Confessions of a researchaholic

April 28, 2020

External visibility and internal reputation

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 9:12 am

External visibility is public domain information for everyone to see, such as publications and patents.
Internal reputation is often proprietary and known only inside our institution, such as design or implementation for a product.

Our internal reputation is more important for the particular jobs (e.g., performance reviews and rewards), but that often contains confidential information which only a few colleagues can vouch for.

Both are important for our careers. For example, when we want to switch jobs, most people can only evaluate our external visibility and will require references to vet our internal reputation.
Thus, it is important to maintain a good balance of both.
I am lucky enough to enjoy doing both (e.g., publications and products).

April 27, 2020

Sketching the portrait relief on a 50-TWD coin

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 10:14 pm
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Coin reliefs are usually shallow and thus contain intricate shading variations.

Research continuity

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 5:34 pm

Without continual practice, some skills, once mastered, will mostly remain with us, such as driving a car or riding a bicycle, while others tend to atrophy, especially during the early learning stages.

In my observations for computer science, research requires constant engagement to keep top performance.
I stopped research publications around 2001 to 2003 while focusing on GPU architecture, which reduced my research output and took me significant efforts later to get back to form (e.g., single-author a paper during weekends and evenings).
Research (at least in CS) can easily become rusty probably because it involves many delicate skills, such as literature, ideation, algorithm, code, demo, writing, and presentation.
Even if we can more easily get back to some of these (e.g., coding, which feels like riding a bicycle to me), missing any others could still throw us off balance (in particular ideation and familiarity with state of art, which are related).

Thus, if you are a graduating CS student and you want to keep research opportunity open for your future career, it is important to find a first job that you can continue your research in some way.
(Not necessarily academia, as I think I can have more time doing research in a top industry lab than as an assistance professor.)
Otherwise, you might never be able to come back.

April 26, 2020

Sketching the portrait relief on a 5-CHF coin

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 11:01 pm
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The Rodin sculptures in Stanford have been my favorite portrait-drawing subjects but they are less accessible during the current lock-down.
Today I realized that we all have some mini portrait sculptures around us: the head reliefs on the obverse sides of the coins.

PS: I obtained this coin from Hallenbad City in Zurich for the swimming pool locker room.

April 25, 2020

Drawing a tree stump

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 4:33 pm
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This is an exercise for me to see and draw the relevant visual cues (such as the signature tree rings) without being distracted by extra details (such as the complex bark patterns).

Virtual meetings

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 11:38 am
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I usually share my screen instead of my face during virtual meetings.
I believe people mostly care about my content than what I look like.

The reason Zoom calls drain your energy

April 22, 2020

Experiment with painting mediums

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 11:30 pm
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I drew a plate of grapes in different mediums: oil, watercolor, graphite, vector, to explore their varying visual effects.
The process took longer that I thought, so at the end of the night I was too sleepy to remember signing the paintings, which I did the next morning.

Remote internship

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 1:24 pm
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I have experiences in remote collaboration and mentoring.
I did not need research meetings and I did not meet the first authors of some of my papers until before the conference presentations.
(I have yet to meet the first-author of my latest CHI 2020 paper for which the physical conference is canceled.)

However, there are important aspects that are difficult to emulate remotely beyond research and technical works in research internships, such as serendipitous encounters with different people and immersions in different environments.

Thus, I have been thinking about what would be good alternatives or replacements for remote internships (or research collaborations in general) that can best emulate on-site experiences?
If you have ideas, feel free to share with me.

One (Adobe-specific) possibility I have been thinking about is artistic creation via various tools, suitable for remote and asynchronous communications and yet different from and complementary to technical research.

April 21, 2020

Mimetic desire

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 9:21 am
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It takes intelligent and independent minds to desire what are really wanted.

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