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

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

Learning to learn

It might sound a bit stupid, but I just realized that a better reading strategy could help me learn faster, almost three times as fast as before.

To enter a research field, we sometimes have to read tens of research papers. We could alternatively read summaries like textbooks and survey papers, which are generally more comprehensive and more friendly for non-experts. But some fields don’t have good summaries out there, for reasons like the fields being too new, too narrow, or too broad. Continue reading

论脸皮的厚度

Should we “pretend to be completely in control”?

近几年,我的脸皮似乎越来越厚了。例如,明知自己是唯一没提前做好功课的人,却硬要在听不懂术语时打断、提问,这是我过去绝不好意思做的。又如,明知自己语言文学差、视野局限、造诣不深,却还蹦出来写博客,班门弄斧,请人笑话,这也超出了我过去的想象。

哪里变了?是因为水平提高到了自信不会贻笑大方的程度吗?不,还是自知的。对于自己的短处变迟钝了吗?不,还是敏锐的。不知羞耻了吗?不,还是难为情的。那脸皮怎么会变厚? Continue reading

Did you say you are an introvert?

Let’s talk about hobbies. Hobbies, or interests in general, can reveal how introverted or extroverted someone is.

For me, it has been tricky to explain my hobbies accurately, since some of my favorite activities don’t sound like standard hobbies. For example: Continue reading