on life in academia serge abiteboul inria futurs and univ paris 11 n.
Download
Skip this Video
Loading SlideShow in 5 Seconds..
On life in academia Serge Abiteboul INRIA-Futurs and Univ. Paris 11 PowerPoint Presentation
Download Presentation
On life in academia Serge Abiteboul INRIA-Futurs and Univ. Paris 11

Loading in 2 Seconds...

play fullscreen
1 / 33

On life in academia Serge Abiteboul INRIA-Futurs and Univ. Paris 11 - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


  • 126 Views
  • Uploaded on

On life in academia Serge Abiteboul INRIA-Futurs and Univ. Paris 11. Introduction Some questions you always wanted to ask Performance evaluation Success optimization Result: Life is great in academia Conclusion. Organization. Introduction. What is academia?.

loader
I am the owner, or an agent authorized to act on behalf of the owner, of the copyrighted work described.
capcha
Download Presentation

PowerPoint Slideshow about 'On life in academia Serge Abiteboul INRIA-Futurs and Univ. Paris 11' - euclid


An Image/Link below is provided (as is) to download presentation

Download Policy: Content on the Website is provided to you AS IS for your information and personal use and may not be sold / licensed / shared on other websites without getting consent from its author.While downloading, if for some reason you are not able to download a presentation, the publisher may have deleted the file from their server.


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - E N D - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Presentation Transcript
on life in academia serge abiteboul inria futurs and univ paris 11
On life in academia Serge AbiteboulINRIA-Futurs and Univ. Paris 11

Serge - Life in academia - 2007

organization
Introduction

Some questions you always wanted to ask

Performance evaluation

Success optimization

Result: Life is great in academia

Conclusion

Organization

Serge - Life in academia - 2007

what is academia
What is academia?
  • Academia is a collective term for the scientific and cultural community engaged in higher education and research, taken as a whole.
  • The word comes from the akademeia just outside ancient Athens, where the gymnasium was made famous by Plato as a center of learning... Wikipedia
  • Also on the Web (Google define:academia)
    • Hypothetical or theoretical and not expected to produce an immediate or practical result.
    • Marked by a narrow focus on or display of learning especially its trivial aspects

Serge - Life in academia - 2007

why go to academia
To manage people

To be rich

To not work

To be famous

To have power

To be useful

try the army

try start-ups

try a rich spouse

try show business or serial killer

try politics

try NGO

Why go to academia?

Serge - Life in academia - 2007

some reasonable reasons
Tough question

Because you cannot do anything else

Because you don’t have any better idea

We will come back to that

Some reasonable reasons

Why???

Serge - Life in academia - 2007

how do they spend their time conflicting demands
How do they spend their time?Conflicting demands
  • The tasks
    • Teaching
    • Research
      • Including system development/experimentation
    • Advising (PhD students, etc.)
    • Grants
    • Reviewing
    • Industry and consulting

And the normal life: family, friends, hobbies, sports…

  • Time management is the big issue

Serge - Life in academia - 2007

may vary depending on institutions where
May vary depending on institutions – where ?
  • Teaching load varies from 0 to hundreds of hours per year
    • Industry academic research centers: IBM, MS, Lucent… (rare)
    • Pure research institutes such as INRIA (rare)
      • I teach 30-40 hours a year but I don’t have to
    • University
      • Depends on the university: much less at Stanford U. than at San Jose State
      • Depends on the country: less in UK than in France than in Germany
        • In China?
  • Implication in software development also varies a lot

Serge - Life in academia - 2007

how do i spend my time
How do I spend my time

100%

0%

Time spent

doing research

PhD junior senior

  • Not the way you would expect 
  • And not improving with time 

other activities

real research

education

social

Serge - Life in academia - 2007

how do you spend your time in academia
How do you spend your time in academia?
  • Some university in the US
  • Source: private + Jennifer Widom (expert in time management)
  • Travel – too varied to quantify
    • Conferences, visiting colleagues, grant-related meetings, etc.
  • Light (each <1 hour/week)
    • Coffee and lunch breaks
    • Prospective & think of new topics
    • Read research papers you don’t have to review

