Olin Shivers Dissertation Abstract

Advice Collection
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(Maintained by Tao Xie and Yuan Xie)

  Ph.D. dissertation/research advice
  Presentation advice
  Technical writing/research advice
  Technical reviewing/referee advice
  Advice for faculty
  Job hunting advice
  Misc. advice
  English learning advice

Ph.D. dissertation/research advice:
  • Advice by Tao Xie
  • Reflections and advice on life as a mid-stage Ph.D. student by Philip Guo
  • Imagining Research & Development: R&D student internships/student job advice
  • Getting a Ph.D. at the University of Southern California by Yuriy Brun
  • Pithy advice for graduate school by Rachel Pottinger and Kathryn. S. McKinley
  • Some grad school advice by Noah Smith
  • Advice by Frédo Durand
  • Advice on Getting a Start into Research and Advice on Writing Research Papers by Tao Xie
  • Writing a Research Paper by Jim Reggia
  • Networking by Mary Jean Harrold and Kathryn. S. McKinley 
  • The Researcher's Bible by Alan Bundy et al.
  • Advice for Prospective Research Students on Contacting Potential Advisors by David Evans
  • Suggested guidelines for finding "related work" for conference papers. by Gail Kaiser.
  • A course on Preparation for Statistical Research offered at NCSU Stat Dept
  • Principles of Effective Research by  Michael A. Nielsen
  • The Ph.D Experience by Mihir Bellare
  • Tom Henzinger's advice on doing research 
  • Citations: Why do we cite papers? by Jeff Offutt
  • The scientific method by Jeff Offutt
  • What is a PhD? by Jeff Offutt
  • Thoughts on choosing an advisor by Jeff Offutt
  • Thoughts on reading papers by Jeff Offutt
  • Thoughts on writing a Ph.D. proposal by Jeff Offutt
  • How to organize your files from Jason Eisner's advice
  • How to evaluate an advisor from Jason Eisner's advice
  • How to find research problems from Jason Eisner's advice
  • How to write up a Ph.D. dissertation from Jason Eisner's advice
  • Advice for Computer Science College Students by Joel Spolsky
  • How to Start Research in Computer Networks? by Ahmed Helmy
  • How to Be a Good Graduate Student by Marie desJardins, UMBC
  • How to Succeed in Graduate School (Marie desJardins)
  • Excellent advice about graduate school life by Ronald T. Azuma, University of Virginia
  • Discussion on Ph.D. thesis proposals in computing science by H. C. Lauer
  • How to write a PhD Thesis given at the doctoral symposium at ASE'03 (Oct 2003)  by Steve Easterbrook 
  • Advice for finishing a Ph.D. (pdf document containing slides by Prof. Daniel M. Berry)   Lecture
  • Some guidelines on doing good research
  • How to Organize your Thesis, by John W. Chinneck.
  • Chris Riesbeck on What is a Thesis Defense?  
  • How to write a thesis in an Experimental area of Computer Science by Doug Comer.
  • How to escape during a Ph.D. Final Exam by Doug Comer.
  • An explanation of language used in CS Departments by Doug Comer.
  • For anyone considering a Ph.D. in Computer Science by Doug Comer.
  • How to measure research by Doug Comer.
  • How to write a Ph.D. thesis by Joe Wolfe.
  • Tips for Writing and Presentation of Thesis or Dissertation by Joseph Levine.
  • Dissertation Advice, by Olin Shivers
  • Resources for Students interested in the PhD by Norman Ramsey
  • How to get admitted to a PhD program, by Norman Ramsey.
  • Graduate School Advice
  • Advice collection
  • What Am I Doing Here? A Guide to the Unwritten Rules of Grad School in the Sciences by Cory Kerens, Ph.D.
  • For anyone considering a Ph.D. in Computer Science, by Doug Comer
  • Making key research decisions. From 500 Tips For Research Students, by Sally Brown, Liz McDowell and Phil Race.
  • PhD rants-and-raves
  • Dissertation writing 
  • Tips on research and writing, by Renée Miller.
  • Jeff Offutt Lectures for PhD Courses
  • So long, and thanks for the Ph.D.!, by Ronald Azuma
  • A Letter to Research Students, by Duane A. Bailey
  • Networking on the Network: A Guide to Professional Skills for PhD Students
  • Master Thesis Computer Science
  • Thoughts on Ph.D. Qualifiers by Phil Koopman
  • Tom Martin's qual page for some good hints from the student point of view.
  • Graduate Study in the Computer and Mathematical Sciences : A Survival Manual, Dianne O'Leary
  • How to be a Good Graduate Student by Marie desJardins.
  • Guide to working with Norman Ramsey expectations and obligations as an advisor.
  • A Dictionary of Useful Research Phrases
  • Burnout Prevention and Recovery at MIT
  • How to be terrible graduate student (by Graeme Hirst, University of Toronto).
  • Choosing an Advisor by Marshall Lev Dermer, UW-Milwaukee.
  • Information for current and prospective graduate students by Timothy Finin.
  • Computer Science Graduate School Survival Guide by Ronald Azuma.
  • Notes On The PhD Degree
  • Re-Envisioning the Ph.D. by the graduate school of UW
  • Statement of Purpose Tip Sheet
  • Acronyms Frequently Heard Around the School of Computer Science by Paul Heckbert
  • Book: Tomorrow's Professor
  • Book: A Ph.D. Is Not Enough: A Guide to Survival in Science

