Confessions of a researchaholic

March 29, 2016

HKU CS student recruiting

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 3:36 pm

The HKU CS department is recruiting top students for our PhD and intern programs.

Good luck and have fun!

March 27, 2016

Equality versus fairness

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 11:05 am
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A CEO gets paid 100 times the average employee salary. It is definitely not equal. But is it fair? The answer depends on whether the CEO has contributed 100 times than the average employees.

It is not always easy to tell fairness from equality, but it is important not to confuse the two.

Fairness should be maintained, but it is unfair and counter-productive to enforce equality.

Algorithmic species

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 11:04 am
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Algorithms can already devise algorithms and write programs.

It is just a matter of time before they can do that in a scale massive enough to displace many, if not most, programming jobs, just like what robots have already done to the manufacturing jobs.

WYSIWYG editor

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 11:02 am
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Some people told me that they prefer Word over Latex for paper writing due to a more direct WYSIWYG interface.

It is true that using Latex is more like coding than writing. But is Word really more WYSIWYG?

One of my PhD students, J, is interning with a top HCI lab that prefers Word. J already has first-authored multiple SIGGRAPH papers via Latex, but had difficulty figuring out how to use Word, such as citations and cross references, even after the internship mentor provided a previous paper Word file for example.

The main problem of a binary file like Word is that it shows what is there but not how it got there.
Take citations as an example. Even starting with a complete paper, there is no way to tell how to add a new citation just by looking at the file alone. One has to search online or via the in app help.

In contrast, a source file like Latex shows how everything is done, even though we have to take an extra compilation step to see what it looks like. But that can be a single command with a makefile, which also clearly shows how to build everything.

The ideal tool should allow authoring in both directions: on the source (like Latex) with outcome immediately visible (like Word), or on the outcome (like Word) with the source automatically modified.
But for now, Latex is more WYSIWYG than Word for me.

March 24, 2016

Recording and sharing presentation

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 9:43 am
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Talks are usually easier to understand than the corresponding papers. To get accepted, papers need to be written in a way that look formal and rigorous, but not necessarily easy to understand. However, when authors present their (accepted) papers, they tend to cut the chase and talk straight.

In the past, people have to attend conferences for the talks.
Nowadays, everyone can easily share their talk slides online.
Better yet, record and share your presentations as videos (e.g. via PowerPoint). This can be done during practices or official presentation.
You do practice your talks, right? So why not record during your rehearsals, so that you can review now and share later.
Recording in official presentation might be trickier, e.g. the conference may prefer presenters using a shared machine and the recording might disrupt your presentation, but can be worth a try.

I have not done this for my own talks, but realized it can be a good idea after watching a few recorded talks online. I really appreciate the efforts from the authors, and plan to do so for my future talks.

March 22, 2016

Some stuff I learned from recent interactions

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 5:29 pm

[from a senior colleague]
Always be nice to people, or at least be gentle and polite.

Leadership requires doing what should be done but others don’t.

[from a former advisee]
Do not hesitate to ask people for help. I used to be tough and avoid troubling others. But since I am very happy helping him, some people might feel the same towards me.

Try and learn new stuff like a junior grad student.

[from a group of HCI collaborators]
Writing papers in MS Word will not kill me. Find tools to help the collaborative process.

[from the US patent office]
It can take 12 years to grant a patent!

March 17, 2016

Maintaining success for the long term

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 10:02 am
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I found inspirations from this Q/A session between Sam Altman and Michael Moritz not only for startups but anyone who needs to deal with an ever changing environment: do not sit on the past, keep a fresh team, and change with the future.

March 11, 2016

Why it is fun to review journal papers

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 1:15 pm
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After kindly agreeing to review a journal revision for the N-th time, the guy commented that “it’s the gift that keeps on giving!” 🙂

Conversation with collaborator X prior to a SIGGRAPH rebuttal

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 1:11 pm
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X: I’m really eager to see what the SIGGRAPH reviewers have in store for us this time… The suspense is killing me. =o

Li-Yi: I just assume they will screw me, and I am never disappointed. 🙂

X: Yes, that’s what I do as well, but I’m always amazed about how they always find ways to complain about the stuff you don’t expect. 😮

Li-Yi: If I can expect what others will think, I will be like some sort of x-men or superman. 🙂

March 8, 2016

一葉知秋

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 12:47 pm
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“You can observe a lot by just watching” – Yogi Berra

Sometimes some very little things can reveal a lot of useful information. Just watch carefully.

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