A soft question is a question (possibly subjective) about the field of theoretical computer science as opposed to being a question in theoretical computer science.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

1
vote
0answers
33 views

What makes for a good paper abstract?

I am writing a paper for a TCS conference and wondering what the community's opinion is on how abstracts in TCS should be written, good practices, or rules of thumb. I thought that I had read enough ...
27
votes
13answers
6k views

Most memorable CS paper titles

Following a fruitful question in MO, I thought it would be worthwhile to discuss some notable paper names in CS. It is quite clear that most of us might be attracted to read (or at least glance at) a ...
0
votes
1answer
58 views

Talk for K-12 Students + General Audience Reference Request

I will be giving talks about general topics in CS, and want to hit on TCS as well. The talks will be given to K-12 schools, so not all of them will be seniors who may go to an undergraduate program at ...
28
votes
10answers
3k views

Algebra oriented branch of theoretical computer science

I have a very strong base in algebra, namely commutative algebra, homological algebra, field theory, category theory, and I am currently learning algebraic geometry. I am a math major with an ...
27
votes
3answers
729 views

How to find interesting research problems

Despite several years of classes, I'm still at a loss when it comes to choosing a research topic. I've been looking over papers from different areas and spoken with professors, and I'm beginning to ...
12
votes
4answers
2k views

What are some good introductory books on type theory?

I'm recently studying Haskell and programming languages. Could someone recommend some books on type theory?
5
votes
0answers
109 views

What is the significance of regarding the mutual exclusion problem as a problem of physics?

In the description of his own paper "On Interprocess Communication" [Distributed Computing 1, 2 (1986), 77-101], Leslie Lamport wrote Most computer scientists regard synchronization problems, such ...
0
votes
0answers
76 views

Graph database indexing

Graph databases are usually defined as index-free adjacency and that applies mostly to many current implementations - for example Neo4j - My question is: Is there are any references or papers with ...
0
votes
0answers
91 views

introduction to spectral geometry

In the paper Belkin, Mikhail, and Partha Niyogi. "Laplacian eigenmaps and spectral techniques for embedding and clustering." In NIPS, vol. 14, pp. 585-591. 2001 The ...
4
votes
4answers
312 views

TCS conferences for undergraduate students?

I have noticed that ICFP has a student volunteer program and research program that accepts undergraduate students and POPL have the Programming Language Mentoring Workshop, so I was wondering if there ...
10
votes
3answers
909 views

What does research in theoretical computer science involve?

I am trying to understand what is involved in theoretical computer science research. What do theoretical computer scientists do? I know a significant time is spent on teaching, supervising graduate ...
7
votes
0answers
458 views

Why is single authorship so common among breakthrough papers in computer science?

Looking at the list of important papers in computer science one notices that the majority are authored by a single author. Those include classic papers of Turing, Shannon, Karp and Cook. Cook's solo ...
1
vote
1answer
325 views

Which areas of TCS are better for a math bachelor?

I am graduating from mathemetics bachelor program and I've been accepted for masters degree in mathematics. But I am not sure to pursue math, hence I am looking for other field I can do research. I am ...
44
votes
8answers
4k views

Are there any open problems left about DFAs?

After studying deterministic finite state automata (DFA) in undergrad, I felt they are extremely well understood. My question is whether there is something we still don't understand about them. I ...
13
votes
1answer
460 views

Careers for theoretical computer scientists

What are the typical careers for theoretical computer scientists (people with graduate degree in theoretical computer science)? What kind of industries and institutions look for theoretical computer ...
0
votes
1answer
609 views

Are aspects of the 20 questions game ambitious enough for graduate research?

I am finishing a masters program this year and I'm interested in doing a Ph.D. in the field of Artificial Intelligence. I have an idea I've been tinkering with for a while, but some people have told ...
23
votes
4answers
9k views

What CS blogs should everyone read?

