Showing posts from June, 2014


Managing your resources (energy, time, and students) is a nontechnical topic, but nevertheless it is essential for your success in academia. There isn't much talk or guidance in these topics at the graduate school. You are expected to attain these skills on your own or maybe acquire them by osmosis from professors and colleagues. Here I will keep it short, and just post my summary slides of 3 great books I read on management. The first one is the seven habits book . This book is about managing yourself as an effective person. I first read this book around 18 and found it long, tedious, and boring. Reading it again at 38, I think the book has great advice. Link to my summary slides on the seven habits book. Getting Things Done (GTD)  is the best book on time and project management with low stress. This summer, do yourself a favor: Read the book, and adopt the GTD system ASAP. You will thank me later. Link to my summary slides on the GTD book. I am not aware of much work on

Targeted crowdsourcing using app/interest categories of users

Part of my research is on crowdsourcing. Basically, crowdsourcing means performing micro-collaborations with many people to complete a task. You divide the task into microtasks and outsource it to people. They provide solutions to your microtasks, and you aggregate those to obtain the solutions to the microtasks, and then ultimately to your task. Aggregating the responses from the crowd is a challenge of itself. If the questions are asked as open ended questions, the answers would come in a variety of types, and you would not be able to aggregate them automatically with a computer. (You may use human intelligence again to aggregate them, but how are you going to aggregate/validate these next level aggregators?) To simplify the aggregation process, we use multiple-choice question answering (MCQA). When the answers are provided in choices, a, b, c, or d, they become unambiguous and easier to aggregate with a computer. The simplest solution for aggregation of MCQA is the majority voti

Writing versus Typing

Recently, there have been several high profile articles on how writing with pens is much better for the brain than typing. One article presented a study that found: If you write rather than type, you will learn and recall more of the lecture. For full disclosure, I am a fountain-pen fan and I enjoy the elegance and beauty of writing with the pen. I like writing so much that I have been thinking about converting to a tablet solution (MS Surface Pro 3). But, as I weigh my options, I cannot get myself to go for a tablet solution or a dual (laptop+tablet) solution. Typing simply knocks the socks off writing when it comes to productivity. Writing with a fountain-pen has many drawbacks. First of all it is not digital. It can not be easily stored and archived. It is not searchable, and so is not available easily. Most importantly, the writing produced by the fountain-pen is not easily editable. So, this forces you to be extra careful for writing, and self-censor, and this kills creati

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