Confessions of a researchaholic

January 29, 2016

School versus job performance

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 4:29 pm
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How predictive is the school performance for the eventual job (and life) performance of an individual?

This is a very important question. The schools are supposed to educate what is actually useful. (But clearly that is not the case in practice.)

This is also a very broad question under perennial discussion.

In my personal experiences on the creative side of computer science (e.g. research and development for the cutting edge of graphics and HCI), there is a weak positive correlation between school and job performance (around 0.2 to 0.3 if I have to be numeric).
Good school performance reflects positive traits such as talent and work ethics, but also negative traits such as conformity, lack of creativity, and risk aversion.

This is why standard statistics, like grades, schools, and rankings, are not enough and sometimes even misleading. We have to look at more practical evidence, such as publications, projects, and recommendations.

This is also why recruiting top students and employees is very challenging. Top schools and companies do have advantages in attracting top talents, but we only get what we look for. Many of the best people I have worked so far had been bypassed by the traditional screening standards. Conversely, I have also seen many weak people in top institutions.

Maybe one day data analysis and machine learning will solve this problem.
Before that, I rely on the good old way of people reading.

Research opening

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 12:53 pm
Tags: ,

February 22 2016 update: I managed to spend all the expiring grant money already.

I have several opening research positions. Please contact me if interested, and help spread the information.

You pick whatever topic you like to do as long as (1) it can be published in a top graphics or HCI venue (e.g. SIGGRAPH, SIGGRAPH Asia, ToG, UIST, CHI), and (2) I have enough interests and expertise to help you.

Send me a brief description of your research plans along with the usual information, like your resume. Tell me why you want to work with me and how I can help you.

The first period will begin anytime from now and end on April 14 2016.
I can extend your contract if your performance is good enough.

These will be HKU positions, but other than school requirements you can work anywhere you like.

If you like to continue involve your current advisers or collaborators, just let me know. I usually like to know and collaborate with different people.

I have an expiring research grant that needs to be consumed prior to April 14 2016, and the remaining can be used only for hiring staff.

January 26, 2016

How to write grant proposals

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 6:24 pm

I used to think that writing grants is a necessary evil, but now I realized it is a great way to plan research at a high level, beyond individual papers or projects.

Basically, it is not just about writing what you plan to do. You are essentially authoring a top paper, but not yet published.

Another thing I didn’t learn in the industry: decreasing the speed of publishing a paper can increase the chance of getting a grant.
More specifically, good research alone may suffice for publishing papers, but grants are given to projects that still have sufficient future works.
A fundable project needs to strike the right balance between finished and unfinished works.
Leaning too much towards the former has been the main reason for my grant proposal rejections so far.

January 24, 2016

How to deal with scoops

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 11:16 am

Ideas that can be easily scooped are probably incremental.

Just move on to a better idea, and use that to beat those who steal your idea.

And be careful with whom you share ideas in the future.

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