Confessions of a researchaholic

February 22, 2014

Be different

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 1:37 am
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This is likely a unique local phenomenon, but I often see these student representatives wearing suits and sitting in meetings for various organizations.

It is extremely difficult for me to understand why anyone wants to do this. Young people should dream of being different instead of rushing into conformity.

Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.

- Steve Jobs

December 23, 2013

Dear Asian students

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 6:10 pm
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Not having to observe Western holidays is your competitive advantage. Don’t squander it.

December 1, 2013

Next time you think you are finished, watch this

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 10:40 am
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See here for more information.

November 24, 2013

Civil disobedience

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 9:44 pm
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November 8, 2013

How to do CHI rebuttal

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 6:23 pm
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I think the basic points are the same as with any rebuttal. The main difference between CHI/UIST and most other venues (e.g. SIGGRAPH) is the addition of meta reviews which might provide helpful summaries for rebuttal.

More tips can be found via twitter, such as this and that.

November 4, 2013

Plan what you do

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 9:46 pm
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While focusing on rushing a project it can be difficult to stop and think about the overall picture, but without that you could end up wasting a lot of time in the wrong stuff.

Spend a few minutes writing down the plan, rationale, and whatever thoughts you have at the beginning of each day before the crunch begins. This little initial investment can greatly enhance the eventual efficiency and happiness.

If you are my collaborator I can vet your sanity through your write ups. I am not looking for a PhD thesis; just a few sentences will be enough.

October 17, 2013


Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 6:23 pm
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A capital crime for computer science is manual repetition of uninteresting tasks. You will be happier and more productive by proper automation, which, coincidentally, is a main job for computer scientists.

For example, instead of sitting up all night tuning parameters of an experiment, you can write a script to try over a million settings over night while you go home sleep or have a fun time in Lan Kwai Fong.

October 14, 2013


Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 1:48 pm
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I stumbled upon this article about group brainstorming today.

It echoed well with my own personal experiences and my general take that meetings are almost always completely useless for research/creative works.
I do meetings only when absolutely necessary, such as resolving major confusions or conflicts among multiple team members, evaluating live demonstrations of a UI design, and interviewing (i.e. reading) people.

Some managers and administrators like meetings. Fight them with all your power. Do not let less intelligent people waste your time or reduce your effectiveness.

October 2, 2013

Sharing experience

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 10:17 pm

I received the following question:

I just had an interesting email conversation with a PhD I don’t know in XXX University as below. I was suggested to share my experience via blogs to new graphics researchers. On one hand I think sharing my experiences may increase my impact in the research community. On the other hand I seriously doubt whether I’m qualified or senior enough to do so. Another reason I tend not to publish my experience is that I know many stronger and smarter researchers who work very hard and yet remain silent. Would you please let me know your comments?

My answer:

If someone asks your advice, it is already evidence for your qualification.

In particular, if you are my advisee and you can survive me, you should tell others how you did it.

The same (or similar) question is likely to be asked by others, so it is better to post up your answer once for all. This reduces your workload and benefits more people.
(I started blogging mainly to avoid repeating answering the same questions over and over.)

I am not sure how many advices out there are actually qualified. So do not hesitate if you think yours are even remotely so.

There is no such thing as seniority in terms of sharing. Some of the best research blogs I have seen are written by grad students, as they are in the more relevant career stage compared to more senior professors or researchers.
(My memory for my grad school days is already fuzzy, except that I spent a lot of time playing video games and my office mate was Ravi and some undergrads mistook me as his TA.)

I always want to know the secrets of those stronger and smarter researchers who remain silent.

Last but not least: I also want to read and learn from your blog!

September 25, 2013

Job season

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 6:38 pm
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I am in a constant process of helping students and postdocs landing jobs.

One thing I find very common and extremely interesting is the discrepancy between self-perception and reality. That is, candidates tend to have a higher estimation about their own qualifications (and thus higher expectation about the job offers they will get) than what reality would warrant.

This is just human nature. There is very little I can do; few took my advice, and many learned the hard way. But I guess this is how life works.

Humility is a virtue that we all learn eventually, one way or another.

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