Serge - Life in academia - 2007

how do you spend your time in academia1
How do you spend your time in academia?
  • Medium (each 1-5 hours/week)
    • Deliver lectures
    • Department duties: committees, faculty meetings, etc.
    • Write research papers
    • Reviewing
    • Grant-related work (proposals, reports, etc.)
    • Read drafts of student
  • Heavy (each >5 hours/week)
    • Handle e-mail of all sorts
    • Prepare class lectures, handouts, assignments, exams
    • Research meetings including meetings with PhD students

Serge - Life in academia - 2007

spending time in front of a dull machine
Reading/writing code & documentation

Reading/writing papers

Reading/writing emails

Blogging about life in academia

Spending time in front of a dull machine

Serge - Life in academia - 2007

work life balance
There is no limit to the number of papers/lines of code you can write

There is little limit to working hours

If you don’t think you can balance, choose another job

Rumor: job-related stress is the main cause for leaving academia

[Opposite rumor: people join academia because of less stress]

Work-Life balance

Serge - Life in academia - 2007

the ancient rituals
The ancient rituals
  • When the season comes, the researchers gather in some fancy place for bizarre rituals with weird names that make sense only to the initiated, such as SIGMOD, PODS, VLDB…
  • The main point is networking
    • Not for favors
    • Perhaps to be part of the crowd
    • To meet the colleagues you want to work with
  • Hitting bars is more important than attending talks (don’t repeat this to your advisors – they know)
  • Sponsored link

Serge - Life in academia - 2007

warning you came too late
Warning: You came too late

Thank you for attending

the first virtual SIGMOD

  • The time of these gatherings is counted because of their ecologically disastrous effect

Serge - Life in academia - 2007

tough life think about it
Tough life – Think about it
  • Academia is a very competitive environment

Do you know many places with such a high percentage of PhDs?

  • Academia is loaded with smart people who are perhaps
  • faster
  • more knowledgeable
  • better at writing code or proving theorems
  • than you
  • Sponsored link

Serge - Life in academia - 2007

evaluation is essential in academic life
Evaluation is essential in academic life
  • You will be evaluated all the time
    • For papers to conferences and journals
    • For grants, awards
    • By ranking in GoogleScholar, Citeseer, h-index…
    • For promotion also
  • People sometimes get reviews such as “this is stupid” or “no real contribution”
  • Don’t worry
    • This is life and life is tough
    • This is the price to pay for having one of the greatest jobs on earth
    • This is not going to improve with time

Serge - Life in academia - 2007

evaluation pitfalls
Evaluation: pitfalls
  • It is not because your work was rejected that it is trash
    • Reviewers are sometimes wrong
    • May be you are ahead of your time
  • (2) It is not because your work was accepted that you are a star
    • Reviewers are sometimes wrong
    • May be you just did some timely increment
  • I have seen colleagues (including myself) indulging in both
  •  Both are negative and lead to psychological disorders
  •  Both are positive and lead to breakthroughs
    • You become modest and work harder
    • You are driven to push further your works & dare wild ideas

Serge - Life in academia - 2007

evaluation the two sides of the coin
Evaluation: the two sides of the coin
  • The reviewers and reviewee are the same people
  • They are too busy and they sometimes do a poor job at it
  • Remember! you are both reviewer and reviewee
    • As a reviewer, do reviews seriously as a service to the community
    • As a reviewee, try to understand the point of the reviewer
      • There is always the chance that she is smarter than you
      • Even if he is not so smart, he is the one deciding!
  • And this is the best known system,
  • arguably better than a random function (not proven though)

Serge - Life in academia - 2007

evaluation what you should try to remember
Evaluation: what you should try to remember

