Confessions of a researchaholic

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.

And then the murders began

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 10:14 am
Tags: ,

Technical paper authors could also get into the propulsive, forward-moving action, and to provide any necessary backstory more actively.
The outcome may be more fun and less dry for readers.

March 7, 2017

Testing and debugging code

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 5:55 pm

This post is meant for newbies.

Basically, your code should be highly modular, consisting of well-designed classes and functions. Then, unit test each module. This is much easier than trying to debug a large system, or a monolithic piece of code.

I debug almost entirely based on intuition, and never relied on any low level tools like tracers, even when I was a beginner.

For the ray tracing exercise, if you start with the Shirley series, the code should already be modular and incremental. After you finish that, you should have better foundation to design modular code for the ray tracing book by Glassner et al.

Feel free to ask specific questions (e.g. via the comments field of this post), and I will answer by updating and improving this post.

March 5, 2017


Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 5:18 pm

I instinctively ignored this upon first sighting a few days ago, but it popped up again on my social feed. I read it, and found the report fascinating.

There are two links under that article providing 2 ways for the said personality test: one via FB likes, another via questionnaire. Out of curiosity, I tried both, as a test of consistency. The results differ quite a lot. I guess this is because I use Facebook as a friendlier version of LinkedIn (I didn’t realize this until my wife told me so a few days ago), so it probably doesn’t reflect my personality well.

This is just a sample size of one, but I suspect how many people truly reveal themselves on social networks, and this can influence the accuracy of such data analysis algorithms.

February 24, 2017

F*** you money

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 1:15 pm

I did some calculation a while ago and concluded that no amount of money will suffice. Instead, it is much better to have f*** you talents/skills/capabilities.

This recent case, as reported by wired and bloomberg, may have a good chance to prove my conjecture.

February 14, 2017

Ghost in the Shell

Filed under: Imaginary,Real — liyiwei @ 5:20 pm

There is a peculiar kind of pleasure for senior people to reminisce their junior experiences, as I discovered after getting older.

The first trailer closely matches the original anime, which is also available on Netflix.

Like many contemporary Japanese anime, the story can be confusing for people not familiar with the genre. But it seems quite clear from the second trailer, and different from the original story.

Race can be a sensitive issue for Hollywood, but watch how the Japanese react to the casting of this movie. This should be no surprise for people who understand the Japanese culture in general.

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