Confessions of a researchaholic

October 4, 2021

Don’t practice until you get it right. Practice until you can’t get it wrong.

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 9:12 am
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I would do this if I have an infinite amount of time. But my life is finite, so I have to weigh the opportunity costs.

September 25, 2021

Job title

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 10:22 am
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Among all the aspects of a job, title has probably the largest ratio of what people care about psychologically over the practical cost/value/importance.
It cost an employer little-to-nothing to dish out prestigious-sounding job titles.

August 18, 2021

How to schedule meetings

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 2:36 pm
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First, ask whether a meeting is really necessary. More often than not, the discussion can be better conducted asynchronously via other means.

Then, schedule the meeting to be as short as possible. Some people have the tendency (or the desire) to talk as mush as possible to fill all the allocated time. I schedule most, if not all, my meetings to be no more than 30 minutes, and found that works well so far.

July 15, 2021

Fill the board with calculus

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 9:46 am
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I heard from this podcast about how Dr. Cecilia Conrad was advised to, instead of making her lectures too clear, “fill the board with calculus” to establish her credential for students who thought she was an “affirmative action hire”.

I know plenty people, my past self included, who are natural board-calculus fillers by overwhelming technical communications such as research papers and presentations with math/algorithm details, and need to reverse what Dr. Cecilia Conrad did.

March 9, 2021

Constructive versus positive feedback

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 10:28 am
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Positive opinions are emotionally pleasant.
Constructive opinions may not feel positive, but can propel future improvement.

Which you prefer?

February 28, 2021

Straight strokes

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 3:55 pm
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For some mental or physical reasons, I lack control for hand strokes.
As a little kid, I was told by the school teachers that my handwriting was so bad that it will dim my future.
But that shortly became a moot point right before I started programming on computers.

A few decades later, when I started to pick up drawing, one of the first instruction books advocates practicing straight strokes before anything else, which paused my progress for years as I never have the patience for rote practice.
I later switched to another book that emphasizes natural contours, which jump-started my drawing progress.

I still cannot control hand-strokes at this moment of writing, but that doesn’t seem to matter, and I haven’t even turned on automatic stroke smoothing common in drawing applications.

Advices can help, but only combined with our own unique situations.

October 26, 2020

Research goal post

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 10:09 am
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In my personal experience, there are two ways to guide a research project: solving a specific problem with whatever solutions that work the best (based on a variety of criteria such as quality, speed, cost, etc.), and devising a novel idea that can span different problems, domains, and applications.

The problem-oriented approach happens more in engineering (which aims to solve practical problems) while the idea-oriented approach happens more in science (especially more theoretical fields like math which aim to formulate fundamental ideas behind a plethora of phenomena).
Solving a specific problem provides a clear goal and reduces the tendency to derail, while aiming for ideas is more likely to work after one has already worked on related problems so as to condense the experiences into the core forms.

October 12, 2020

Vertical versus horizontal colleague

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 5:14 pm
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During the last 1-1 with a direct report who will transfer to another team, I found I prefer talking to him as a friend than as a manager.
I wonder if this reflects my style of influencing.

August 8, 2020

Sharing paper source with publisher

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 9:00 am
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Some publishers like ACM might ask for the source files to compile the camera ready papers. My understanding is that they need the source to tune the paper format, instead of publishing the source. Thus, it should be OK to share the source directly with the publisher.
If you have concerns about internal annotations such as author discussions not meant for the final paper, just clean up the source via arXiv Latex cleaner or something similar.

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