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Collaboration in System Administration

Eben M. Haber, Eser Kandogan, Paul Maglio
2010 Queue  
George was in trouble. A seemingly simple deployment was taking all morning, and there seemed no end in sight. His manager kept coming in to check on his progress, as the customer was anxious to have the deployment done. He was supposed to be leaving for a goodbye lunch for a departing coworker, adding to the stress. He had called in all kinds of help, including colleagues, an application architect, technical support, and even one of the system developers. He used e-mail, instant messaging,
more » ... -to-face contacts, his phone, and even his office mate's phone to communicate with everyone. And George was no novice. He had been working as a Web-hosting administrator for three years, and he had a bachelor's degree in computer science. But it seemed that all the expertise being brought to bear was simply not enough. Why was George in trouble? We'll find out. But first, why were we watching George? George is a system administrator, one of the people who work behind the scenes to configure, operate, maintain, and troubleshoot the computer infrastructure that supports much of modern life. Their work is critical-and expensive. The human part of total system cost-of-ownership has been growing for decades, now dominating the costs of hardware or software. 2, 3, 4 understand why, and to try to learn how administration can be better supported, we have been watching system administrators at work in their natural environments. Over the course of several years, and equipped with camcorders, cameras, tapes, computers, and notebooks, we made 16 visits, each as long as a week, across six different sites. We observed administrators managing databases, Web applications, and system security; as well as storage designers, infrastructure architects, and system operators. Whatever their specific titles were, we refer to them all as system administrators, or sysadmins for short. At the beginning of our studies, we held a stereotypical view of the system administrator as that guy (and it was always a guy) in the back room of the university computer center who knew everything and could solve all problems by himself. As we ventured into enterprise data centers, we realized that the reality was significantly more complex. To describe our findings fully would take a book (which we are currently writing). 6 In this short article, we limit ourselves to a few episodes that illustrate the kinds of collaboration we saw in system administration work and where the major problems lie. As we'll show from real-world stories we collected and our analyses of work patterns, it's really not just one guy in the back room. THE STORY OF GEORGE George is a Web administrator in a large IT service delivery center. We observed him over a week as
doi:10.1145/1898147.1898149 fatcat:nulq4anxefb2vps3atyig7d224

Machop: an End-to-End Generalized Entity Matching Framework [article]

Jin Wang, Yuliang Li, Wataru Hirota, Eser Kandogan
2022 arXiv   pre-print
Real-world applications frequently seek to solve a general form of the Entity Matching (EM) problem to find associated entities. Such scenarios include matching jobs to candidates in job targeting, matching students with courses in online education, matching products with user reviews on e-commercial websites, and beyond. These tasks impose new requirements such as matching data entries with diverse formats or having a flexible and semantics-rich matching definition, which are beyond the
more » ... EM task formulation or approaches. In this paper, we introduce the problem of Generalized Entity Matching (GEM) that satisfies these practical requirements and presents an end-to-end pipeline Machop as the solution. Machop allows end-users to define new matching tasks from scratch and apply them to new domains in a step-by-step manner. Machop casts the GEM problem as sequence pair classification so as to utilize the language understanding capability of Transformers-based language models (LMs) such as BERT. Moreover, it features a novel external knowledge injection approach with structure-aware pooling methods that allow domain experts to guide the LM to focus on the key matching information thus further contributing to the overall performance. Our experiments and case studies on real-world datasets from a popular recruiting platform show a significant 17.1% gain in F1 score against state-of-the-art methods along with meaningful matching results that are human-understandable.
arXiv:2206.04853v1 fatcat:thnunzccqvhepnf4bico4fzjiy

Collaboration in system administration

Eben M. Haber, Eser Kandogan, Paul P. Maglio
2011 Communications of the ACM  
BY eBen m. haBeR, eseR kanDoGan, anD PauL P. maGLio practice the other team members often, as work is distributed.  ... 
doi:10.1145/1866739.1866755 fatcat:xdzomvhr6fbjpbxhv7v35wsbdm

