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Approach to publishing ->top-down or bottom-up
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a7x Offline
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Approach to publishing ->top-down or bottom-up
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Hey guys/gals ,

I mailed this to a senior but then thought that having this publicly will benefit more people .

So i have been an RA two months now. Finally getting hold of whats going on around me and getting to understand. But, considering that i did not have any of these subjects in my undergrad, my basics are not strong at all. So i have been concentrating on exploring the subjects instead of thinking about publishing something. But all around me , people eat sleep dream conferences . No matter what they do , they think of publishing it .

Now, each person approaches it differently and i do not have a problem with that but is it wrong to go bottom-up ? Is it necessary to think of something publishable and then work for it or is it better to explore things and publish whenever something 'publishable' comes up (the quality of that left to individuals) . I am worried because i want this RAship to count and if a majority of people consider publication(s) as the sole metric of judging the quality of research done, then ,maybe i will have to re-think my priorities. Please chip in with your opinions guys.

Note: i will not apply for a direct phd and will instead apply for an MS and then extend that or re-apply , whichever suits better then . But for now, i will go for an MS.

Rarely on Edulix. If you need AI/ML help, someone will help you reach out.

Good luck with your applications, and if you are ever in Vancouver, let me know.
09-06-2010 10:18 PM
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MadWiFi Offline
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Post: #2
RE: Approach to publishing ->top-down or bottom-up
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I think I should take the first chance to answer this question. Smile

As you know, I have been in IIT for last 13 months and in my lab, I have seen a good mixture of both of these approaches. When I joined IIT, I had a similar question (and fear) in my mind. But I concentrated mostly on learning things rather than publishing work. What I can say from my experience is that publishing a paper mostly depends on your luck and greatly depends on your advisor. I think,the people who want to apply for MS in good schools with this type of research experience (like me and U) should always concentrate on learning things rather than blindly publish works (though publishing papers wont harm you in anyway) which may not be the case for direct Ph.D applicants.

Publishing paper in an internationally acclaimed conference takes a good amount of time and background knowledge. After having a bachelors degree from a nondescript undergraduate institute (non IIT/NIT) does not give us that much privilege to publish something very fast. Hence, at the end of the day, its your knowledge which will count.

Today, while I am applying for my MS, I do not have any publication from IIT (had one from my undergrad though), but I have substantial amount of technical knowledge which I can convey through my SOP and resume. I have worked on 3 projects altogether,have remained as IIT testbed co-ordinator, went delhi to participate in india telecom exhibition and so on.

What I have said above is totally based on my personal experience. People may vary their opinions and I would love to hear. And obviously, my application results will decide whether I am right or wrong. PrayPray

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(This post was last modified: 09-07-2010 04:42 AM by MadWiFi.)
09-07-2010 04:38 AM
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a7x Offline
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Post: #3
RE: Approach to publishing ->top-down or bottom-up
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Piyali , Cool

Thats exactly the same situation i am in ( and also in 3 projects Smile ). Lets hope it works out for both of us. Thanks for your reply.

Rarely on Edulix. If you need AI/ML help, someone will help you reach out.

Good luck with your applications, and if you are ever in Vancouver, let me know.
09-07-2010 11:53 AM
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MadWiFi Offline
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RE: Approach to publishing ->top-down or bottom-up
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ur welcome..pray for me yaar..heavily tensed..ConfusedConfused

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09-07-2010 03:35 PM
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a7x Offline
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Tense Shocked for what ? Just give your GRE and then it will be a cakewalk . So many things to mention and so many things to discuss for you and two recos from IIT profs. i need a party and mishti dahi in Kolkata Cool

Rarely on Edulix. If you need AI/ML help, someone will help you reach out.

Good luck with your applications, and if you are ever in Vancouver, let me know.
09-07-2010 04:30 PM
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MadWiFi Offline
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RE: Approach to publishing ->top-down or bottom-up
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(09-07-2010 04:30 PM)a7x Wrote:  Tense Shocked for what ? Just give your GRE and then it will be a cakewalk . So many things to mention and so many things to discuss for you and two recos from IIT profs. i need a party and mishti dahi in Kolkata Cool

I dont think it will be a cakewalk..If I aim a bit higher rank universities, competition also becomes higher and lower rank universities are of no use.SadSad..
Lets see, how it goes. So u wan a 'Dahi Parti' ???
Well, if I get into a real good school this time of my choice, I will give a 'DAHI party" in the next edulix meet to all my edulix-friends (I hope apart from you, nobody will read this post LaughingLaughingWinkWink)

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09-08-2010 03:14 AM
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DesiLinguist Offline
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Post: #7
RE: Approach to publishing ->top-down or bottom-up
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Given that the primary method of advancement in any branch of science --- and, by extension, the primary metric of achievement for a scientific researcher --- is the idea of peer-reviewed publications, I don't blame people for thinking about publishing papers all the time.

The problem is that most Indian schools and colleges fail to instill or promote the concept of original research in schools or even at the baccalaureate level. Research is something that just shows up on a graduate (post-graduate, in India) student's to-do list when he or she enters a master's or doctoral program. Being unfamiliar with how to proceed regarding original research, most students tend to satisfy their research requirements by doing what others around them are doing: blindly publishing half-baked and uninteresting ideas in conferences and journals that don't care about advancing the field. Research isn't simply running a bunch of experiments with existing tools on existing data and reporting only the most positive results. Research and the scientific method don't come naturally to many and that's why Maryland has a required 1 credit course on 'How to do Research' for ALL incoming graduate students.

