a journal of a researcher

Monday, September 19, 2005

What is research

All the summer, I was reading Bertrand Russell’s two books “the principles of mathematics” and “the history of Western Philosophy”. He is a man who really devoted himself to explore the new frontier of several domains.

Recent days, I am thinking where my research goes. The driving force of my research is to know what I do not know, especially to solve my confusion about life. That is why my research is a little bit scattered. But maybe it is a matter of deep thinking. If I were able to think as Russell, my jumping of topics is nothing.

I changed a lot after I came to NRC. I switched from practical project driven research to more theoretical oriented research. But I do not agree some professor’s claim that he/she is not interested in “real problems”. I remember Dave Patterson in UC Berkeley has some talks about “How to have a bad career in research/academia”. One symptom is publishing without testing against real applications. It does not count as “impact”. Some students come to me is because they do not want to do “theoretical” research with a university professor. They said many research papers go to garbage directly. I do not think some master students can judge research in this way, but it makes me think.

Another thing is research circle is full of big egos. I am tired of tough characters to grasp the projects and the authorships of papers. I am not so aggressive in my career. But do I need to do this?


  • Most computer science is not validated. To validate your research results is expensive and takes a lot of time. Also, true validation might not show your research under the most favorable light. To publish in the best conference, you should not be too honest. You should always cheat a little.

    So, research becomes progressively, per article, less "useful" but because fewer people read each article, it doesn't matter too much.

    Eventually, the current academic research will need to evolve and the journal article / communication paper format will have to give.

    Maybe, in the futre, all research will get posted on blogs similar to the ones we use right now.

    By Blogger Daniel Lemire, at 3:56 PM  

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