Elastic windows

Eser Kandogan, Ben Shneiderman
1996 Proceedings of the workshop on Advanced visual interfaces - AVI '96  
Most windowing systems follow the independent overlapping windows approach, which emerged as an answer to the needs of the 80s' applications and technology. Advances in computers, display technology, and the applications demand more functionality from window management systems. Based on these changes and the problems of current windowing approaches, we have updated the requirements for multiwindow systems to guide new methods of window management. We propose elastic windows with improved
more » ... layout and rapid multi-window operations. Multi-window operations are achieved by issuing operations on window groups hierarchically organized in a space-filling tiled layout. Sophisticated multi-window operations and spatial layout dynamics helps users to handle fast task-switching and to structure their work environment to their rapidly changing needs. We claim that these multi-window operations and the improved spatial layout decrease the cognitive load on users. Users found our prototype system to be comprehensible and enjoyable as they playfully explored the way multiple windows are reshaped.
doi:10.1145/948449.948454 dblp:conf/avi/KandoganS96 fatcat:ycwcblkjgbhfrncezt35h5exye

Elastic windows

Eser Kandogan, Ben Shneiderman
1996 Proceedings of the workshop on Advanced visual interfaces - AVI '96  
Most windowing systems follow the independent overlapping windows approach, which emerged as an answer to the needs of the 80s' applications and technology. Advances in computers, display technology, and the applications demand more functionality from window management systems. Based on these changes and the problems of current windowing approaches, we have updated the requirements for multiwindow systems to guide new methods of window management. We propose elastic windows with improved
more » ... layout and rapid multi-window operations. Multi-window operations are achieved by issuing operations on window groups hierarchically organized in a space-filling tiled layout. Sophisticated multi-window operations and spatial layout dynamics helps users to handle fast task-switching and to structure their work environment to their rapidly changing needs. We claim that these multi-window operations and the improved spatial layout decrease the cognitive load on users. Users found our prototype system to be comprehensible and enjoyable as they playfully explored the way multiple windows are reshaped.
doi:10.1145/948450.948454 fatcat:vlii4b3p6vdl7i5u2jjbf453ry

Elastic Windows

Eser Kandogan, Ben Shneiderman
1997 Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on Human factors in computing systems - CHI '97  
Most windowing systems follow the independent overlapping windows approach, which emerged as an answer to the needs of the 1980s' technology. Due to advances in computers and display technology, and increased information needs, modem users demand more functionality from window management systems. We proposed Elastic Windows with improved spatial layout and rapid multi-window operations as an alternative to current window management strategies for efficient personal role management [12] . In
more » ... approach, multi-window operations are achieved by issurng operations on window groups hierarchically organized in a space-filling tiled layout. 'l%is paper describes the Elastic Windows interface briefly and then presents a study comparing user performance with Elastic Windows and traditional window management techniques for 2, 6, and 12 window situations. Elastic Whdows users had statistically significantly faster performance for all 6 and 12 window situations, for task environment setup, task environment switching, and task execution. For some tasks there was a ten-fold speed-up in performance These results suggest promising possibilities for multiple window operations and hierarchical nesting, which can be applied to the next generation of tiled as well as overlapped window managers.
doi:10.1145/258549.258720 dblp:conf/chi/KandoganS97 fatcat:ybock36wgnaxrkbmkr5w3nzvou

Elastic Windows: A Hierarchical Multi-Window World-Wide Web Browser [chapter]

Eser Kandogan, Ben Shneiderman
2003 The Craft of Information Visualization  
The World-Wide Web is becoming an invaluable source for the information needs of many users. However, current browsers are still primitive, in that they do not support many of the navigation needs of users, as indicated by user studies. They do not provide an overview and a sense of location in the information structure being browsed. Also they do not facilitate organization and filtering of information nor aid users in accessing already visited pages without high cognitive demands. In this
more » ... r, a new browsing interface is proposed with multiple hierarchical windows and efficient multiple window operations. It provides a flexible environment where users can quickly organize, filter, and restructure the information on the screen as they reformulate their goals. Overviews can give the user a sense of location in the browsing history as well as provide fast access to a hierarchy of pages.
doi:10.1016/b978-155860915-0/50027-5 fatcat:mgiyavjvzbeoxib3435y34w2hy