Presentation advice:

  • Giving a talk by Mike Ernst
  • Advice on giving talks by Tessa Lau
  • Tips for a Good Conference Talk  byJennifer Widom
  • Hints on making presentations by Jeff Offutt
  • Some Advice on giving a Talk, by Olivier Danvy. Issues in making an oral presentation
  • Presentation advice by Armando Fox
  • Conference talk advice from Mark Hill.
  • Your Online Public Speaking Guide: Information and Tips
  • Veljko Milutinovic, A Good Method to Prepare and Use Transparencies for Research Presentations
  • Robert Drysdale on Giving Technical Talks  
  • Peyton Jones, Hughes and Launchbury on How to Give a Good Research Talks
  • Things I Hope Not to See or Hear at SIGGRAPH, by Jim Blinn.
  • How to Do Research and Give Presentations
  • How to give a good research talk, Simon Peyton Jones, John Launchbury, John Hughes, SIGPLAN Notices 28(11), Nov 1993.
  • Writing Good Papers and Presentations by David Coppit
  • Ideas from Bruce Donald
  • Ideas from Paul Edwards and other essays   How to Give a Talk: Changing the Culture of Academic Public Speaking
  • Maxims for Malfeasant Speakers
  • Tips and tricks for giving a talk
  • Oral presentation skills 
  • The Short Talk
  • Giving a Talk: Guidelines for the Preparation and Presentation of Technical Seminars
  • The Best Method for Presentation of Research Results  A Good Method to Prepare and Use Transparencies for Research Presentations
  • Ian Parberry, How to Present a Paper in Theoretical Computer Science: A Speaker's Guide for Students
  • How to Present a Paper by Ashwin Ram
  • The Role of Public Speaking in the Business World

Technical writing/research advice:

