Confessions of a researchaholic

December 12, 2015


Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 8:28 pm

During my PhD study, I observed how my adviser continued to code and experiment for his own projects, even after being very well established – tenured Stanford professor, computer graphics achievement award, etc.

After graduation I spent a decade in the industry as an engineer and researcher. For companies I worked for (NVIDIA and Microsoft), not coding feels worse than not talking (unless you are a manager).
Even when I consult (e.g. Lytro), I still opt to implement, even if the code cannot be shared due to IP reasons.

Thus, implementation has become an integral part of my workflow.
I found it the best way to (really) learn new topics, and more importantly a highly enjoyable process; I lose some mental balance without coding for more than a few days.

Maybe I am not smart enough, but I never understand why some CS people can get by without implementation.

For my past projects I either code with experienced collaborators, or leave it to the students for topics that I am already familiar with.
I have never code with a junior student in the same project, but I am starting that for a black-magic-like project.
I think this could be fun and mutually beneficial, and will report the experience later.

December 9, 2015

The PhD grind

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 6:10 pm
Tags: ,

I bumped into this PhD student memoir by Philip Guo, and liked it so much that I read the entire book within a few hours.

I highly recommend it to anyone doing research, especially junior PhD students.

There are many advices out there about research and PhD, but this memoir format provides concrete events that are easier to relate on a personal level.
It also helped that the fields covered are HCI and software engineering, which every CS major can understand to some degree.

In retrospect, I hope to have written something similar around the time of my PhD study. Back then I simply had too much fun for this, and I probably have too much selective bias now to write a genuine one.
But if you can write one, I would love to read.

December 3, 2015

How to judge potential conflict with multiple projects

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 6:29 pm

Working on concurrent projects with sufficient similarity may cause potential conflict of interests.

The way I will judge it is asking the following question: how likely is it for me to come up with an idea that can help both projects in a non-trivial way? If the answer is yes, then I might be in conflict, as I will have to choose which project to use that idea.

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