Elastic windows: design, implementation, and evaluation of multi-window operations

Eser Kandogan, Ben Shneiderman
1998 Software, Practice & Experience  
Most windowing systems follow the independent overlapping windows approach, which emerged as an answer to the needs of early computer users. Due to advances in computers, display technology, and increased information needs, modern users demand more functionality from window management systems. We propose Elastic Windows with improved spatial layout and rapid multi-window operations as an alternative to current window management strategies. In this approach, multi-window operations are achieved
more » ... y issuing operations on window groups hierarchically organized in a space-filling tiled layout similar to TreeMaps. 1 Sophisticated multiwindow operations have been developed to handle fast task-switching and to structure the work environment of users to their rapidly changing needs. We claim that these multi-window operations and the tiled spatial layout dynamics decrease the cognitive load on users by decreasing the number of window operations. This paper describes the Elastic Windows interface in detail and then presents a user study conducted to compare the performance of 12 users with Elastic Windows and traditional Independent Overlapping Windows. User performance was measured in terms of task environment setup, switching, and task execution for 2, 6, and 12 window situations. Elastic Windows users had statistically significantly faster performance for all tasks in 6 and 12 window situations. These results suggest promising possibilities for multiple window operations and hierarchical nesting, which can be applied to the next generation of tiled as well as overlapped window managers.
doi:10.1002/(sici)1097-024x(199803)28:3<225::aid-spe151>3.0.co;2-d fatcat:qph5qu5yzzawpfoqejsy4g3m5y

Collaborative scripting for the Web [chapter]

Allen Cypher, Clemens Drews, Eben Haber, Eser Kandogan, James Lin, Tessa Lau, Gilly Leshed, Tara Matthews, Eric Wilcox
2010 No Code Required  
doi:10.1016/b978-0-12-381541-5.00005-5 fatcat:5o7kkpvdcjf7pljv4uiflvtxzq

Elastic Windows

Eser Kandogan, Ben Shneiderman
1997 Proceedings of the 10th annual ACM symposium on User interface software and technology - UIST '97  
The World-Wide Web is becoming an invaluable source for the information needs of many users. However, current browsers are still primitive, in that they do not support many of the navigation needs of users, as indicated by user studies. They do not provide an overview and a sense of location in the information structure being browsed. Also they do not facilitate organization and filtering of information nor aid users in accessing already visited pages without high cognitive demands. In this
more » ... r, a new browsing interface is proposed with multiple hierarchical windows and efficient multiple window operations. It provides a flexible environment where users can quickly organize, filter, and restructure the information on the screen as they reformulate their goals. Overviews can give the user a sense of location in the browsing history as well as provide fast access to a hierarchy of pages.
doi:10.1145/263407.263541 dblp:conf/uist/KandoganS97 fatcat:xzomhrqkcjh7vh7rbfz5cozzie

A1

Eser Kandogan, Eben Haber, Rob Barrett, Allen Cypher, Paul Maglio, Haixia Zhao
2005 Proceedings of the 18th annual ACM symposium on User interface software and technology - UIST '05  
System administrators work with many different tools to manage and fix complex hardware and software infrastructure in a rapidly paced work environment. Through extensive field studies, we observed that they often build and share custom tools for specific tasks that are not supported by vendor tools. Recent trends toward web-based management consoles offer many advantages but put an extra burden on system administrators, as customization requires web programming, which is beyond the skills of
more » ... ny system administrators. To meet their needs, we developed A1, a spreadsheet-based environment with a task-specific system-administration language for quickly creating small tools or migrating existing scripts to run as web portlets. Using A1, system administrators can build spreadsheets to access remote and heterogeneous systems, gather and integrate status data, and orchestrate control of disparate systems in a uniform way. A preliminary user study showed that in just a few hours, system administrators can learn to use A1 to build relatively complex tools from scratch.
doi:10.1145/1095034.1095070 dblp:conf/uist/KandoganHBCMZ05 fatcat:c4oulktypjh5dphdwayvdzege4

