Wednesday, August 28, 2013


I haven't posted for a while, primarily because I started by sabbatical by going to Copenhagen for most of August.  I was primarily visiting the IT University of Copenhagen, thanks to the outstanding hospitality of Rasmus Pagh.  I also saw Mikkel Thorup, who has started at the University of Copenhagen (which is different from the IT University of Copenhagen), and stopped by the MADALGO summer school.  Copenhagen is a wonderful city -- lots to do and see, but not overwhelming, and with great features like excellent public transportation and (for US people like me) a population where everyone seems to know English as a second language.  ITU has a wonderful building (which is pretty empty of students over the summer) -- I was there a few years back for an ESA conference, and I hear it's where ICALP will be in 2014.  I hear other conferences -- SWAT and SEA -- will also be in Copenhagen next year.  So now's your chance to plan to go to Copenhagen, and I heartily recommend it. 

It felt very productive workwise, which was good in getting the crust of 3 years of administration off in a friendly way.  Research and writing = fun.  The change of environment and the chance to work face to face with people was just what I needed.  I hope to talk about some of the output of the trip soon.

Other good news came in during the month, so it's time to thank some sponsors.  Eddie Kohler and I obtained a Google grant for systems-data structures work.  Much thanks to Google.  Eddie's just a couple doors down from my office (that I hope not to spend too much time in this year);  I'm looking forward to gaining more insight from him into what's important in practice. 

I also get to thank the NSF, who funded my grant proposal this year.  (Officially, that's now NSF CCF-1320231: AF: Small: Collaborative: Data Synchronization : Theory, Algorithms, and Practice.)  As always, while I may sometimes express disagreement with specific policies or issues raised by the NSF, I feel very fortunate that the NSF is around to fund academic research.  I depend on their funding to do my work, and I appreciate the work they do to make it possible.

The reviews I got on the proposal were very interesting, and I plan to discuss them a bit at a high level here in a future post, as it might be interesting or helpful to others.  In particular, the proposal was not universally loved -- there was criticism all around -- but the criticisms were I felt accurate, well thought out, and nicely presented.  While it's obviously a lot easier to say that since the proposal was eventually funded, it also made me feel that the process went well this time, and that I obtained useful feedback, both the positive type and the negative type.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Managing Your Advisor by Nick Feamster

I thought Nick Feamster's post on managing your advisor was a good read and good advice for new graduate students.  In fact, I'd recommend undergraduates read it too -- to get a better idea of how to manage their interactions with professors.