Confessions of a researchaholic

May 19, 2018

Antisocial irrationality

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 3:18 pm
Tags: ,

In a recent party I attended I did not socialize as much as I should. I was either too arrogant to think talking to people is not worth the time compared to just idly walking around, or too lazy to chat which is not difficult for me at all.

If I am in a social gathering, I should talk to people; otherwise I should just go somewhere else to do something useful.

In a future party, if you find me antisocial (not abnormal, which is normal for me), please remind me that I am behaving irrationally.

May 18, 2018


Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 3:40 pm

The Uber driver who took me to YUL is from Bajaia and speaks French, English, Arabic, and Berbere. It is Ramadan so he could not eat or drink from 3:30 am to 8:30 pm. I told him that I like to visit North Africa.

May 16, 2018

Paper committee referrals

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 2:47 pm

In case you wonder, I have been referring you guys to some paper committees, like PG, ACCV, SIBGRAPHI, etc. It is a win-win for everyone: you guys get good learning experiences on your resumes and I can save some bandwidth for other tasks. I will let you decide whether you want to take the jobs; responsible reviews take significant efforts. I will never refer you to fishy paper committees (e.g. those purely for profits). Enjoy!

May 15, 2018


Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 7:15 pm

The Uber drive that picked me up from YUL has a math degree from Concordia but could not find a job in Montreal as he could not speak French.

May 6, 2018


Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 5:19 pm
Tags: ,

As an interesting coincidence, after finishing a privacy training I watched this movie.

“I give the fight up: let there be an end, a privacy, an obscure nook for me. I want to be forgotten even by God.” – Robert Browning

April 27, 2018

Midnight PhD thesis committee

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 1:42 am

PhD defense
Remote midnight local
Awake I must

April 24, 2018

Early morning dream

Filed under: Imaginary,Real — liyiwei @ 9:14 am

I was taking an exam. I thought the duration is 3 hours, so I decided to finish a paper review first. The review took me about 80 minutes, but then the examiner informed me that the exam is actually 90 minutes. I tried to finish the exam in 10 minutes only to find out that the paper is made of a wet towel so I could not write anything.

April 22, 2018


Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 1:39 pm

If I could foresee my entire life I might have made some choices differently. But since I cannot I have no regret so far.

April 15, 2018

More about choosing graduate programs

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 5:19 pm

Recently several people asked me about choosing graduate programs. I answered about this before, but some specific cases might still help.

Q: Choose a program that offers financial support over one that does not.

This is certainly a sensible decision, especially if you are cash strapped, even though that is not what I did (see below).

Q: Choose a MS program that is more likely to lead to the PhD program of the same school/department.

In general yes, if you can find a good adviser whom you can convince to take you as a PhD student by doing good research with him or her.

Q: Choose between a school/adviser good at a direction or a methodology

These are different. For example, you might be interested in computer graphics (direction) and want to apply machine learning (methodology) in some way. Should you choose a professor in computer graphics who knows a bit (but not much) about machine learning, or a machine learning expert who is not really doing computer graphics?

Always pick the one who is better at identifying the problems (directions) than the one who is better at suggesting solutions (methods). Solving a wrong problem (unimportant, too easy, too difficult, too crowded, etc.) can completely derail your research career. In contrast, you can find domain experts to collaborate after identifying a good direction.

[I will add more when I receive more questions.]

When I made my decision more than 20 years ago, it was pretty easy: I wanted to go to a top school in the Bay Area, so I basically had only two choices. And I heard from one around Christmas but not another one until the next April or May. What was more difficult is that I only got scholarships from schools in the east coast, and my family preferred me to go there.

March 18, 2018

Productivity, rest, and distraction

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 4:56 pm

Recently, I read several good articles from World Economic Forum about
distraction, nap, and productivity.


Sometimes when I needed a break, I went to Slack, email, or social networks, only to find out that I was simply context switching to another task: more work, less focus, no relax.
So now I forced myself to simply take a walk, look out the window, or causal chat with people; anything that will NOT fork another work thread.


I took naps all the time, and I plan to keep on doing it.


Planning is important, but sometimes I found it much simpler to just pick something and do it to avoid over-thinking.
When I feel over-whelmed or hard to decide, it is usually a sign that all the tasks at hand are similarly important.

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