  • Courses:
  • Mary Shaw's How to Write a Good Research Paper? (course) WordWright -- the Rite of Writing Right  
  • Mary Shaw's course on "What Makes Good Research in Software Engineering?"  What Makes Good Research in Software Engineering?Writing Good Software Engineering Research Papers 
  • Writing Good Software Engineering Research Papers by Mary Shaw
  • What Makes Good Research in Software Engineering? by Mary Shaw
  • 5-paragraph rule for introductions  by Kurt Stirewalt
  • Tips for Writing Technical Papers byJennifer Widom
  • VT's course on Research Methods in Computer Science
  • Scholarship Skills by Andrew Black OGIMockPC
  • UMBC CMSC 691B: Basic Research Skills
  • UCIrvine ICS 280: Seminar in Information and Computer Science Research Methodology for Software
  • Gary Leavens's Computing Writer's Workshop  A talk about research and writing in Computer Science
  • Computer Science Research Methods and Writing Workshop by Iowa State U.
  • Research Methods in Computer Science (Tom Dietterich's course at Oregon State).
  • Conference paper writing advice articles:
  • Advice on Writing Research Papers and Common Technical Writing Issues by Tao Xie
  • Advice on Getting a Start into Research by Tao Xie
  • Writing a technical paper by Mike Ernst
  • How to Avoid the Reviewer's Axe by Stephen D. Senturia
  • Dave Patterson's Writing Advice
  • Writing tips by Steve Zdancewic
  • Tools and Tips for Writing Papers by Tao Xie
  • Writing papers by Jeff Offutt
  • Frank Visco's "How to Write Good"
  • Writing a technical paper by Mike Ernst
  • Suggested guidelines for finding "related work" for conference papers. by Gail Kaiser.
  • How to have your abstract rejected, by Mary-Claire van Leunen and Richard Lipton
  • How to get a paper accepted at OOPSLA (panel)
  • How to Get a Paper Accepted at OOPSLA (93)  How to Get Your Paper Accepted at OOPSLA (91)     
  • Technical writing advice by Armando Fox
  • Guide to Successful Papers Submission - CHI 2001
  • William Pugh - Advice to Authors of Extended Abstracts (POPL)
  • Advice for 1996 POPL submissions
  • How to Increase the Chances Your Paper is Accepted at ACM SIGCOMM
  • An evaluation of the ninth SOSP submissions -or- How (and how not) to write a good systems paper
  • What kinds of papers does USENIX publish?
  • ACM UIST 2003 Author's Guide
  • Why don't more non-North-American papers get accepted to CHI?
  • Writing Good Papers and Presentations by David Coppit
  • Phil Koopman's how to Write an Abstract (tailored for Computer Engineers)
  • ACM SIGPLAN author information
  • Richard Stallings on writing a technical report  
  • Veljko Milutinovic, The best method for presentation of research result
  • Guidelines for Writing Papers by Munindar Singh, NCSU
  • Common Bugs in Writing 
  •  
  • Advice slides:
  • Daniel Jackson's Hints on Research Strategy slides slides  Class
  • Jeff Offutt's Hints on Writing slides
  • Effective Technical Communication slides by David Coppit  CSci780
  • How to Have a Bad Career In Research/Academia (David Patterson).
  • How to Have a Bad Career in Research/Academia by David Patterson
  • Others:
  • Experimental Studies in Empirical Software Engineering by Sebastian Elbaum 2001 ACM Crossroad
  • Hints on Writing Technical Papers and Making Presentations by Victor Li 1999 IEEE Trans. on Education
  • Guidelines and Requirements for Writing a Research Paper by Hossein Saiedian U. Kansas (article)
  • Knuth's Mathematical Writing book
  • Paper Writing and Paper Reviewing (article)
  • Technical Writing Guide by Fenton (article)
  • How to do Research At the MIT AI Lab (article)
  • Writing Technical Articles (article and collections)
  • You and your research, by Richard Hamming.
  • On Being a Scientist booklets
  • A primer on mathematical writing, by Steven L. Kleiman
  • Hints on good mathematical writing, by David Goss
  • Summary of useful rules.
  • Common Errors in Technical Writing (particularly in LaTex)
  • Collections:
  • Some guidelines on good writing style
  • CMU Advice on Research and Writing
  • Tips and Resources for Writing Systems Papers (Resource collections)
  • Collected Advice on Research and Writing
  • Advice on Research and Writing 
  • Researching and Publishing (collections)
  • Qingfeng He - Research - Advice on Research and Writing
  • Information on doing research in CS
  • How to do research: some hints (collections)
  • Doing Research: Some practical advice
  • Advice on Research and Writing
  • Research - Advice on Research and Writing
  • Research tips   Research-tips
  • Some tutorials on how to write and how not
  • Austin SE course writing resources   Examples of IEEE formatting for references
  • Technical writing resources
  • Technical writing course at U Mass
  • General writing books:

Technical reviewing/referee advice:

