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Gerhard Fischer: “Doctoral Level Independent Study” Fall Semester 2006

Assignment 3 — Advanced Graduate Student Panel

due: Tuesday, October 3, 10 am on the SWIKI class website

post one question which you consider most important to discuss with your fellow students who are advanced students in their PhD studies at CU Boulder!

please insert your questions with your name directly on this Swiki page (instead of uploading a file)

Chih How: Is your work (PhD research) post any scientific advancement in the field of computer science? What is it?

Peng Shao: Talk about difficulties or potential pitfalls you have faced. eg. not taking prelims in a timely fashion, switching advisors, not having a plan, pressure to publish, etc.

John Giacomoni: I'd like to hear the panel's opinion on what they believe computer science to be.

Yingdan: How did you decide your PhD topic?
(- Is it related to some RA work you are (were) working on? Or is it some new reseach topic you started?
- Did you consider available resources on CU (current projects, equipment and professors share similar interests with you etc.) when you decided your PhD topic?
- How much had you read before you decided PhD topic (~100 books and papers)?
- Did you have any trouble to narrow down your topic?)

Mike MacFerrin: My question is very similar to Mr. Shao's (above). You've (presumably) spent several years working on your Doctorate. In retrospect, what would you change about the way you've spent your time here? Would you have picked a research topic sooner/later? Chosen advisors differently? Worked on more (or less) publications? If you could change one thing (and one thing only) about your past few years earning your degree, what would that be?

Kevin Bauer: What do you want to do when you finish the Ph.D.? Do you believe that you will be positioned well to do this?

Amanda Hughes: What is the most important thing you have learned so far in your path towards a PhD?

Abhishek Jaiantilal: I guess the answer to my question is more or less dependent on personal choice. Here it goes "What amount of risk would you take when it comes to research? A research with more risks but better results if sucessful(risks of not getting an answer?) or a research with no risks(straightforward) but that which doesnot make a difference to anyone?"

Karie Shipley: How do you handle issues of time management? For example, balancing research with (non-research-related) work and other things that seem more immediately important than research. I'd also like to know how soon you'd recommend a PhD student start attending conferences. Do you need to wait until you feel your research is ready to present?

praful mangalath :
my question concerns behavioural aspects of being a student - Einstein warned about the "crippling of individuals" which "our whole educational system suffers from." - this is somewhat related to that.

you often are faced with a situation where you have to turn in an assignment/project whilst working on more pressing matters directly relevant to your research. For people not equipped with calendar/planner ninja skills - this is at the very last minute and often calls for a retreat from submitting the assignment or turning in a shoddy paper. I have had professors who empathize with students in the PhD track and show some leniency not in the evaluation of the assignment but in their general dealings after. There are however some professors who do not like this dismissal - though completely unintentional and often come down harsh.
How seriously are we supposed to take these 'tasklets' and how do we maintain a sunny disposition when criticized?

on a somewhat related note, a student from OSU decided a week away from graduation was the best time to express his displeasure about the course assignements and stick one to the 'system' [ ] while he was just being retarded - I sometimes share his sentiments when faced with a tiresome assignment. He was booted from the course for voicing his opinion - pretty sure he could have worded things differently but his views don't seem the least bit sociopathic.

"Well, that's pretty much what the schools are like, I think: they reward discipline and obedience, and they punish independence of mind. If you happen to be a little innovative, or maybe you forgot to come to school one day because you were reading a book or something, that's a tragedy, that's a crime – because you're not supposed to think, you're supposed to obey, and just proceed through the material in whatever way they require." - Chomsky

Daniel Crumly: How specific/narrow is your PhD topic? Where do most PhD theses lie in the range of broad to narrow?

Jeff Fifield: Why are you getting a PhD? Do you feel the same way about this now compared to when you started?

Todd Mytkowicz: What advice can you give on picking an advisor? How does one go about building a working and fruitful relationship with an advisor? Can you give an example of a good quality an advisor should embody, and a bad (or not so helpful)?

Betty Eskow: How closely did your thesis proposal describe your actual thesis? Did your project grow or shrink in scope from what you had proposed? Did the research change direction at all?

Jaeheon Jeong: When is the hardest time on the Ph.D Program and how to overcome? What is the most important thing to write a good paper?

Ben Robinson: Do you have any job experience in the industry? If so, please comment on the extent to which you think having a PhD would influence these kinds of job prospects.

Aaron Beach: How often do you all interact with eachother? and has this been a good experience or applied to your research in any fashion?

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