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What it Means to Get a PhD. Marc Snir. Department of Computer Science. More. Never took sabbatical Co-director UPCRC Make parallel programming synonymous with programming Co-PI Blue Waters Largest academic supercomputer (in 2011). What Getting a PhD Does Not Mean.

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what it means to get a phd

What it Means to Get a PhD

Marc Snir

Department of Computer Science

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More
  • Never took sabbatical
  • Co-director UPCRC
    • Make parallel programming synonymous with programming
  • Co-PI Blue Waters
    • Largest academic supercomputer (in 2011)
what getting a phd does not mean
What Getting a PhD Does Not Mean
  • Going to an academic career
  • Choosing a career
  • Choosing a lifetime research field
  • Not having a life
what it can mean
What It Can Mean
  • Opportunity for five years of unimpeded creativity
    • "CREATIVITY is thinking up new things. INNOVATION is doing new things." -- Theodore Levitt
  • Opportunity for five years of unopposed perfectionism
    • "In art as in science these is no delight without the detail." – Nabokov
  • Unrivaled opportunity for soaking knowledge broad and deep
  • An opportunity to reach to your limits and learn what you can and can’t do
but disciplines departments and advisors are not all equal
But Disciplines, Departments and Advisors are not all Equal
  • Freedom to roam vs. “early binding” of advisor
  • More or less constrained academic program
  • Big projects vs. individual projects
  • Face time
  • Quality
bad reasons not to get a phd
Bad Reasons not to Get a PhD
  • I am not really sure I can do research
  • I can do it later
  • I really do not like my School
  • I can never see my professors
  • I am frightened to death whenever I have to give a presentation
ways to choose research fields
Ways to Choose Research Fields
  • Are you a hedgehog or a fox?
    • "The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing“ – Archilochus
  • Do you want to do, or do you want to know?
  • Do you want to change the world?