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Questions tagged [advice-request]

practical questions about doing research in theoretical computer science

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2 votes
0 answers
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Accessible entry for computational complexity theory through concrete problems

I am planning to start studying computational complexity theory. As the field is technical for a fresh undergrad alumni like me, I thought a good approach is to tackle it through areas I am more ...
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2 votes
2 answers
250 views

When should one start looking at existing results in theoretical CS?

I'm currently a PhD student in theoretical computer science. I've been working on this problem daily for almost a month that has been well studied and was assigned to me by my advisor. The problem is ...
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0 votes
0 answers
134 views

How to read a COLT or other paper related learning theory?

I am a master student right now. And first time met the theoretical computer science, I am really interested in it, and especially the learning theory part. Wish to do research about this part in the ...
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1 vote
0 answers
154 views

Starting a Career in Theoretical Computer Science

I am a third year mathematics student from Nigeria. I'm considering diving into theoretical Computer science after my B.sc in Mathematics, but the only computer science course that I've done is just ...
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  • 11
1 vote
1 answer
162 views

What math courses should I revisit to prepare for a CS Ph.D. (Reinforcement learning and Game Theory)?

I am planning to join a CS Ph.D. program in 6 months. My topics of research will be in the area of Reinforcement Learning and Game Theory. Even though I have a good grasp of these two topics’ ...
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1 vote
2 answers
181 views

Can concurrency models be compared in terms of some metrics?

In Seven Concurrency Models in Seven Weeks by Butcher, it compares Actor Model and Communicating Sequential Processes (CSP): CSP is more flexible than actor model: In actor model, the medium of ...
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  • 619
4 votes
1 answer
167 views

Formal theory about explaining algorithms

There is a lot of algorithms written in formal languages, but I have never seen any formal system which target is to explain or give a rationale behind an algorithm. It seems that when constructing ...
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41 votes
4 answers
5k views

Single author papers against my advisor's will?

I am a third year PhD student in an area of theoretical CS that would like advice for a difficult situation with my advisor. My advisor is not involved in my research projects at all. In particular, ...
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18 votes
3 answers
790 views

How to talk about theory

I realize this might be a contentious question, but this seemed like the right place to ask. Please redirect me if not. The background is that I am a "practitioner" (PhD student, I don't study CS ...
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12 votes
3 answers
650 views

Is it beneficial to regularly read papers outside your field?

What do you think about regularly reading papers outside one's own field, even those which are not related to one's area? My intuition is that it can give a totally different perspective or technique ...
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  • 175
17 votes
4 answers
1k views

How to come up with an non-trivial idea in theoretical computer science?

I am a PhD student working in theoretical computer science. I have read the research papers of many researcher and I have seen many tools and mathematics they use for designing an algorithm. For ...
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  • 307
12 votes
4 answers
1k views

How to be more "theory-minded"?

Apologies in advance for this a soft question which has no closed, correct answer. This is probably the best forum to ask my question. I am a third year graduate student in theory group of a top-15 ...
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  • 1,035
7 votes
1 answer
311 views

How to be formal while writing papers?

I am just beginning my second year of PhD. While my advisor is largely happy with my progress and work, there seems to be a recurring point in our discussions that I need to be more formal in my ...
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  • 1,035
3 votes
0 answers
169 views

Is there a computer science equivalent page for this: "How to become a GOOD Theoretical Physicist"?

http://www.staff.science.uu.nl/~gadda001/goodtheorist/ I was wondering if any one has come across a page similar to the above but for CS.
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  • 39
5 votes
1 answer
265 views

Is education for research-based CS at odds with that of industrial CS?

I'm an undergraduate strongly interested (well, this is a hunch) in theoretical CS and all things mathematical. While I'd like to devote my time to participating in research opportunities and learning ...
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  • 171
4 votes
0 answers
275 views

Faculty hiring differences between US and UK/Germany [closed]

This question contains some great answers on how to get a job. I wonder whether there are some significant differences if I will be looking for a position in Europe (in particular, UK and Germany) as ...
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  • 141
33 votes
12 answers
6k 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 ...
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50 votes
3 answers
7k 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 ...
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  • 653
0 votes
1 answer
1k 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 ...
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  • 155
0 votes
1 answer
709 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 ...
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  • 125
21 votes
1 answer
3k 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.
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2 votes
0 answers
115 views

Possible generalizations of associativity?

The well-known notion of associativity in algebra leads to structures with interesting properties, such as groups or semigroups. According to a paper by John Rhodes, some researchers in algebra and ...
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0 votes
1 answer
733 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?
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3 votes
1 answer
332 views

Learning road map for functional programming from the viewpoint of category theory

I am now considering about studying functional programming from the viewpoint of category theory. There are a lot of books about functional programming and category theory, I want some suggestions ...
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2 votes
1 answer
2k 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 ...
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4 votes
1 answer
582 views

Looking for learning resources

I am an undergraduate student of Computer Science and am very interested in learning the theoretical part of it all. Unfortunately, none of the subjects we have in our UG program give us an insight ...
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6 votes
0 answers
943 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 ...
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  • 61
26 votes
6 answers
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 ...
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  • 975
14 votes
1 answer
4k views

Need a good overview for Succinct Data Structure algorithms

(already asked on main site, but asking also here for better coverage, sorry) Since I knew about Succinct Data Structures I'm in a desperate need of a good overview of most recent developments in ...
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  • 243
4 votes
2 answers
820 views

What is considered significant when applying for a TCS PhD with major changed

I am a Master student on CS. Actually in theory. I have a BE in polymer (Chemical Eng stuff), and I struggled somehow to get enrolled in this program. I want to apply a TCS PhD in US. So, what do ...
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  • 329
21 votes
3 answers
7k views

Good practices for writing algorithms

This is about how effectively we can express an algorithm at hand. I need this for my undergraduate teaching. I understand there is no such thing as standard way of writing a pseudo code. Different ...
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  • 709
71 votes
12 answers
9k views

How important is knowing how to program for TCS?

