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#PhDLife: Different Strokes for Different Folks

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#PhDLife: Different Strokes for Different Folks

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If you are asking any or all of these questions, tune in to find some answers. I will share my experience of a decade in answering these kinds of questions. Will have some prescriptive and abstract ways by which your Ph.D. life can be made more exciting, productive, and perhaps, a life changing experience.

How do I find out if research is something I like the most and want to spend time in doing a Ph.D. and beyond?
I am scared of committing 5 years for a Ph.D., will it be worth the time?
How can I find out if I will be able to finish my Ph.D. well?
How to find a good thesis advisor? How is the Advisor-Advisee relationship?
Many of my friends are joining / doing Ph.D., should I?
What are the tools, techniques that successful Ph.D. students use?
How important is networking, getting to know people in your area of work?
How important is social media, and is there a way to effectively use it during Ph.D. life?
So on ...

If you are asking any or all of these questions, tune in to find some answers. I will share my experience of a decade in answering these kinds of questions. Will have some prescriptive and abstract ways by which your Ph.D. life can be made more exciting, productive, and perhaps, a life changing experience.

How do I find out if research is something I like the most and want to spend time in doing a Ph.D. and beyond?
I am scared of committing 5 years for a Ph.D., will it be worth the time?
How can I find out if I will be able to finish my Ph.D. well?
How to find a good thesis advisor? How is the Advisor-Advisee relationship?
Many of my friends are joining / doing Ph.D., should I?
What are the tools, techniques that successful Ph.D. students use?
How important is networking, getting to know people in your area of work?
How important is social media, and is there a way to effectively use it during Ph.D. life?
So on ...

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#PhDLife: Different Strokes for Different Folks

