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

Is this a common situation that a researchers notices that her idea is not going to work after considerable amount of work? Yes. But as you get more experienced, you're able to "fail fast" - learn ...
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40 votes
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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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39 votes

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

This is very common, and certainly frustrating. Here is my advice: Don't wait until you have a complete result to start writing. Maintain a TeX document with formal descriptions of your problem, ...
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  • 9,800
17 votes

How to write the introduction of a research paper?

Simon Peyton Jones has an excellent web page devoted not only to advice on writing introductions, but whole papers, and there is a cool video as well. On page 18 of his slides he says that the purpose ...
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  • 26.4k
14 votes
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Is an NP-hardness proof of an NP-hard problem considered a contribution?

There are venues that are interested by elegant proofs of existing results, see for instance the Symposium on Simplicity in Algorithms. So yes, in some cases an elegant proof can be considered as a ...
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  • 1,645
13 votes

What does research in theoretical computer science involve?

Regarding topics There are different type of issues that may be considered theoretical computer science. The important word here is "theoretical" (as we all have some idea of what computer science ...
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  • 1,502
13 votes
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Is it a bad idea to critique someone's paper in my first publication?

I think the same standards apply, regardless of whether it's your 1st or 100th publication. If you think you've found a mistake in a published paper, a common courtesy is to first contact the paper's ...
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  • 10k
12 votes
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Good books on parser theory?

One book that I can recommend is D. Grune, C. J. H. Jacobs, Parsing Techniques: a Practical Guide.
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11 votes

"Berman-Hartmanis Conjecture Separates NP From All Super-Poly. DTIME Classes" -- Worthy of arXiv.org?

I'm glad you are interested in complexity but there are some issues in your paper. Your techniques relativize and there is an oracle relative to which the Berman-Hartmanis conjecture is true and NP = ...
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10 votes

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

In How to Solve It, Pólya advises: "If you can't solve a problem, then there is an easier problem you can solve: Find it."
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10 votes
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Massive online collaboration for solving open problem in theoretical computer science

Polymath projects seems to succeed when a breakthrough happens, and one is trying to optimize the result of the breakthrough or come up with simpler or better proof. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...
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10 votes

Research problems in communication complexity

I'll start with answers to your general questions, then give one nice open problem with applications towards circuit complexity. It's hard to say what areas a new communication complexity researcher ...
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9 votes

What is the best place to get BibTeX entries for ICLR and other machine learning papers?

For NeurIPS (previously NIPS), the NeurIPS website itself is a good source: look for a paper, go to its page, and click on the "BibTex" link. Here is a random sample (!): ICML, COLT, and JMLR appear ...
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  • 4,331
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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  • 26.4k
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

Technical article vs. research paper

Thanks for the question; I had similar questions few years ago, before starting in research (I'm not necessarily assuming that's your case). I've looked at a couple of the links, and they don't ...
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  • 1,999
8 votes

What does research in theoretical computer science involve?

In one sense, browsing this site will tell you the kinds of questions theoretical computer scientists think about (at a low level). At a very high level, theoretical computer scientist ask questions ...
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7 votes

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

There are some nice answers by others. I just want to add a few points: Don't panic! Usually, you expect to be graduated sooner than the average students because you think that you are smarter than ...
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  • 463
7 votes

Are there any intersections between Theory A and Theory B?

One cool example of work that straddles things that are typically considered theory A and things typically considered theory B are the lower bounds on the running time of the simplex algorithm with ...
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6 votes

Research problems in communication complexity

Several long-standing key open problems are in the Kushilevitz and Nisan textbook (see also the list of errata which mentions that Open Problem 8.6 was solved by Dietzfelbinger). Razborov's 2011 ...
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6 votes

Some good Theoretical Computer Science Journals

Apart from top conferences mentioned by @usul, I think Journal of the ACM (JACM) is a top journal in computer science, which also includes many excellent theoretical computer science papers. In ...
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6 votes
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How to evaluate and compare the performance of algorithms in practice?

I believe what you're looking for is the field of Experimental Algorithmics. There is a text by McGeoch, an ACM Journal, and a previous question on this site that provides a reading list for the field....
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6 votes
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What is the best place to get BibTeX entries for ICLR and other machine learning papers?

As an update, I noticed that DBLP has added ICLR to tracking as of today. Now it has ICLR papers and their bibtex available at https://dblp.uni-trier.de/db/conf/iclr/
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6 votes
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Where do people publish/submit their work on type theory?

You can follow the activities of the EUTypes network, and see what meeting are organized. The list of events is growing nicely. As for journals, I can think of Logical Methods in Computer Science and ...
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  • 26.4k
6 votes

Are there any intersections between Theory A and Theory B?

One example (from my research field) is analysis of dynamical systems: in a (linear) dynamical system, you are given a matrix $A\in {\mathbb Q}^{d\times d}$ and you reason about various properties of $...
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  • 5,246
4 votes

What does research in theoretical computer science involve?

it occurred to me that 1sthand accounts might be helpful, but those seem to be somewhat rare in CS (as opposed to eg mathematics, biographical/ memoir-like writing etc). here are two online refs that ...
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  • 10.8k
3 votes

Good books on parser theory?

If you want to learn about the theory of parsers, I recommend volume 1 of this classic book: Aho, Alfred V.; Ullman, Jeffrey D., The theory of parsing, translation, and compiling, Prentice-Hall (1972)...
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3 votes

What would you advise someone who wants to do research as a hobby?

As already said, it is very difficult due to time, background, money and discipline. Generally, if you are able to make a contribution to the field, in principle you would get a PhD and could work as ...
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3 votes

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

What do you do when you cannot make progress on the problem you have been working on? I go for a walk in the woods, or focus on something else for a while, and come back to the problem later. Is ...
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3 votes

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

Don't panic. Take a brief "vacation" from the problem to help clear any anxieties. Read How to Solve It. Decide what will make you happier: retackle the problem or moving on to something new. ...
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