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# Thinking Outside the Box

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### Thinking Outside the Box

1. 1. Wali Memon Twitter: walimemon 1
2. 2. Wali Memon Twitter: walimemon 2
3. 3. First an example:Tutoring in math… Wali Memon Twitter: walimemon 3
4. 4. Math Homework. Grade 6. Mrs. Smith.Page 15 of math book, questions #1-16. Wali Memon Twitter: walimemon 4
5. 5. Math Homework. Grade 6. Mrs. Smith.Page 15 of math book, questions #1-16. Wali Memon Twitter: walimemon 5
6. 6. Math Homework. Grade 6. Mrs. Smith.Page 15 of math book, questions #1-16. Wali Memon Twitter: walimemon 6
7. 7. Math Homework. Grade 6. Mrs. Smith.Page 15 of math book, questions #1-16. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 Wali Memon Twitter: walimemon 7
8. 8. Math Homework. Grade 6. Mrs. Smith.Page 15 of math book, questions #1-16. 1 2 3 4 5/(2*3) = 5/6 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 Wali Memon Twitter: walimemon 8
9. 9. Math Homework. Grade 6. Mrs. Smith.Page 15 of math book, questions #1-16. 1 2 3 4 5/(2*3) = 5/6 5/(2/3) = 15/2 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 Wali Memon Twitter: walimemon 9
10. 10. Math Homework. Grade 6. Mrs. Smith.Page 15 of math book, questions #1-16. 1 2 3 4 5/(2*3) = 5/6 5/(2/3) = 15/2 2/(-2/-3) = 2/(2/3) 2/(2/-1) = 2/-2 = 6/2 = 3 = -1 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 Wali Memon Twitter: walimemon 10
11. 11. Math Homework. Grade 6. Mrs. Smith.Page 15 of math book, questions #1-16. 1 2 3 4 5/(2*3) = 5/6 5/(2/3) = 15/2 2/(-2/-3) = 2/(2/3) 2/(2/-1) = 2/-2 = 6/2 = 3 = -1 5 6 3x + 2 = 4 7 8 5/3 + 1 = 3x = 2 5/3 + 3/3 = 8/3 x = 2/3 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 Wali Memon Twitter: walimemon 11
12. 12. Math Homework. Grade 6. Mrs. Smith.Page 15 of math book, questions #1-16. 1 2 3 4 5/(2*3) = 5/6 5/(2/3) = 15/2 2/(-2/-3) = 2/(2/3) 2/(2/-1) = 2/-2 = 6/2 = 3 = -1 5 6 3x + 2 = 4 7 3x + 2 = 5 8 3x + 1 = 1 5/3 + 1 = 3x = 2 3x = 3 3x = 0 5/3 + 3/3 = 8/3 x = 2/3 x = 3/3 = 1 x =0 9 2x + 2 = 6 10 (2x + 2)/3 = 1 11 word problem 12 2x = 4 2x+2= 3 x=2 2x = 1 13 14 15 16 Wali Memon Twitter: walimemon 12
13. 13. Math Homework. Grade 6. Mrs. Smith.Page 15 of math book, questions #1-16. 1 2 3 4 5/(2*3) = 5/6 5/(2/3) = 15/2 2/(-2/-3) = 2/(2/3) 2/(2/-1) = 2/-2 = 6/2 = 3 = -1 5 6 3x + 2 = 4 7 3x + 2 = 5 8 3x + 1 = 1 5/3 + 1 = 3x = 2 3x = 3 3x = 0 5/3 + 3/3 = 8/3 x = 2/3 x = 3/3 = 1 x =0 9 2x + 2 = 6 10 (2x + 2)/3 = 1 11 word problem 12 2x = 4 2x+2= 3 x=2 2x = 1 Let x = # Apples Bob has 13 14 15 16 Wali Memon Twitter: walimemon 13
14. 14. In Research, there is a tension between:•Natural Repetition Required for Learning•Mastery of “Standard” Techniques•Application/Development of New ideas (what is the “recipe”??) Wali Memon Twitter: walimemon 14
15. 15. Outline of the remaining slides:•Multiple Ways to Succeed•Standard Research Methodology•Don’t put Arbitrary Constraints on yourself•Two Suggested “out-of-box” strategies•Confidence is Needed Wali Memon Twitter: walimemon 15
16. 16. Multiple Ways to Succeed“Out-of-Box” thinkers in the field of literature:1)The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint Exupery1)Gertrude Stein: “Rose is a Rose is a Rose is a Rose” -unconventional -repetition Are these “praises” or “criticisms”? -simplicity3) Alan Moore: “V” for Vendetta , Watchmen The “graphic novel”: On Time Magazine’s list of “100 best novels” Wali Memon Twitter: walimemon 16
17. 17. Standard Research Methodology How to do research? Read Papers, Go to Play around with Conferences/Seminars Your own problem Create/Change Your Own Problem Wali Memon Twitter: walimemon 17
18. 18. Read Papers, Go to Conferences/Seminars1. Shows you what problems are known2. Shows you what problems are interesting3. Gives techniques for problem solvingCan be inspiring for your own problemsand solutions… Wali Memon Twitter: walimemon 18