  • Review advice by Frédo Durand
  • When Reviews Do More Than Sting by Bertrand Meyer
  • How to read an engineering research paper by Bill Griswold
  • Reviewing a technical paper by Mike Ernst
  • Suggested guidelines for finding "related work" for conference papers. by Gail Kaiser.
  • How to Write Technical Paper Reviews by Shriram Krishnamurthi
  • Artifact Evaluation for Software Conferencesby Shriram Krishnamurthi
  • The Task of the Referee by Alan Jay Smith, IEEE Computer 1990
  • Course: Teaching reviewing to graduate students by Jens Palsberg
  • Course: Scholarship Skills by Andrew Black OGIMockPC
  • Course: Reviewing in compiler technology  Lecture on Aspects of reviewing
  • Conference paper review: Identify the Champion by Oscar Nierstrasz
  • Reviewing papers hints by Jeff Offutt
  • Tips for positive and constructive reviewing by Kathryn. S. McKinley
  • Double-blind submission is better by Kathryn. S. McKinley
  • Advice on PC chair duties by Kathryn. S. McKinley
  • Reviewing: Major revision or Reject? by Jeff Offutt
  • Citations: Why do we cite papers? by Jeff Offutt
  • Charge to the Referees of ISCA 2005 (and good advice for referees in general) by Mark Hill
  • Some Advice for Program Committee Chairs Based on my ISCA 2005 Experience by Mark Hill
  • Program Chair's Message for ISCA 2005 by Mark Hill
  • Inside Peer Review by Donald Christiansen, IEEE Today's Engineer
  • Reviewing papers by John Ousterhout (Berkeley)
  • Teaching Reviewing to Graduate Students, Jens Palsberg and Scott J. Baxter, CACM 45(12), December 2002.
  • John Ousterhout's Hints for Reviewing Papers via Armando Fox
  • Jeff Offutt's Reviewing Papers slides
  • Norman Ramsey's Resources for Writers
  • Parbury: “A guide for new referees”,
  • Experience in literature review
  • Michael J. Hanson and Dylan J. McNamee,“ Efficient Reading of Papers in Science and Technology ”
  • Resources about Reviewing Papers (from Wilson)
  • Some sample review forms: PPoPP 99, PLDI 01.
  • A Guide to New Referees in Theoretical Computer Science by Ian Parberry
  • Paper Writing and Paper Reviewing
  • Chairing a Conference Session
  • C. Collberg and S. Kobourov: Self-Plagiarism in Computer Science.Communications of the ACM 48(4):88-94, April 2005.
  • Bad Advice on Peer Review of Grant Proposals
  • How to Become a Grant Reviewer
  • Program Committees and Paper Selection

Advice for faculty:

