Showing posts from February, 2021

Foundational distributed systems papers

I talked about the importance of reading foundational papers last week. To followup, here is my compilation of foundational papers in the distributed systems area. (I focused on the core distributed systems area, and did not cover networking, security, distributed ledgers, verification work etc. I even left out distributed transactions, I hope to cover them at a later date.)  I classified the papers by subject, and listed them in chronological order. I also listed expository papers and blog posts at the end of each section. Time and State in Distributed Systems Time, Clocks, and the Ordering of Events in a Distributed System. Leslie Lamport, Commn. of the ACM,  1978. Distributed Snapshots: Determining Global States of a Distributed System. K. Mani Chandy Leslie Lamport, ACM Transactions on Computer Systems, 1985. Virtual Time and Global States of Distributed Systems.  Mattern, F. 1988. Practical uses of synchronized clocks in distributed systems. B. Liskov, 1991. Expository papers

Read papers, Not too much, Mostly foundational ones

Here is my advice to people who want to develop competence and expertise in their fields. Read papers By papers, I mean technical research papers, not white papers or blog posts.  By read, I mean read rigorously and critically .  Not too much If you read rigorously and critically, you cannot read too many papers.  Moreover, learning by doing is the only way to internalize and grok a concept. If you read papers all day, you don't have time to try things yourself.  If you are a PhD student, maybe read two or three papers a week (but, remember, rigorously and actively). If you are not in academia, maybe read one paper a week or two.    Mostly foundational ones While there are exceptions, it is better to prioritize: seminal work over incremental work, general principled work over point-solutions, work introducing techniques/tools over work applying techniques A big exception is good expository papers. Unfortunately, the academia treats them as something the cat dragged in, because they

How to make Zoom teaching suck less

Here are some tips I learned doing remote teaching last semester. I am putting them out here hoping that they help some teachers and students. Many of these tips will also be useful for remote workers in meetings and presentations. Start the class with initial chitchat The students are stressed, and initial chitchat is the least bit we can do to help. By opening the Zoom meetings 10 minutes early, and making comments about the weather, or some recent news or trivia, I found that students were ready to chime in and socialize before class.  Making your pet a part of this will melt the students' hearts. For the occasions when I could convince Pasha to cooperate for a couple minutes, that was an absolute crowd pleaser. It made everyone start talking about their pets as well. I think it would be useful to use props, like different costumes/hats or decors related to the day's lecture,  but I didn't have any good ideas of how to do this. Use informal yes/no polls frequently To kee

How I lost 20 pounds

At the beginning of January I was around 220 pounds (99.7 kg). After a month of dieting and exercise, I am now at 200 pounds (90.7 kg) How did I do it? I followed intermittent fasting! I skipped breakfast and had a brunch around noon. Then I had dinner around 5:30pm. I didn't eat anything from dinner time until noon. I cutout all baking from my diet. I limited myself to cheese/yogurt, eggs, vegetables, fruits, and meat. If I didn't feel full at brunch or dinner, I just ate extra yogurt or salad to feel full. I also slowed down considerably when eating and chewed my food thoroughly. Since there is less to eat, this helped me make it last longer and enjoy it more. I have been dieting to get rid of Covid pounds. — Murat Demirbas (@muratdemirbas) January 24, 2021 I drank coffee (no sugar, sometimes with coconut oil or with steamed milk) to curb my appetite in the morning and in the afternoon.  I combined dieting with a small amount of exercise. I did the

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