Confessions of a researchaholic

June 27, 2018

Project pivot versus switch

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 12:03 pm
Tags: ,

When we get stuck in a project, the issues could lay on the project or us.
For the former, switching to a different project might help.
For the latter, we should fix our own issues as otherwise no project will work out.

It is not always clear where the issues are.
But if someone keeps on switching projects, it could be a sign of individual instead of project issues.

Even if a project does not work out, it is usually better to pivot by continuous transforming the ideas during progress, instead of discontinuous switch to a separate project without coherence.

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June 8, 2018


Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 9:54 am
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Aside from rare exceptions like Steve Jobs or Albert Einstein, people usually do not care who is behind an invention or discovery.
(As a quick experiment, can you name the Nobel Prize winners in the most recent year, especially if you are not working in the related fields?)

Thus, I would prioritize our outcomes over our egos for publicity.

June 7, 2018

Almost compromised principle

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 9:43 am

A student asked to submit our project to a non-top venue Y due to her/his school graduation requirement and study time frame, which I agreed out of necessity.

A few days ago, I noticed that (s)he changed the paper format from venue Y to a top venue X, right in front of the deadline, without even pinging me.

March 1, 2018

Review fest

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 3:56 pm

I spent about 63 hours reviewing 23 papers during the last month or so. I did all these during the evenings and weekends so that I can focus on research and coding during “official” work hours. I felt my head is spinning a bit, but such intense reviews are the best antidote for post SIGGRAPH deadline withdrawal which I have suffered in the past as a professor for which paper reviewing felt like the “official” part of the job.

Adobe has this nice matching-grants program which can convert paper reviewing hours for charity donations. So now my paper review efforts can be counted as volunteer activities and I won’t feel guilty next time I don’t give money to random beggars on the streets.

February 22, 2018

Replicability stamp

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 10:47 am

The replicability stamp requires more than just the source code, such as datasets and scripts to replicate all results and timing information in the paper.

That may seem a lot of work, but is totally worth it.

First of all, it is a good practice to manage a research project from day one for replicability; a script that can reproduce all current results can help debugging and collaboration. I did that even for my single authored projects.

Even if we have not started the project in that way, it is still worth doing due to the amount of leverage as Andy Grove called in his seminal book “High Output Management”. A single unit of efforts we put in for replicability can potentially benefit many people who want to apply, reproduce, or compare against your works.
You would be more popular, your papers would get more citations and follow-ups, and nowadays many recruiters look at GitHub repos.

February 12, 2018

Replicability versus reproducibility

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 10:18 am

There are some technical definitions (e.g. here), but allow me to put it more succinctly:

Reproducibility – people believe they can replicate the methods and outcomes based on the information provided in the research documents.

Replicability – they can really do so.


January 1, 2018


Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 12:39 pm
Tags: ,

This has been a widely discussed topic, but when it comes to academic publishing, focus on quality over quantity.

Take my PhD adviser as an example. At this moment, he has “only” 27 journal papers and 40 conference papers according to dblp, but nearly 40000 citations, including 10+ papers with 1000+ citations, according to Google scholar.
In comparison, there are people around his seniority and in our fields (for calibration) with roughly 10-times publications but only one-tenth of citations.
(Citation is one of the mostly commonly used measure for quality/impact, but others are possible, such as products.)

He once told me that the best timing to publish papers is when people beg us to do so (using Brain Curless’ first SIGGRAPH paper as an example). That is probably too extreme, but publishing low quality papers not only wastes our time (it is better to go out and play) but also dilutes our reputation.

December 17, 2017

Q and A

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 12:19 pm
Tags: ,

Sometimes the answers are hard to find because we ask the wrong questions.

October 7, 2017

Dream catcher

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 9:23 am
Tags: ,

Waking up in the middle of the night, sometimes I can remember ideas from my dreams.

September 6, 2017

Co-managing research materials

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 5:14 pm

Instead of hosting research materials on our own servers (as I did in the old days for both ongoing projects and published outcomes), it is more flexible to share on GitHub/Bitbucket public/private repos that need revision control, and store the compiled files in other services, such as papers on research gate or semantic scholar, videos via YouTube/Vimeo, etc.

With this setup, the co-authors can edit the research together, and I have less to worry about server management.

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