  1. 1. linkedin/in/ponguru @ponguru fb.com/ponnurangam.kumaragurupkatiiitd Young Researchers’ Symposium Invited Talk, CODS-COMAD 3 Jan, 2021 Ponnurangam Kumaraguru (“PK”) #ProfGiri CS, #DeanGiri Student Affairs IIIT Delhi ACM India Council Member TEDx & ACM Distinguished Speaker #PhDLife: Different Strokes for Different Folks
  2. 2. Getting to know the Audience & Protocol Students / Faculty / Others Registered Ph.D. students Thinking about doing Ph.D. Your City & Twitter handle on chat 2 +1 :-) :D :PMute!!!
  3. 3. DISCLAIMER - I ALL CHARACTERS, REFERENCE, STORIES, EXPERIENCES SHARED IN THIS TALK ARE NOT FICTITIOUS. IT IS JUST COINCIDENTAL THAT, YOU MAY RELATE TO SOME OR MANY OF THEM. 3
  4. 4. DISCLAIMER - II Wide audience, different background Will try to keep it abstract, and hopefully everyone will have something to takeaway Will also try to be prescriptive wherever possible 4
  5. 5. What you wanted me to cover? 5
  6. 6. Teaser 6 To Do or Not To do Ph.D. Life during Ph.D. Life after Ph.D. If time permits, some deleted scenes :) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GR-Ui8-V2M0
  7. 7. What is Ph.D.? 7 http://matt.might.net/articles/phd-school-in-pictures/
  8. 8. 8
  9. 9. 10One of the earlier versions of Wombatsecurity.com
  10. 10. 11 Thesis → Wombat https://www.cmu.edu/news/stories/archives/2018/march/wombat-security-acquired.html
  11. 11. Why do Ph.D.? 12
  12. 12. Why do Ph.D.? 13 Satisfaction factor Career growth opportunities Financial growth / status Skills / Background needed Amount of ground already covered Doing Ph.D. Working for a company Starting a company
  13. 13. Why do you want to do Ph.D.? 14 Want to be a faculty Want to be the one among X experts around the world in a given area Respect in society Peer pressure Curiosity Want to shift from industry to academia Just for fun :) https://www.ndtv.com/education/23-scientists-from-delhi-governmen t-universities-in-worlds-top-2-scientists-list-stanford-university
  14. 14. Transition from Industry You should know what you want Try out some courses, projects Managing family, job, and PhD is hard Need social and family support 15 https://www.pinterest.com/pin/862228291128906498/
  15. 15. Teaser 16 To Do or Not To do Ph.D. Life during Ph.D. Life after Ph.D. If time permits, some deleted scenes :) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GR-Ui8-V2M0
  16. 16. Know Your Advisor! Tradeoff between senior professor & junior professor Understand her / his working style Advisor - Advisee relationship Once an Advisor, always an Advisor 17 'You can have a book relationship, the lets-grab-some-coffee relationship, music relationship,etc. There is one romantic relationship. You cannot burden that single relationship with all these small relationships' https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x6tipbu
  17. 17. 18
  18. 18. Set the expectations right 19 http://phdcomics.com/comics/archive.php?comicid=1365
  19. 19. Mandatory course work, qualifier, comprehensive … Different institutes have different expectations Take a wide variety of courses - Courses from different schools Do not stop with only required courses What is Qualifier, Comprehensive exam… 20
  20. 20. Explore a bit before deciding Student #1 CAPTCHA - Privacy - Usable Security - Social Media & Policing Student #2 Cyberbullying - Pedophile - Credibility in Twitter 21 “Want the perfect chair” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y3DlwnW-SmM
  21. 21. Ideas strike anytime 22 https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0865w00 https://www.cmu.edu/news/stories/archives/2014/june/june12_letsgophoneline.html
  22. 22. How to narrow down Research areas / topics 23 Opportunity to dent / contribute Professional opportunities Peer / Community help Skills / Background Amount of work done Topic 1 Topic 2 Topic 3 Luck favors prepared minds!
  23. 23. Some qualities during PhD Motivation Persistence Time management Journal writing Curiosity Live with problem! …. 24 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curious_George_(film) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manjhi_%E2%80%93_The_Mountain_Man
  24. 24. Procrastination / Productivity 25http://phdcomics.com/comics/archive.php?comicid=1350
  25. 25. Procrastination / Productivity 26http://phdcomics.com/comics/archive.php?comicid=2000
  26. 26. Time management PhD Clinic experience 27 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Calendar https://trello.com/
  27. 27. Time management 28https://www.notion.so/
  28. 28. What Ph.D. students do? 29
  29. 29. Allow PhD life to transform you 30 Learn new skills; I took formal courses playing Tennis, Golf, … They are on my transcript :) Make friends outside your domain of work Read topics outside your domain of work Ask questions (even if it is silly / simple) when you attend talks “Fake it until you make it” https://www.amazon.in/Short-History-Nearly-Everything/dp/076790818X https://www.jstor.org/stable/2776392
  30. 30. 5 / 7 Ph.D. students got married during Ph.D. I was married before starting my Ph.D. 31
  31. 31. 5 / 7 Ph.D. students got married during Ph.D. I was married before starting my Ph.D. 32
  32. 32. 33 Student travels
  33. 33. Be active on Social Media, about research :-) 34 https://twitter.com/emilio__ferrara https://twitter.com/ravenben
  34. 34. Be active on Social Media, about research :-) 35 Interact with others working on similar problems online - RT, Like, Comment Read their paper, make comments, ask questions, etc. [Everyone likes Attention] Tag them in relevant posts / replies
  35. 35. PhD students who are active 36 https://twitter.com/eredmil1 https://twitter.com/iamtrask https://twitter.com/seb_ruder
  36. 36. 37 Choices matter “It is our choices [advisor, projects, problems, courses, conferences, etc.], Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” https://harrypotter.fandom.com/wiki/Albus_Dumbledore
  37. 37. 38 Blogademia https://www.mendeley.com/
  38. 38. 39 https://www.researchgate.net/
  39. 39. GitHub 40 https://github.com/precog-iiitd https://github.com/ivan-bilan/The-NLP-Pandect/
  40. 40. Slideshare 41https://www.slideshare.net/precogatIIITD/
  41. 41. Create Public Good http://precog.iiitd.edu.in/resources.html 42 https://snap.stanford.edu/data/
  42. 42. How to respond to critique, failure, reviews, etc.? Positivity Have social support / Friends / Colleagues Celebrate rejection, it's harder, but possible You are not alone! 43 https://in.pinterest.com/pin/113293746856175786/
  43. 43. Teaser 44 To Do or Not To do Ph.D. Life during Ph.D. Life after Ph.D. If time permits, some deleted scenes :) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GR-Ui8-V2M0
  44. 44. Post-Ph.D. life 45
  45. 45. https://india.acm.org/research/phd-clinic
  46. 46. https://india.acm.org/research/phd-clinic
  47. 47. The END! 48 To Do or Not To do Ph.D. Life during Ph.D. Life after Ph.D. If time permits, some deleted scenes :) https://www.primevideo.com/detail/0STBXI66Z6MYO3WC6GNXCSX4Y3/ref=atv_sr_def_c_unkc__1_1_1
  48. 48. Acknowledgements All current-past-students who spent / spending time with me Mohit Chandra (IIITH) for title; Prashant Kodali (IIITH), Siddhartha (Mastercard), Niharika (Naukari), Vedant (GaTech), Precogs for helping with preparing the talk 49 https://www.kindpng.com/imgv/moJbxx_tigger-png-background-image-tigger-winnie-the-pooh/
  49. 49. Pointers https://medium.com/great-research/do-you-need-a-ph-d-f78d2fb0f286 https://karpathy.github.io/2016/09/07/phd/ https://maithraraghu.com/blog/2020/Reflections_on_my_Machine_Learning_PhD_ Journey/ 50
  50. 50. 51 pk@iiitd.ac.in http://precog.iiitd.edu.in/ @ponguru pkatiiitd linkedin/in/ponguru
  51. 51. Strength of Reading / Knowing Papers Magazines Tech world NEWS 52 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZdP-G-F0a8
  52. 52. Develop a network of friends / critiques 53 Students working in the same area Strategies to find them Attend #PhDClinic #AMA Be active on Slack / mailing lists Contribute to local tech / related clubs Become member of ACM India / IEEE https://india.acm.org/research/phd-clinic
  53. 53. Random thoughts Monitor growth - Keep a journal, Revisit journal, Stay focussed Self assessment - Be less judgemental, Being open to criticism, Regular updates on how you are doing and using it to improve / improvise All about having fund 54
  54. 54. Presenting your work! Keep it short, then make it shorter Leave lot more time for Q&A Ask audience questions during the talk Get rid of bullet points [Tufte] Podcast - both listen and create Simplify technical jargon 55 https://www.inf.ed.ac.uk/teaching/courses/pi/2016_2017/phil/tufte-powerpoint.pdf https://www.underratedml.com/, https://twitter.com/mlindiapodcast https://lexfridman.com/podcast/
  55. 55. Presenting / Writing your work! Equations/formulae are often inaccessible Just because a figure/table is in your paper, doesn't mean it should be in your blog post or talk Dont discuss the whole paper, only excite people to read the paper Build a Story for the audience, it is compelling for specific audience Elevator Pitch (2 mins, 3 mins, 5 mins) Write - Write - Write Writer’s block 56
  56. 56. Impact of work 57
  57. 57. Why high level of motivation is needed for PhD? 58
  58. 58. 7 days of Ph.D. Student life :) 59

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