In any case, the original question posited in this thread isn't about why things are the way they are but rather about what to *do* given that things are the way they are. So, let me share my opinion on that. Since I switched to a completely new field for my PhD (my BE was in Electrical Engg. and my MS was in Embedded Systems) --- that of computational linguistics/natural language processing, I have actually been in the OP's situation. I had very little knowledge of linguistics or machine learning and therefore, I didn't really know what to do when I started. My colleagues were publishing papers left and right (after the first year or so once the coursework was mostly over) and I felt left out and thought I was doing things wrong. However, I had a passion for language and had always been an autodidact. So I stuck to taking as many courses as I could and reading as many books as I could, to teach myself everything I possibly could. After 3 years of zero first-author publications, I got three publications as a first author in 2007. Since then my policy of putting learning first and publishing second has served me well, as is evident by the number of publications currently to my name.

However, let me put on my pragmatist hat for a second. If you get a chance to work on a project that's likely to turn into a publication, I wouldn't advise turning it down. Instead, turn it into a learning experience: read papers, on your own, about both the larger research idea and about the specific tool that they want you to use. I had a project like this and I ended up making a much larger contribution than they thought I would simply because I approached things as a curious researcher rather than as a graduate student with an assignment in hand.

So, in short, my answer is to largely be an idealist with a smattering of pragmatism. I know the balance is hard to figure out but even if you always put intellectual curiosity ahead of blind pragmatism (which is admittedly not the thing to do in every situation), you'll likely come out ahead.

Just my $0.02.

EDIT: Oh, and being intellectually curious means being humble when need be. If you don't understand a paper or a technique, keep asking questions wherever you can - ask your professor, email the author of the paper, ask your seniors, heck, ask your juniors if they understand it better than you. The goal is comprehension, not feigned satisfaction.

I am a linguist. A desi linguist.
http://www.desilinguist.org
(This post was last modified: 09-08-2010 06:38 AM by DesiLinguist.)
09-08-2010 05:50 AM
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a7x Offline
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RE: Approach to publishing ->top-down or bottom-up
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Thanks a lot ApplauseApplauseApplause i am no more going to think about whats happening around me and stick to what i can do . And yeah , i do mail the authors every now and then Smile . Its a lot of fun .

@Piyali, don't be such a miser Mad give a party to all of edulix .

Rarely on Edulix. If you need AI/ML help, someone will help you reach out.

Good luck with your applications, and if you are ever in Vancouver, let me know.
09-08-2010 10:58 AM
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MadWiFi Offline
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@DesiLinguist:

It seems my approach which I have shared here was not wrong. Thanks for the encouragement..Smile

@rohit:
let me see...CoolCool

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09-08-2010 12:45 PM
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a7x Offline
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I was right about names being misnomers. Or rather total paradoxes. You have "de" in your name which translates to "give" in hindi but you do not give but only take. Sad Sad sad .

Rarely on Edulix. If you need AI/ML help, someone will help you reach out.

Good luck with your applications, and if you are ever in Vancouver, let me know.
09-08-2010 01:17 PM
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MadWiFi Offline
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(09-08-2010 01:17 PM)a7x Wrote:  I was right about names being misnomers. Or rather total paradoxes. You have "de" in your name which translates to "give" in hindi but you do not give but only take. Sad Sad sad .

lolzzz...This is just so 'common pj' of my lif..started right 4m class 1 I think...LaughingLaughing

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09-08-2010 01:22 PM
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RE: Approach to publishing ->top-down or bottom-up
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@piyali and a7x - stop spamming here Mad

BTW now I got a reason to give you a -ve repo Cool. and 8 is also a stable number. LaughingLaughingLaughingLaughing

I'm no longer active, try contacting other active members in the Canadian Forum.
09-08-2010 02:29 PM
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(09-08-2010 02:29 PM)Abhi1888 Wrote:  @piyali and a7x - stop spamming here Mad

sorry. This is all because of a7x..LaughingLaughing

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09-08-2010 03:46 PM
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RE: Approach to publishing ->top-down or bottom-up
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I would probably skew the other way, but only because I tend to learn better by doing rather than by reading alone. In my case, I find it more productive to start trying something first and when I get stuck, going back and reading about things. Basically, how that would relate to your question would be to come up with a problem and start working on it (doesn't always work because it's hard to come up with a problem just like that, which is often what your advisor does for you in the initial stages of your graduate career). You will almost certainly run into a wall of some kind, and often it will be because you don't understand some facet of the problem which you are trying to solve. In this case, you start reading. If you really want to do understand things, you will find yourself digging deeper and deeper so at the end of the day, you probably will find yourself with the sound principles anyway. Realistically, this might have better immediate payoff because it gives you bullet-points in your application (viz. have-published-paper) as opposed to the other approach which will certainly hold you in very good stead later on in your career but isn't likely to have a big impact now (I can't resist making a machine learning analogy: this is close to the classic exploration vs. exploitation trade-off that you see in reinforcement learning).

I am not very active on this forum any longer. Most PM's will not receive a response.
09-08-2010 08:27 PM
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@taro,yeah , that was how i had planned it too. explore a nlp problem (transliteration) and learn whenever a new topic comes up. But the number of new things just kept going up exponentially and i could not properly follow any of the papers, so , have taken a break and now learning the bare basics . Machine learning SadSad present nemesis. Its applied everywhere.Sad . Thanks for your reply. Lets see what happens Smile

Rarely on Edulix. If you need AI/ML help, someone will help you reach out.

Good luck with your applications, and if you are ever in Vancouver, let me know.
09-08-2010 11:01 PM
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