Invisible accomplishments

I’d like to discuss the first half of my PhD abstractly.*

People often base their self-esteem on their accomplishments. If you reach a milestone, it’s easy to convince yourself that time was spent wisely. On the contrary, if you worked for a long time without solving any problems, you may doubt if you did any valuable things at all. Continue reading




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Research taste

Learning to do research is not just about learning to use the essential techniques in the field. It also involves developing a taste of what directions are worth exploring and what directions are not.

I am still in the middle of my PhD, but looking back, the past few years have already changed me in the way I look at different research directions. Continue reading

Replacing monitors with projectors

If you study computer science but don’t use computers, you are screwed. I have eye problems with monitors and used to be reluctant to use computers. But luckily, I’m not screwed. I managed to set up computers without using monitors, so my long-lasting eye problems are solved. The solution is to use a projector instead of a monitor. Continue reading




但如果真的这样安排时间,那么在第一阶段往往就会遇到问题。 Continue reading

Learning curves

I recently summarized the related work for two research projects in two fields. As both fields were new to me, this experience allowed me to practice and to think about self education.

When learning about a new field, we hope to gain maximal knowledge in minimal time. Visualize this process with a learning curve. The key is to do the right things at the right time, depending on the field, our goals, and our current stage. Continue reading

Explain how facts are connected logically

It’s fun to read about novel information. Although “information” often reminds us of concrete facts like numbers or events, we actually expect to see other information when reading. One such information is the logical connection between the concrete facts.

One type of logical connections that many people expect to read is causality. Humans are attracted by causes and effects: scientists ask about the causes of observations; engineers use the effects of techniques to build systems; besides adults, even young children are attracted by causal information — remember how often kids ask “Why?”* Continue reading