  • New Software Engineering Faculty Symposium (NSEFS)  NSEFS 03 slides   NSEFS 05 slides  NSEFS 06 slides
  • CRA Academic Careers 2004 talk slides   2006
  • CRA-W 2005 CAPP Professional Development Seminar with talk slides  2004 with talk slides 
  • CRA-W Career Mentoring Workshops  2005 talk slides  2003 talk slides2000 talk slides1999 talk slides1993-1999 talk slidesCareer Mentoring Workshops Booklet   
  • Book: Tomorrow's Professor
  •  
  • Writing funding proposals:
  • Advice on Writing Proposals to the National Science Foundation
  • How Your Grant Proposal Compares
  • Bad Advice on Peer Review of Grant Proposals
  • Panel: Successful fellowship and grant applications Mary Lou Soffa, Barbara RyderJoseph Urban at 2007 PL summer school
  • Writing an NSF Career Award proposal from Michael Ernst's advice for faculty
  • NSF CAREER Proposal Writing Tips edited by Z J Pei
  • Advice on Writing Proposals to the National Science Foundation by Susan Finger, Carnegie Mellon University
  • Career Mentoring Workshops Booklet including an articile on "Obtaining Federal Funding"
  • Writing a good grant proposal by Simon Peyton Jones and Alan Bundy
  • NSF's Guide for Proposal Writing
  • NSF's Grant proposal guide (2007)
  • Wisconsin advice collection on writing proposals
  • Guide for Writing a Research Proposal by Joseph Levine.
  • Prof. James Hendler's slide show on "how to obtain funding".
  • Hints on Preparing Research Proposals
  • NSF proposal writing
  • Willamette University's Tips for Writing a Successful Grant Proposal
  • Grant writing tips collection
  • Proposal tips at TAMU  Tips for proposal writing
  • NSF BPC proposal writing tips
  • Proposal Writing Resources
  • Early Career Geoscience Faculty: Teaching, Research, and Managing Your Career
  • Tips for proposal writing
  • Wilbers: Grant Proposal Writing
  • Tips for Successful Grant-Writing
  • NSF SE/PL granted funding
  • NSF Programs for Education and Academic Career Development
  • NSF programs info from Caltech
  • So you want to win a Career Award: advice from NCSU
  • Tips from Grant Proposal Development Workshop@PDX  
  • NSF Grantsmanship Workshops at Buffalo
  • NSF program overview   ITR Vanderbilt meeting 
  • Challenges in Interdisciplinary Education for Embedded Systems
  • National Science Foundation (NSF) Sponsored Workshop on Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) for SCADA and IT Systems  
  • NSF Infrastructure 2005 2005 NSF CISE/CNS CRI PI's Meeting
  • Contacts
  • Contacts at Funding Agencies 
  • 2005 NSF Career Award Proposal Writing Workshop (in ME)  2007 Workshop (in ME)
  • NSF: fastlane / CISE
  • DARPA / NASA / NIST / ONR
  • Sample NSF proposals collected from Internet:
  • NSF ITR: A Framework for Environment-Aware, Massively Distributed Computing by David Evans
  • NSF CCLI: Teaching Software Engineering Using Lightweight Analysis by David Evans
  • University of Virginia Teaching Fellowship: Teaching Introductory Computer Science as a Liberal Art by David Evans
  • NSF CAREER: Programming the Swarm by David Evans
  • NSF CAREER: Automatic Generation of Configuration Management Repositories by Jim Whitehead
  • NSF ITR MIT project
  • NSF ITR program proposal, Alan F. Karr, David Notkin, Adam Porter, and Douglas Schmidt.
  • NSF ITR proposal by Walt Scacchi
  • An NSF Proposal by Robert PaigeNSF KDI Proposal: Project DescriptionNSF 952NSF Proposal 98-10280
  •  
  • Faculty mentoring:
  • How departments can support Assistant Professors by Kathryn. S. McKinley
  • CRA Academic Careers Workshop 2004  Slides  Career Mentoring Workshops Booklet    
  • New Software Engineering Faculty Symposium (NSEFS) NSEFS 03 slides
  • 2004 PAESMEM/Stanford School of Engineering Workshop on Mentoring in Engineering   Talk slides
  • CRA-W's publications page contains resources such as their "Career Mentoring Workshops Booklet".
  • U. Washington ADVANCE workshops
  • CRA Conference at Snowbird 2004 with slides
  • CRA-W Graduate Cohort Program with slides
  • CRA-W Career Mentoring Workshop with reports and resources
  • CRA-W Career Mentoring Workshop 2003 at FCRC with slides 
  • CRA-W Career Mentoring Workshop 2003 at SIGCSE with slides
  • CRA-W Career Mentoring Workshop 1993/1995 with scripts
