Confessions of a researchaholic

April 27, 2020

Research continuity

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 5:34 pm
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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.

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