rooter

Wonderful, wonderful, they have done it again. The god of the information age indeed is a trickster. The ‘World Multiconference on Systemics, Cybernetics and Informatics’ (WMSCI) has accepted a paper submitted by the graduate students Jeremy Stribling, Max Krohn, and Dan Aguayo—of course all three of them home-based at MIT, where hacker-culture was born—called “Rooter: A Methodology for the Typical Unification of Access Points and Redundancy[.pdf | 709KB]. That’s nearly as good as Alan Sokal’s famous “Transgressing the Boundaries: Toward a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity” with which Sokal triggered a hard-time for the journal ‘Social Text’ and a hotly debated science-scandal. Thing is, the MITites even pushed it a li’l farther than Sokal, who crafted his hoax of an article meticulously by hand. Stribling et al.’s paper was done by a program called SCIgen, which obviously is able to pass some people’s vision of a Turing-test and more:

SCIgen is a program that generates random Computer Science research papers, including graphs, figures, and citations. It uses a hand-written context-free grammar to form all elements of the papers. Our aim here is to maximize amusement, rather than coherence.

One useful purpose for such a program is to auto-generate submissions to “fake” conferences; that is, conferences with no quality standards, which exist only to make money.

Seemingly WMSCI qualifies to this standards. But even more startling is the case of Vienna-based researchers who sent in some abstracts to the VIDEA-conference. All abstracts were accepted, and it was said that they had been reviewed … one of the sent-in abstracts consisted of the conference’s call for papers itself! Excuse me loosing my temper, but conferences like that are the inverse pendant to plagiarism. I welcome every hoaxer who discloses on-goings like that.

Anyway, with “Rooter” the guys hacked themselves well down to the roots of a degenerated part of the scientific community’s so-called competition. ‘Root’ definitely seems to be a magic word of the IT realm. Remember when Randy Waterhouse, one of the main protagonists in Neal Stephenson’s “Cryptonomicon” mistook root@eruditorum.org [<—c'mon bots, harvest this] for the e-mail address of an Unix-overlord? What does the last annotation have to do with the above? Well, nothing—I just took up training for boosting my list of publications: Boasting with weird associations + SCIgen + how-to-talk-postmodern pave the streets of gold to success, I guess.
hint via Anthro-L

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