Confessions of a researchaholic

May 7, 2017

Breaking habits

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 12:23 pm

It was raining this morning and the hotel has no gym, so I tried to follow some online videos for workout. To my surprise, with the right video it is possible to get enough cardio inside a small space without any special equipment. Now I know that as long as I can have decent internet connection, I just need my exercise shoes without worrying about the availability of fitness facilities.

I was not very hungry in the evening, so I was looking for some hot soup for dinner. A nearby restaurant named ChinChin popped up with good reviews, which sounds like Chinese so I did not even look into the details. I did not realize it is actually French until I reached the restaurant. I could not read the French menu, so I just ordered soup of the day. And it tastes amazing, better than the hot-and-sour soup I originally had in mind.

Life is full of unexpected events will prevent me from doing what I originally planned to do. But they might help me break old habits and find new experiences. (I guess this is a bit like stochastic optimization?)

April 22, 2017

Survivorship bias

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 9:28 am


April 12, 2017

Jedi academy memorabilia

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 9:02 am

April 10, 2017

Open source texture synthesis

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 6:00 pm
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Well I guess this is long overdue; knock yourself out here.

Open source facilitates collaboration and code reuse, and propels our progress forward. I shall participate more in the future.

April 4, 2017


Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 2:13 am
Tags: ,

I heard this from my parents recently.

An uncle of mine took trains to work every day for many years. On the morning trains he performed the daily biological unloads.

After he retired, he found out he could no longer unload at home, so he kept on taking the trains for round trips.

March 19, 2017

The shape of the words

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 2:31 pm

Recently, I contacted Ken Anjyo via his email account, which is spelled in English. When he replied, his Japanese name 安生健一 appeared in front of his email address.

If you can read Chinese alphabets, including Kanji for Japanese and Hanja for Korean, you can probably see the meaning of this name before you hear its sounds. (A direct Chinese translation would be: safe-birth-health-first, and overall the name looks very healthy/stable/safe.) I actually do not know how to pronounce the name in Japanese; fortunately that does not prevent me from comprehending the semantics. (There is some phonetic similarity among some Chinese/Japanese/Korean words and phrases, but not much.)

This is a key difference between Asian and European languages.
When I read Chinese, I see.
When I read English, I hear.

March 17, 2017


Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 3:45 pm
Tags: ,

I have been having nightmares for the past few months (or years?).

This quote made me realize the cause:

“It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live.” – Marcus Aurelius

Now I need to address it.

March 16, 2017

When others try to beat us down, we go up

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 1:00 pm

I am the only one who can beat myself.
You are the only one who can beat yourself.

March 13, 2017

Swamped in review loads

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 3:55 pm
Tags: ,

When I am 88
If I will be so lonely
To miss review fests

March 8, 2017

I almost dropped out of my PhD study

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 1:10 pm
Tags: ,

I joined the Stanford computer graphics lab in 1996 summer after passing the entrance test of porting the light field viewer from SGI to PC. When Pat Hanrahan gave his (last ?) SIGGRAPH talk, I was hiding on stage behind him, doing some live demos while trying not to screw up.

After that, I had no idea what I was supposed to do, so I attempted at least 20 different projects. At some point I almost dropped out to join a certain startup (well if I did I probably could retire by now, but who knows). Fortunately, my advisor, Marc Levoy, was very supportive. Eventually I took courses taught by Robert Gray and David Heeger, whose TSVQ and texture synthesis works inspired me to do a course project. I wrote it up and submitted my first single-authored paper to SIGGRAPH 1999, with scathing reviews, mostly because I did not know how to write yet. I took a writing class, and with the help of my adviser, submitted it again next year which eventually became my first SIGGRAPH paper, in 2000, 4 years after I started my PhD program.

For PhD candidates concerned about not publishing enough in their first, second, or even third year, I hope my experience can help you chill out.
I doubt how many of you could have done worse than I did during the initial period.
Granted, your situation might be different from mine (e.g. some degree program is only 4 years and your adviser might not be as cool as mine), but I want to let you know that your PhD study is likely the only period in your life that you can literally try anything you like without the real consequences of failure. So have fun, and you can learn something from everything you have tried, as I did from these 20+ projects.

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