  • CRA Conference on "Grand Research Challenges in Information Security & Assurance" with slides and videos
  •  
  • Professional service:
  • Chairing a Conference Session
  • Double-blind submission is better by Kathryn. S. McKinley
  • Advice on PC chair duties by Kathryn. S. McKinley
  • Running a conference or workshop from Michael Ernst's advice for faculty
  • Running a conference program committee meeting from Michael Ernst's advice for faculty
  • Organizing a workshop from Michael Ernst's advice for faculty
  •  
  • Networking:
  • Career Networking  by Janice Cuny (booklet page 31)
  • Networking by Lori Clarke
  • Networking Skills by Kathryn McKinley and Mary Jean Harrold
  • Networking on the Network: A Guide to Professional Skills for PhD Students
  • Advice to students who attend conferences by David Notkin
  • Networking for jobs
  •  
  • Research component:
  • Setting up a Research Agenda at ICSE 2005 and Setting up a Research Agenda at the New Software Engineering Faculty Symposium at ICSE 2003 and  by Barbara Ryder
  • CRA Mentorship workshops on Collaborative Research by Barbara Ryder
  • You and Your Research (or PDF)
  • Scientist: Four golden lessons
  • On Being A Scientist: Responsible Conduct In Research
  • UCIrvine ICS 280: Seminar in Information and Computer Science Research Methodology for Software
  • Rick Snodgrass on LPU: least publishable unit, SIGMOD Record, March 2001  In Defence of the Least Publishable Unit / by Whitney J. Owen
  •  
  • Advising component:
  • Life After Attaining Full Professorship at FCRC 1999 and Mentoring Students at the New Software Engineering Faculty Symposium at ICSE 2005 by Barbara Ryder   
  • Writing a letter of recommendation from Michael Ernst's advice for faculty
  • How to Be a Good Graduate Student/Advisor by Marie desJardins
  • Guide to working with Norman Ramsey expectations and obligations as an advisor.
  • How to stump students on an oral qualifier by Douglas Comer
  • Advisor, Teacher, Role Model, Friend On Being a Mentor to Students in Science and Engineering. National Academy Press, 1997.
  • How to be a Terrible Research Advisor Nigel Ward, 1992.
  • Advice for Prospective Research Students on Contacting Potential Advisors by David Evans
  •  
  • Teaching component:
  • Ways to obtain tenure in a university by Douglas Comer
  • Teaching-Oriented Academic Jobs Panel
  • Postdoctoral Teaching: Opportunities and Resources
  • Computing Research Association Effective Teaching Resources
  • Teaching Tips from UC Berkeley
  • Linked Bibliography on College Teaching by Craig Nelson
  •  
  • Time management
  • Time Management for New Faculty, Anastassia Ailamaki and Johannes Gehrke. SIGMOD Record 2003 Time Management for New Faculty
  • Time Management (or PPT)
  • New faculty member learns to manage her time - Christine Julien UT Austin
  • Lessons in time management
  •  
  • Misc:
  • Becoming a Better Professor by Nigel Ward
  • Patterson's Rules for New Computer Science and Engineering Professors, by Dave Patterson
  • How to Have a Bad Career in Research/Academia by Dave Patterson(also look here for Prof. Patterson’s other non-technicaltalks)
  • Non Technical Talks (Career Advice, Berkeley Culture, My Research Past, ...) by Dave Patterson
  • Tom Henzinger's advice on doing research
  • The Dignified Professor, or Richard Feynman on Teaching
  • NCSU's new faculty 101: An orientation to the professions  NCSU's helping new faculty get off to a good start
  • The top ten things new faculty would like to hear from colleagues
  • A CRA report - Evaluating Computer Scientists and Engineers For Promotion and Tenure
  • Tomorrow's Professors  Tomorrow's Professor (an excellent collection of articles by Richard Reis, author of a book with the same title.
  • How to insult a Computer Scientist by Douglas Comer
  • Book: Advice for New Faculty Members by Robert Boice
  • Being a computer scientist in Hong Kong
  • Interview with Steve Reiss from Brown U.
  • Applying for Jobs in Academia, by Luis Gravano.
  • The Ph.D. Job Hunt – Helping Students Find the Right Positions - Edward D. Lazowska U Washington
  • Information on software engineering education and the importance of mathematics to software engineering
  • Job Hunting Online - Tips/Resources
  • Preparing the New Psychology Professoriate

