Confessions of a researchaholic

July 28, 2015

The twin prime conjecture

Filed under: Imaginary,Real — liyiwei @ 2:55 pm
Tags: ,

No matter how odd you are, you might not be alone.

July 27, 2015

Aaron Swartz on how to hire

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 9:51 am

This guy knows how to hire, at his early twenties, better than most people I have seen.

The best way to evaluate whether someone can do a certain job is to make them do it, in a smaller scale that is feasible to deploy and yet realistic to the real job.

Hiring students adds another layer of difficulty due to their potential to grow and change. We are evaluating whether they can eventually do top research, which cannot be predicted based on what they have done in the past such as grades.

July 24, 2015

How I decompose social network usage

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 10:27 am

Blog: writing with sufficient length, especially answers to common questions that I try not to repeat

Google+: sharing and discussing links/articles, usually in medium length; excellent UI design but unfortunately a ghost town but fortunately I do not care

Twitter: short writing, usually some form of jokes or pranks; only occasional use

Facebook: personal stuff which I almost have none, horrible UI but unfortunately most of my friends are there

July 20, 2015


Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 11:47 am

I have heard enough saying that SIGGRAPH Asia simply accepts papers rejected by SIGGRAPH, and thus is of lower quality.

This is not my business and in any case I do not care an iota what others think. But any scientifically questionable statement deserves to be rebuked.

Both SIGGRAPH and SIGGRAPH Asia have similar acceptance rates, and are hold at the same review standard in my personal experiences (as authors, reviewers, and committee members).
If you have ever reviewed a SIGGRAPH Asia submission you probably have received instructions from the paper chairs about holding the same quality bar as SIGGRAPH.

In my personal record (up until SIGGRAPH 2015), I have 4 papers rejected by SIGGRAPH Asia and accepted by the next SIGGRAPH, and 4 the other way around. So it is about the same.

The real difference lies not in the quality bar but the (geographic) venue.
As a presenter I do prefer SIGGRAPH due to the usually larger audience.
But I also know others who prefer SIGGRAPH Asia due to visa and travel issues.

July 18, 2015

Write paper introduction to vet research ideas

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 11:04 am

The introduction part of top research papers shares the following common structure, which I use to vet and hone potential ideas while drafting the paper/project:

What problem we are trying to solve.
Why it is important, and why people should care.
[Picking the right problem is the most important stage of a research project. Proceed only if this part is very convincing.]

What prior works have done, and why they are not adequate.
Say only high level big ideas. Details should go to a previous work section.
[If you can find only details but not big ideas, it is a sign that the problem domain is saturated.]

What our method can offer: sales pitch for concrete benefits, not technical details.
[Imagine we are doing a Super-Bowl commercial here; every second costs millions of dollars. Lacking of significant benefits is a sign that the idea is incremental.]

Our main idea, giving people a take home message and (if possible) see how clever we are.
[“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” – Albert Einstein]

Our algorithms and methods to show technical contributions and that our solutions are not trivial.
[This part is less important for truly brilliant ideas, but still necessary for the rest majority.]

What are the (anticipated) results, applications, and benefits; stuff ordinary people would care in the real-world.
[Let’s do something really useful.]

July 12, 2015

Fail fast

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 2:30 pm

If you are mentoring someone who is clearly not suitable for the profession, and you think you are being nice by keeping him/her as long as possible, you are actually doing a big disservice to everyone because:

. The time and efforts you sink on that individual can be more effectively spent on other tasks, including mentoring other more qualified people.

. That someone can be happier and more successful at doing something else. You are delaying or (worse) depriving his/her opportunity.

. You are degrading the performance and reputation of yourself and your institution.

. That someone can set up a bad example and cast off negative influence to nearby people.

. You are wasting money and resources sponsored by taxpayers or shareholders.

July 6, 2015


Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 10:36 am
Tags: ,

I chose engineering over medicine as my college major, mainly because the engineers understand their systems much better than the biologists.

(Ever since as a kid I can sense that the doctors do not know what is really going on inside my body, so I try to fix myself as much as possible before my parents can drag me to a hospital. The most complex software system pales in comparison to the human bodies.)

But that is before I touched economics, which turned out to be even hackier. As Soros said, social systems are reflexive.

July 4, 2015

Neural inceptionism art

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

I have decided to feed the art works by (or related to) my father, grandfather, great*** grandfathers, etc., to this neural network inceptionism code.

Below are some results. Each group consists of the original image, and the results amplified for low and high level neurons.

巷尾 ~ At the end of the lane

戲院街的後巷 ~ The back side of theater street

巷弄內望見普德宮的廟頂 ~ temple top


Calligraphy, uniform font size

Calligraphy, varying font sizes


Kublai Khan


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