Many top notch computer science researchers and research groups) maintain active blogs that keep us updated on the latest research in the authors' fields of interest. In most cases, blog posts are ...
2
votes
1answer
118 views

Faithful functors vs forgetful functors: exact category-theoretic defs?

In category theory, a functor between two categories $C,D$ is a map $F$ that assigns to each object (resp. morphism) $x$ of $C$ a corresponding object (resp. morphism) $F(x)$ of $D$ by respecting the ...
12
votes
1answer
325 views

How to write the introduction of a research paper?

Apologies if this is too broad a question for this forum, but I'm interested in specific tactics and tips that researchers (in TCS) use to write the introduction of a research paper.
3
votes
2answers
129 views

TCS oriented refs/survey on group theoretic word problem

The word problem for groups was shown to be Turing-complete in 1955 but has many decidable subcases. This problem arose more in mathematical group theory than in theoretical computer science, but now ...
32
votes
7answers
3k views

What do you do when you cannot make progress on the problem you have been working on?

I am a 2nd year graduate student in theory. I have been working on a problem for the last year (in graph theory/algorithms). Until yesterday I thought I am doing well (I was extending a theorem from a ...
0
votes
1answer
208 views

Mathematics degree for Theoretical Computer Science? [closed]

I want to go to grad school in theoretical computer science. I don't like programming. I am in France. Should I pursue a bachelors in math or in computer science?
57
votes
6answers
20k views

What is the contribution of lambda calculus to the field of theory of computation?

I'm just reading up on lambda calculus to "get to know it". I see it as an alternate form of computation as opposed to the Turing Machine. It's an interesting way of doing things with ...
8
votes
1answer
445 views

Connections between the Erdos Discrepancy Problem and (Theoretical) CS?

Recently there have been some new results on computer-based experimental study of the Erdos Discrepancy Problem (EDP) (via SAT solvers, cited below). This problem has been cited and studied by several ...
2
votes
1answer
231 views

How to become a Theoretical Computer Scientist [closed]

I am a computer science graduate from India. I have worked in a reputed software company for 10 months only to discover that my area of interest is something else. So I resigned from there and I am ...
5
votes
1answer
144 views

Interesting programs on small machines

I am teaching a course and have a tiny implementation of a counter-style machine that has the following instructions and two registers, r0 & r1 ...
12
votes
4answers
4k views

Interesting results in TCS which are easily explainable to programmers without technical background

Suppose you're meeting with programmers who have taken some professional programming courses (/ self thought) but didn't study a university level math. In order to show them the beauty of TCS, I'd ...
2
votes
3answers
583 views

Does anyone know of online video courses (in english) on randomness in theoretical computer science?

I have found some video courses like this one but they are all in russian or other languages I don't understand. I'll like to know if anyone has come across lectures (courses) of this kind which are ...
1
vote
0answers
589 views

How to find interesting algorithms to implement?

I am not a researcher in algorithms (I am a college freshman). I would like to implement an interesting recent algorithm from a data structure/algorithms paper. How can find a good algorithms paper ...
1
vote
2answers
217 views

Foundational textbook(s) for Complexity and Computability on Real Numbers

It would be extremely helpful if someone can suggest foundational textbooks on Recursive Analysis (Computability over Reals) which explains connections between Computability and the Topological ...
3
votes
0answers
266 views

Technical article vs. research paper

Being a professional software engineer, i have seen a lot of really interesting technical work, many of it is published as technical articles in technical journals and websites like ...
3
votes
3answers
466 views

Why do theoreticians in CS use multiple-letter variables?

This is a "dual" question of a popular post on math.se. Some mathematical objects in computational complexity theory have multiple-letter names. Complexity classes such as $\mathbf{BPP}$ have an ...
5
votes
0answers
218 views

Being a theoretician at a business university?