 

Job hunting advice:

 

Misc. advice:

English learning advice:

Advice to Graduate Students and Researchers John Owens

On Having a Web Page

Simple rule. If you are ever interested in publicizing yourself and your work, have a web page. That web page should have your name and your contact information (work address, work email, and perhaps phone). You might think about putting some background on it as well (your list of publications, perhaps, and your research interests). You should also consider putting a picture of yourself on the web. People will then know what you look like. This is useful if you want to meet those people and publicize yourself and your work to them.

As a new professor, I am frequently getting email from students asking for research advice, positions in my group, admission to my university. The first things I want to know are those items above. The web is a wonderful way to put all this information in one place to make it easier for the people you're trying to reach to find it. Ideally, what you want to happen is that someone can type your name into Google and have your web page come up first.

In the event your employer or university doesn't give you the opportunity to make a web page, there are many sites out there that will. Geocities, Angelfire, and Tripod are three of the largest, but a couple of lists that suggest many more are from thefreesite.com and Google.

On Random but Relevant Advice From Others

Olin Shivers offers dissertation advice (as well as possibly relevant advice on the thesis defense and automatic weapons, as well as the finest advising philosophy and acknowledgements on record).

David Patterson has several interesting nontechnical talks, in particular Writing Advice and How to Have a Bad Career in Research/Academia.

Jonathan Shewchuck discusses the three sins of authors in computer science and math.

Butler Lampson has several Hints for Computer System Design.

Pat Hanrahan recommends the previous work highly as well as No Silver Bullet: Essence and Accidents of Software Engineering by Fred Brooks.

Roy Levin and David Redell tell you How (and How Not) to Write a Good Systems Paper. And Alan Smith tells you how to evaluate one.

Ivan Sutherland's "Technology and Courage" is a must read for all graduate students, especially those at the beginning of their studies.

Richard Hamming's "You and Your Research" (copy 1, copy 2, copy 3) is also an excellent read.

André DeHon'sHow to be a Winner: Advice for students starting into research is aimed towards students doing systems research.

Joel Spolsky of the excellent Joel on Software provides some great Advice for Computer Science College Students.

PLoS has some great advice articles:

John Regehr and his colleagues explain the 5+5 Commandments of a Ph.D..

For creativity in experimental methods, Jeff Van Bueren's 2000 paper can't be beat. And Martin Schwartz makes a powerful case for the importance of stupidity in scientific research.

Jennifer Widom gives some tips for writing technical papers, and I also enjoyed Michael Ernst's thoughts on writing a technical paper..

I see that the UCSD VLSI CAD Laboratory has assembled a list of resources that includes many of those above. Tao Xie and Yuan Xie maintain a incredible list of advice links. And my colleague Chen-Nee Chuah also has a terrific list of resources.

On Recommended Books

Two vital books, recommended by many and certainly by me:

  • Mary-Claire van Leunen's A Handbook for Scholars.

  • Strunk and White's classic The Elements of Style.

    Strunk and White give excellent guidance on how to write well; van Leunen gives equally good advice on the "mechanics of scholarly writing: citation, references, footnotes, bibliographies, format, styling, text preparation, and all related matters". Some people might quibble with certain rules in one or both of these books. My advice: Pick a book/system that you like and stick with it; you don't want to be mixing and matching formatting/stylistic conventions from 18 different sources.

On Publishing Papers on the Web

When publishing papers on the web, always create a web page associated with the paper. When you link to a paper on the web, always link to the web page associated with the paper. (When you reference a paper in another paper, of course, just reference the place it was published.)

(Why? When people look for your paper on the web, they most often don't want the whole paper. Instead, they want to see the author list, or get in touch with you, or see where it was published, or just to read the abstract. They don't want to download a 2 MB PDF file. Also, a well-constructed web page associated with a paper will index on web searches much better than a 2 MB PDF file.)

Think of that web page that you create as an advertisement. When you create that web page, it should contain the following information:

  • The name of the paper

  • The author list of the paper

  • Current contact information for the corresponding author (usually the lead author, but not necessarily; if the lead author is publishing right before, say, becoming a Trappist monk and taking a 5-year vow of silence, he/she might be better off naming another author as the corresponding author)

  • The citation associated with the paper (both text and BiBTeX are useful)

  • A link to the electronic version of the paper, along with the format and size of that version

  • The abstract of the the paper

  • Copyright notice, if applicable

  • Corrections to the paper, if applicable (post the most recent correct version and detail what changed)

Finally, when you place a paper on the web, make sure the paper reflects where it is published. The version you put on the web will look exactly like the published paper except for this addition. Putting this in italics on the top of each page is most useful (i.e. "Appears in the 2002 Journal of Irreproducible Results"). This is for readers who print your paper, read it, put it aside (or lend it to someone else), and want to know where it came from to reference it etc.

The Robotics Institute at CMU does this right (example).


Random Stuff

Matt Might's Academic job search advice.


John Owens | Last updated .

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