m always looking for projects for my software engineering students to build for course projects.  So don’t be shy, drop me a line macdonellc4 <at>