I'm currently on the job market and I've seen some open faculty positions in computer science at a business university (which is quite reputable among its kind). While the job opening doesn't ...
2
votes
1answer
214 views

What are the open ended questions for an CS Undergraduate to think about? [closed]

What can be a possible open ended research topics in Computational Complexity (or something equally fun), for an undergraduate to think about? [I am planning to take up something fun, however my ...
9
votes
4answers
933 views

Author ordering in TCS papers

While the rule of thumb is that in TCS papers the authors are ordered alphabetically, there are some notable counterexamples that comes to mind, wherein the authors are ordered in a different way, ...
7
votes
3answers
607 views

What is the importance of a TCS researcher in a mostly applied CS department?

Stating the title in another way, how to convince a strong applied CS department that a theorist would be a better choice than one more applied computer scientist? I understand that it is natural for ...
18
votes
4answers
914 views

When does (or should) Theoretical CS care about intuitionistic proofs?

From what I understand (which is very little, so please correct me where I err!), theory of programming languages is often concerned with "intuitionistic" proofs. In my own interpretation, the ...
5
votes
0answers
433 views

What should I do to switch from math department to cs to research tcs topics?

This can be a very weird question, but I haven't seen the same situation with mine in this forum, so I'd like to put this. Let me introudce my situation first. I'm now a math student of master ...
10
votes
2answers
648 views

Resources for mathematicians hoping to learn more computer science

Background: I'm coming to the end of my masters degree in Mathematics and will be starting a PhD in Logic in August. The more logic I study, the more theoretical computer science I am exposed to, ...
1
vote
2answers
392 views

How do top researchers keep track new results in datastructures

Is there any twitter or some feed,which constantly sends new results which are being published to your mail.
5
votes
0answers
111 views

conceptual tools for illustrating types of computation?

From time to time I come across concepts in programming that take a certain number of exposures to grasp. Things like: tail calls, futures, monads, coroutines, closures, call/cc. The common theme is ...
6
votes
0answers
359 views

Does a depth knowledge on theory of computation helps to be a better practitioner

I would like to know whether knowledge of the theory of computation can help you to be a better practitioner. Is it enough to obtain some depth of knowledge of algorithms and data structures, or would ...
11
votes
1answer
601 views

How can I use my computational theory and analysis powers for the greater good?

Outside of academia, what are the uses of my 'powers'? What can I do other than teaching and publishing papers? Where all can I apply my powers? For the sake of argument: Please assume I have a PhD ...
-5
votes
1answer
122 views

Do irrational number contain infinate/every patterns of sequences? [closed]

I guess the question is "does an 'infinite' number of patterns imply 'every' number of patterns?" For instance, if you could quickly calculate the decimal sequence of π, could you not (in ...
9
votes
1answer
382 views

Understanding the talks in Conferences and Workshops

I am a graduate student from India. I am very much interested in attending the Workshops, conferences, and invited lecturers given by prominent professors. At the end of the talk as usual some people ...
4
votes
2answers
596 views

P vs NP: Instructive example of when Brute Force search can be avoided

To be able to explain the P vs NP problem to non-mathematicians I would like to have a pedagogical example of when Brute Force-search can be avoided. The problem should ideally be immediately ...
25
votes
6answers
2k views

Can one return to a TCS research job after an excursion to a non-research industry job?

I have heard from some senior researchers in theoretical computer science that working in a non-research industry job, even just for a few years, will kill your career as a TCS researcher. However I ...
18
votes
4answers
3k views

Abstract algebra for Theoretical Computer Scientists

I have a reasonable undergrad math education but have never been 100% comfortable with abstract algebra (the mathematics of groups, rings, fields etc. ). I think this was partly as I needed to see ...
25
votes
2answers
2k views

Is it sometimes better to not publish at all?

I hope this is not a politically incorrect question to ask, but for a PhD student who usually publishes at CCC/ITCS/ICALP (and occasionally at FOCS/STOC), could it be harmful (career-wise) to publish ...
1
vote
2answers
144 views

Classic parallel clustering algorithms

I'm starting a research about parallel clustering. I see a ton of articles on this topic, so that I don't know where to start. I'd like to get familiar with classic methods of parallelizing ...