Coming from a more mathematical background, I never really learned how to code. I am starting a PhD in TCS and many people were surprised by how little I knew about programming (and about computer in ...
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  • 1,645
16 votes
3 answers
10k views

Graduate studies (PhD) in CS Theory vs. Applied Math

Given most American universities only accept applications in only one field, I'm trying to figure out what are the advantages/disadvantages of applying to a CS theory program vs an applied math ...
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10 votes
2 answers
731 views

PhD Development; Literature Review Tactics

Not sure if correct area, but here goes. Starting a PhD in Trust and Reputation Management in Communications networks (lots of graph theory, probabilistic analysis, etc), and have lots of reading ...
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10 votes
3 answers
1k views

How easy is it to switch the area of research in CS (going from M.Tech to PhD)?

I'm faced with a rather tough dilemma :- I had completed M.Tech in CS 2 years back, completing my dissertation in the field of VLSI Testing. While I liked my work, I don't wish to go back to pursue ...
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  • 446
16 votes
4 answers
1k views

When are more publications less?

Are there cases where extra publications can hurt your record? This is avoiding the obvious cases where you publish incorrect, or controversial results. Also avoiding the case of finite-time: you ...
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0 votes
2 answers
384 views

What do I need to know about post-doc

I am a PhD student in Theoretical Computer Science I am finishing PhD this year and now I want to apply for post-doc positions. I want to know if there exists a source where can I read about how to ...
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1 vote
1 answer
266 views

Citation style for CS publications

What is the recommended citation style for use with CS (and related) publications? I tried looking at submissions at http://arxiv.org/archive/cs but all of them seem to use different citation styles. ...
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  • 113
7 votes
3 answers
507 views

How do you go from insights to formal solutions?

My question pertains to the problem of translating ideas and insights to the solution (of some problem) into formal notations, thus expressing the answer formally. In other words, having a bunch of ...
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  • 654
10 votes
7 answers
2k views

Are there pre-doc positions in TCS?

Are there positions for recently graduated bachelor or masters students with a record of research to work as a researcher before committing to their PhD? TCS has a culture of post-doc positions for ...
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6 votes
2 answers
547 views

PageRank for a Non-Random Searcher

I'm looking to adapt the PageRank algorithm as a centrality measure in a network. This network however, unlike the "random surfer" of the original paper on PageRank, or the random library browser for ...
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  • 143
37 votes
4 answers
2k views

What is the smallest result you publish on ArXiv?

In essence, the question is: What is the least publishable unit for the ArXiv? Of particular interest are fields that use the ArXiv extensively such as quantum computing. But comments on other ...
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9 votes
2 answers
2k views

The average number of annual publications for CS postdocs

What is the average number of publications (including conference proceedings), per year, for CS postdoctoral researchers in the US? What are the ways to find out or estimate this number?
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  • 207
6 votes
5 answers
4k views

How to make a paper stronger?

After reading this question and David's answer I thought a more general question asking for tips would be useful. So how can authors make (and write) a paper stronger?
5 votes
2 answers
481 views

Reading Papers with Unclear Typesetting

From time to time, I have to read a paper with unclear typesetting. By this, I mean: very small fonts; sometimes 8pt or smaller. very bad scan; Using bitmap fonts instead of vector ones. too old ...
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  • 16.3k
2 votes
2 answers
121 views

Asking optimal questions to differentiate object in set

I have a problem in mind and I am sure this is likely an area of active research, but am at a loss as to the correct terminology and thus unable to find any reference literature. It is best explained ...
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  • 825
40 votes
3 answers
1k views

Selecting papers to read

DISCLAIMER: This is an open ended question and stackexchange puritans would probably feel an extraordinary urge to vote it down to oblivion. However, I cannot think of any other forum more appropriate ...
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  • 565
6 votes
3 answers
2k views

Mathematical background needed for pursuing a PhD in TCS [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What kind of mathematical background is needed for complexity theory? I'm a final year undergrad and I'm looking to pursue a PhD in theoretical computer science in the long ...
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12 votes
8 answers
6k views

What math courses should I take to prepare for a CS masters or PhD?

I'm a self-taught professional programmer. I am pretty good at it (Ruby, Unix, Clojure, Java, Objective-C), but now I'm thinking of taking it to the next level by maybe applying for a masters or PhD ...
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  • 231
19 votes
2 answers
4k views

Is a PhD in TCS the best way towards achieving a career in industrial research?

My idea of a dream career is a career in industrial research, where one gets to tackle problems which are challenging, and also have a practical usage. To that end, is pursuing a PhD in TCS (I'm ...
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  • 446