19. 19. Read Papers, Go to Conferences/Seminars1. Shows you what problems are known2. Shows you what problems are interesting3. Gives techniques for problem solvingCan be inspiring for your own problemsand solutions…but you also need to dothe other steps! Wali Memon Twitter: walimemon 19
20. 20. Read Papers, Go to Play around with Conferences/Seminars Your own problemProvides constant“energy” sourcefor the research Create/Change YourProcess! Own Problem The creative work is done here Draw me a sheep! Wali Memon Twitter: walimemon 20
21. 21. “Problem Sets”:Play around with -Problem given to youYour own problem -You know there is an answer -Solution technique is usually given (in class, in book, etc.)Create/Change Your Problem Set ProblemsOwn Problem were good research problems at one point! (interesting problem, interesting/clean solution). You have seen Many examples. Wali Memon Twitter: walimemon 21
22. 22. “Problem Sets”: Play around with -Problem given to you Your own problem -You know there is an answer -Solution technique is usually given (in class, in book, etc.) Create/Change Your Problem Set Problems Own Problem were good research problems at one point! (interesting problem, interesting/clean solution). You have seen Many examples.Good Research Process:Design your own Problem Set Questions!Iterate on the process (ask questions, do analysis,make hypothesis, generalize, focus, read papers, etc…) Wali Memon Twitter: walimemon 22
23. 23. Don’t be afraid to change the problem or question.Don’t be afraid to solve “trivial” problems first.Invent “toy” problems to get understanding: Try to find the simplest possible non-trivial instance of your problem, and see if you can solve it!Ask good questions… Wali Memon Twitter: walimemon 23
24. 24. Don’t Put Arbitrary Constraints on Yourself•Everyone does this, sometimes unintentionally•Especially New Students•Even Faculty•Including Me =) Wali Memon Twitter: walimemon 24
25. 25. What do I mean by “arbitrary constraints”?Natural Constraints for a problem Silly Psychological Constraints!(Not what I am talking about) (Is what I am talking about) •Timeslots •All problems must have •Poisson Arrivals timeslots •Treat Interference as Noise •All problems assume we •Etc. are given x,y,z, and we mustThese were useful to the researcher. solve for wThey helped make a hard problem •All algorithms must be…simpler to think about. •My advisor is only interested in… •My thesis is only about… One example from my grad school days working on thesis… Wali Memon Twitter: walimemon 25
26. 26. One example from my grad school days working on thesis:Was working on: Had idea for a “simple” mobile• General Networks network with specific rules. Could• General Interference get exact capacity and delay. But…• General Mobility Patterns • “too simple”• Using Lyapunov Drift. • “advisor won’t like it” • “not part of my thesis” • “doesn’t use Lyapunov drift” After overcoming these artificial constraints, I found that my advisor loved the idea, and it became Ch. 6 in my phd thesis! Twitter: walimemon Delay Tradeoffs 26 Wali Memon “Capacity and For Ad-Hoc Mobile Networks”
27. 27. 2 Suggested “Out-of-Box” Strategies:1) Change the existing problem. Get the “Low Hanging Fruit” by asking a question that nobody has asked before. Examples: - Grossglauser-Tse: Can we exploit mobility? - Syed Jafar: Can we “align” interference using propagation delay? - “Sensor Networks” - Can we solve other problems over a network?2) Use Skill Set from one area in another area. You have a great chance of making a significant contribution!Examples: Turbo Codes from VLSI, Economics from DataCompression, etc. Can we use an M/G/1 queue for PHY Layer comm? Wali Memon Twitter: walimemon 27
28. 28. You Need to Have Confidence! Final Observation: • Ph.D. Students typically take 5-6 years to graduate. • After graduation, some get post-doc positions. • They then do the same amount of work (or more) in just 2 years! Why? Wali Memon Twitter: walimemon 28