Peer reviewing is arguably the best known system

Serge - Life in academia - 2007

optimizing your chances of success
Optimizing your chances of success
  • Learn to manage your time
    • Try to focus your time/energy on the essential
  • Work hard
    • Most successful people I have met in academia are hard workers
  • Kiss! = keep it simple stupid!
    • This is true for systems but also for theory
  • Human quality matters
    • Most of the successful works I have seen are teamwork
    • The quality of relationships in the workplace is a key ingredient to success
    • In particular, the weird alchemy between colleagues (e.g., between advisor and advisee)

Serge - Life in academia - 2007

optimizing your chances of success1
Optimizing your chances of success
  • Choose carefully your research topic
    • Is it new? Elegant? Technically Challenging? Useful?
    • Is it fun?
  • Quotes (apocryphal )
  • I had this idea of a topic. I got drunk. It still sounded like a topic. Then I decided it was one.
  • Italian researcher who asked to remain anonymous
  • This idea is crazy and will probably not work. It is so much unlike everything I have seen before. Who cares! Let’s try it for the fun.
  • French researcher who is declining any responsibility

Serge - Life in academia - 2007

why it is such a great job
Why it is such a great job
  • Intellectually exciting and challenging
    • I don’t know of any job that is as much fun

(perhaps writing novels but that’s too competitive)

  • Less repetitive than other jobs
    • When you get tired of a topic, you change
  • Freedom and independence
    • No real boss
    • Freedom to choose what you want to work on
  • Rich human interactions with smart and international people
  • Socially positive
    • People think it is a cool job
    • Clearly useful (for teaching and perhaps research)

I am free!!!!

Serge - Life in academia - 2007

10 highlights of life in academia
10 highlights of life in academia
  • Some light of understanding in the eyes of the audience
  • The excitement of the arrival of a new PhD student
  • The deliverance of the departure of a PhD student (aka defense)
  • The success of your ex-students in their career
  • The orgasm of proving a theorem that resisted for months
  • The delight of having your system finally do something real
  • The ecstasy of having a paper accepted at a top conference
  • The happiness of seeing your paper cited and (with God’s help) even read
  • The joy of seeing a book that you wrote on the desk of a colleague

There are only 9!

Just to check whether you are listening carefully

[AbiteboulHullVianu]

Serge - Life in academia - 2007

do not freak out
Do not freak out!

Don’t be overwhelmed by your responsibility in the progress of science

Anyway, most of the time you will be too busy to think about it

  • I wont let my very high philosophical expectations of research interfere with my main goal that is to get:
    • A PhD
    • A job
    • Tenure
    • This grant
    • Other (indicate what) ……………….

Serge - Life in academia - 2007

and the most important
Enjoy your time as PhD student

If you choose academia, enjoy it!

Sponsored links

INRIA INRIA proposes postdocs in many areas. Tell your friends

Gemo, Paris INRIA’s database group. The best environment for database research

And the most important

Serge - Life in academia - 2007

some interesting questions i was asked when presenting this talk
Some interesting questions I was asked when presenting this talk
  • Aren’t there too few women in academia?
    • There are for sure too few in computer science
    • We should do efforts to have more women in general in science and in engineering
  • What is the value of a PhD if you don’t stay in academia?
    • A PhD is a great personal experience even no matter what you do after
    • The training of engineers via research yields better engineers
    • So, it is worth it even if it is not clear whether it pays salary-wise
  • What should you do immediately after your PhD?
    • It is a very good idea to go away for one or two years, e.g., post-docs
    • It is a very bad idea to be hired in the department where you graduated

Serge - Life in academia - 2007

merci
Merci

Merci

Sigmod/Pods, Beijing 2007

Serge - Life in academia - 2007

bibliography
Bibliography
  • David Lodge: Going places & other novels
  • Batya Gur: Literary murder
  • http://chronicle.com/jobs/blogs.htm: a list of blogs about life in academia – I did not find the time to read them
  • ACM Sigmod record interviews by Marianne Winslett

Serge - Life in academia - 2007