Confessions of a researchaholic

March 23, 2020

Networked creativity

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 10:57 am
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I used to think that individual creativity is essential to succeed in a research career, either academic or industrial, until I saw people who managed to compensate their lack of creativity (or more general talent/effort) with socializing and networking to leverage up their apparent productivity.

March 18, 2020

How to clarify technical writings

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 1:06 pm
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There are two ways to clarify writing: modifying existing texts, and rewriting from scratch.
These two can be combined in some way and thus not exclusive.
Sometimes, if the writing has fundamental structure issues, it could help to sketch out a fresh outline aiming for a general audience without deep knowledge of the topic.
This exercise could then provide a roadmap for subsequent steps.

March 7, 2020

Information flow

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 11:11 am
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Watching the real-time electric power flow among the grid, solar, battery, and home, I like to be able to see similar flow visualizations for our buildings (e.g., heat, water, gas) and bodies (e.g., calorie, cholesterol, blood sugar) so that we can be more informed to take care of our internal health and external environment.

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New toy at home

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February 20, 2020

How to bring up a research student

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 5:34 pm
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My approach can be titled as “multi-resolution mentoring”, depending on the skill set and development stage of the student.

For students who can already single-author SIGGRAPH papers, there is not much need for a mentor.

For students who can already develop and implement ideas, guide them on high level direction and building a project from proper components.
A good project often has more potential that can be done for a single paper, and thus it is important to scope it properly so that it contains the right amount of contributions and materials, neither too much nor too little.
We likely need to write the paper (and script the video) to guide this process.
If the direction is big enough, plan several projects/publications.

For students who can develop and implement detailed algorithms but lacks ideas, brainstorm with them as much as possible, to best fit their interests and leverage their strengths.

For students who can implement but not develop ideas and algorithms, give them specific instructions, such as algorithms in the level of pseudo-code via paper drafts.

For students who have difficulty with basic implementation, they are not ready for research and should go back to practice coding, e.g. reproducing algorithms from their favorite papers.
Never write code for them as that would consume our time and hamper their growth.

For students who get stuck in the development ladder, at some point we might have to suggest alternative career options which might be more suitable than research.

At some stage of your career, you might find developing talents even more satisfying than publishing papers or building products.
Guiding a student grow is a magical process (probably like parenting, which I have no hands-on experience yet) and can form a long-term collaboration relationship.

January 13, 2020

Working in a dream

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 11:53 am
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Since I have this habit of thinking about stuff all the time, even when I am dreaming, I sometimes could not tell if I have done something for real.
For example, earlier today when I looked at a comment I made in a paper draft, I found it missing a part that I thought I have added, but then I realized that I only did it in my dream a few days ago.

November 4, 2019

Creation is a dialog

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 9:27 pm
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About a decade ago, Evvia felt like a place for old people to me.
It was livelier a few days ago when I visited again.
I wondered what has changed and realized maybe I got old.

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Grill chef – oil painting #adobefresco

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Artistic creation and scientific research share many similarities, such as picking the right subject/topic, and trusting the iterative process.
When I start a research or drawing, I usually do not have a very concrete idea of what I want to do, at least for more innovative projects. (If I can see a clear road-map from the beginning, the project is incremental.)
Just start doing something, and the process will guide me.

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Stove chefs – watercolor #adobefresco

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I did not really want to draw this one but felt compelled to finish the third of the Evvia series.

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Bar area – narinder pencil sketch #procreate

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November 1, 2019

Deadline ruining your holiday?

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 4:24 pm
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I never understand why people want to complain about how deadlines ruin (their specific) holidays.
Everyone is free to finish the job before the holiday even if the official deadline is afterwards.

I remember Hugues Hoppe told me that he usually had a complete draft of his submissions before late December, and in one instance he didn’t even touch the paper between X’mas and the January deadline.

Nowadays, one can submit to ToG anytime and still present in SIGGRAPH; I am not sure what is the real difference. And there are other related venues like CHI or CVPR.

Personally, SIGGRAPH crunch is kinda fun for me, so I won’t mind one way or another.

September 20, 2019

Provisional patent application

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 3:09 pm
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A provisional patent is worth considering, if your institution does not want to file a real (non-provisional) patent for your project.
It has much lower cost and much faster process than a formal patent filing, while offers similar protection in terms of public disclosure date.
There is a one-year period for a provisional patent, during which you can evaluate whether it is worthwhile to file a real patent.

For example, I filed a provisional patent (out of my own pocket) for the autocomplete hand-drawn animation project, which has gathered a lot of interests and yet it is tricky to file a patent due to the institutions involved (University of Hong Kong, University of Tokyo, Microsoft Research).
However, after one year, Jun, the first author and builder of the system, did not manage to produce a sharable prototype, so I just let the provisional patent expire. If he had a prototype with enough product interests, I would proceed filing an official patent.

August 23, 2019

SIGGRAPHickness

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 4:56 pm
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A co-author added a typo “SIGGRAPHickness” into a bib entry today; I guess it means sickness induced by working too hard for SIGGRAPH.
🙂

August 18, 2019

My idea of a mixed reality device

Filed under: Real — liyiwei @ 5:03 pm
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A single device that bridges VR and AR by displaying synthetic graphics seamlessly with or without the real environment, captured by some sensor/camera without requiring optical seethrough, consumes low power, tracks eye gazes (e.g., for foveation) and locations (e.g., for overlaying geo information).

These can already be achieved programmatically on some smart phones; glasses can reach a subset of users (e.g., those already wearing prescription glasses or requiring hands-free working conditions).

Disclaimer: this is my personal opinion, conceived and written on my personal computer outside Adobe working hours.

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