63 votes

Single author papers against my advisor's will?

As a department chair, I can say you aren't alone. These situations come up all too often. Please do reach out to your department chair, graduate program director or grad student ombudsperson if your ...
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40 votes
Accepted

How to find interesting research problems

I strongly disagree with the "find a list of open problems" approach. Usually open problems are quite hard to make progress on, and I'm thoroughly unconvinced that good research is done by tackling ...
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  • 13.2k
28 votes

Single author papers against my advisor's will?

You should switch advisors. Since you are independently writing papers and have a track record, it should be possible to find a fair-minded theory advisor in a different technical area who is willing ...
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27 votes

Algebra oriented branch of theoretical computer science

There have been recent developments in dependent type theory which relate type systems to homotopy types. This is now a relatively small field, but there is a lot of exciting work being done right ...
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  • 13.2k
25 votes

Algebra oriented branch of theoretical computer science

Algebraic geometry is used heavily in algebraic complexity theory and in particular in geometric complexity theory. Representation theory is also crucial for the latter, but it's even more useful when ...
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15 votes

Algebra oriented branch of theoretical computer science

Your knowledge of field theory would be useful in cryptography, while category theory is heavily used in the research on programming languages and typing systems, both of which are closely related to ...
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13 votes
Accepted

How to talk about theory

You may be working with rude elitists, but from my experience, being reluctant to explain technical details depends more on the context than on the person I am talking to. I would usually avoid giving ...
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  • 1,855
12 votes

Is it beneficial to regularly read papers outside your field?

Understanding papers outside your field can be surprisingly difficult --- every field develops its own specialized terminology and shared background knowledge. A much better advice I once received ...
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  • 10.1k
11 votes

Algebra oriented branch of theoretical computer science

Field theory and algrebraic geometry would be useful in topics related to error correcting codes, both in the classical setting as well as in studying locally decodable codes and list decoding. I ...
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10 votes

How to talk about theory

Speaking as a theorist who has occasionally collaborated with systems researchers, mathematical details are usually the very last thing I want to talk about! It's really, really, easy to formalize ...
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9 votes

How to be more "theory-minded"?

Another avenue for interesting exploration is when you're trying to understand the proof of a theorem or lemma. If you dig really deep into the proof to understand exactly how it works (and I don't ...
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9 votes

How to be more "theory-minded"?

One way I have often found theory problems to work on is by reading about an area and trying to figure out exactly what the state of the art is on a problem. Invariably, some basic questions end up ...
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  • 11.8k
9 votes

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

Scenario 1: You spend several months tinkering around with colorings, not reading any literature. After many failed attempts you finally discover one that works. Before you can write a paper about it, ...
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  • 26.7k
8 votes

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

Almost certainly there are lists of open problems in your particular subfield. Find them and read them. Although it's rather unlikely you will be able to solve these problems --- at least right away ...
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8 votes

How to find interesting research problems

David Hilbert is a renowned mathematician. He put forth a list of 23 unsolved problems at the International Congress of Mathematicians in Paris in 1900. I just want to quote part of Yuri Manin ...
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  • 121
8 votes
Accepted

How to be formal while writing papers?

Sure, here's a basic checklist. It would make for a very dry read to actually follow these to the letter, but maybe you should first try to write extremely formally, then see where it's reasonable to ...
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  • 7,090
8 votes

Single author papers against my advisor's will?

Unfortunately, there is little you can do -- a PhD adviser exercises a great deal of control over the students' careers. I think at this point, you're better off placating her and adding her as a co-...
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  • 10.1k
7 votes

Algebra oriented branch of theoretical computer science

There are some problems in computational learning theory, machine learning and computer vision that can be solved using commutative algebra and algebraic geometry. For instance, convergence of the ...
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7 votes

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

I am going to try and answer this with my limited experience. Disclaimer I am just a senior phd candidate myself. The question you are asking is by no means a trivial one nor are you the only one ...
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6 votes

Is it beneficial to regularly read papers outside your field?

You mention TCS+, and as Aryeh's answer suggests talks and seminars may be a much easier and accessible way to learn about other results. From my point of view (inherently subjective, and not too ...
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  • 4,341
6 votes

How to be more "theory-minded"?

I agree with Sasho Nikolov's comment: there are two issues here, whose outcomes might influence one another, but they really are two separate issues: writing better proofs, and coming up with good ...
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6 votes

Algebra oriented branch of theoretical computer science

Have you thought about looking at computer algebra? Axiom is a computer algebra system where the type system is modelled after Category Theory (or Universal Algebra, depending on your view). There are ...
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6 votes

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

I struggled with the same question while pursuing my undergrad in CS. I performed a fair amount of research, but currently work as a software engineer. I can tell you that for the most part, you won't ...
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  • 161
5 votes

Algebra oriented branch of theoretical computer science

Here are a lot of interesting answer, but nobody mentioned that every language $L \subseteq X^{\ast}$ is naturally associated with a monoid structure via the Nerode-Myhill congruence relation. The ...
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  • 1,947
5 votes

Is it beneficial to regularly read papers outside your field?

As a grad student make use of the opportunity to take classes outside of your area and outside of CS. You can audit classes or attend a course partially. This is different from reading papers.
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5 votes

How to be more "theory-minded"?

Finding good problems to work on is a very difficult task, almost every graduate student struggle with it. That is one of the main reasons you have an adviser who can use his experience and help you ...
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5 votes

Can concurrency models be compared in terms of some metrics?

There are no metrics, but an excellent discussion of many concurrency models, in Tony Garnock-Jones PhD thesis. See the (HTML version of the) chapter "Approaches to coordination". This ...
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  • 1,910
4 votes

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

It's a generic question so I'm going to give a generic answer: Speak with your academic adviser! You do have one, right? Are you familiar with his/her research projects? Do any of them interest you? ...
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  • 10.1k
4 votes

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

Here is a suggestion: look for open problems in your field that interests you. Try to reformulate the problem in different representations especially non-standard ones. Try to combine different ideas, ...
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4 votes

Algebra oriented branch of theoretical computer science

Brent Yorgey's thesis, while still just a draft, does an amazing job at explaining why your interests are relevant to TCS. Here is Joyal's talk this past April on related material.
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