Koala

Greg Little, Tessa A. Lau, Allen Cypher, James Lin, Eben M. Haber, Eser Kandogan
2007 Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on Human factors in computing systems - CHI '07  
We present Koala, a system that enables users to capture, share, automate, and personalize business processes on the web. Koala is a collaborative programming-bydemonstration system that records, edits, and plays back user interactions as pseudo-natural language scripts that are both human-and machine-interpretable. Unlike previous programming by demonstration systems, Koala leverages sloppy programming that interprets pseudo-natural language instructions (as opposed to formal syntactic
more » ... ts) in the context of a given web page's elements and actions. Koala scripts are automatically stored in the Koalescence wiki, where a community of users can share, run, and collaboratively develop their "how-to" knowledge. Koala also takes advantage of corporate and personal data stores to automatically generalize and instantiate userspecific data, so that scripts created by one user are automatically personalized for others. Our initial experiences suggest that Koala is surprisingly effective at interpreting instructions originally written for people.
doi:10.1145/1240624.1240767 dblp:conf/chi/LittleLCLHK07 fatcat:n424qg24vfcitplut4efnl5cje

Policy-based IT automation

Eser Kandogan, John Bailey, Paul P. Maglio, Eben Haber
2008 Proceedings of the 2nd ACM Symposium on Computer Human Interaction for Management of Information Technology - CHiMiT '08  
Policy-based automation is emerging as a viable approach to IT systems management, codifying high-level business goals into executable specifications for governing IT operations. Little is known, however, about how policies are actually made, used, and maintained in practice. Here, we report studies of policy use in IT service delivery. We found that although policies often make explicit statements, much is deliberately left implicit, with correct interpretation and execution depending critically on human judgment.
doi:10.1145/1477973.1477986 dblp:conf/chimit/KandoganBMH08 fatcat:kxrdrkmd5nbjllb3mdpqldfoiu

Trust as an underlying factor of system administrator interface choice

Leila Takayama, Eser Kandogan
2006 CHI '06 extended abstracts on Human factors in computing systems - CHI EA '06  
., & Kandogan, E. (2006). Trust as an underlying factor of system administrator interface choice. Extended Abstracts of Human Factors in Computing Systems: CHI 2006, USA, 1391-1396. © ACM, (2006).  ... 
doi:10.1145/1125451.1125708 dblp:conf/chi/TakayamaK06 fatcat:devgk7thtvabncbt73svwjigfe

Field studies of computer system administrators

Rob Barrett, Eser Kandogan, Paul P. Maglio, Eben M. Haber, Leila A. Takayama, Madhu Prabaker
2004 Proceedings of the 2004 ACM conference on Computer supported cooperative work - CSCW '04  
Computer system administrators are the unsung heroes of the information age, working behind the scenes to configure, maintain, and troubleshoot the computer infrastructure that underlies much of modern life. However, little can be found in the literature about the practices and problems of these highly specialized computer users. We conducted a series of field studies in large corporate data centers, observing organizations, work practices, tools, and problem-solving strategies of system
more » ... trators. We found system administrators operate within large-scale, complex environments that present significant technical, social, cognitive, and business challenges. In this paper, we describe system administrator tool use in critical, high-cost, labor-intensive work through observational, survey, and interview data. We discuss our findings concerning administrator needs for coordinating work, maintaining situation awareness, planning and rehearsing complex procedures, building tools, and supporting complicated interleaved workflows.
doi:10.1145/1031607.1031672 dblp:conf/cscw/BarrettKMHTP04 fatcat:enp26dfwhffxbdlxgjj7f3mgs4
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