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Interdisciplinary Research: Opportunities and Challenges Anne Condon The Department of Computer Science U. British Columbia Nancy Amato Department of Computer.

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Presentation on theme: "Interdisciplinary Research: Opportunities and Challenges Anne Condon The Department of Computer Science U. British Columbia Nancy Amato Department of Computer."— Presentation transcript:

1 Interdisciplinary Research: Opportunities and Challenges Anne Condon The Department of Computer Science U. British Columbia Nancy Amato Department of Computer Science and Engineering Texas A&M University

2 What Ill talk about why consider interdisciplinary research how to do great interdisciplinary research how to make sure you'll get a rewarding job when you graduate

3 Why interdisciplinary research? great ideas often transcend boundaries computer science provides new ways of thinking about, and seeing our world new technologies that are fundamentally changing our world in ways we barely understand there are incredible opportunities!

4 What are the opportunities? you can work on important problems work on problems you care about develop broad perspective and skills have great collaborations see relevance of your work enrich our discipline

5 Interdisciplinary research is broad! you have core expertise, and collaborate with people who have complementary expertise you have a big problem you want to solve, and want to learn enough from different disciplines to solve your problem

6 Interdisciplinary research is broad! your field/topic is "hot" with a vibrant research community your field/topic is novel and unexplored but "marginal"

7 Interdisciplinary research is broad! you are part of a large, well-positioned research group you are forging a path on your own

8 Interdisciplinary research is broad! this your main project this is a side project

9 Example: Annes experiences programming a tactile braille device for deaf- blind people complexity theory (game theory), a little parallel computing verification of cache coherence protocols, DNA computing verification cont., DNA, RNA secondary structure prediction DNA, RNA prediction and programming; combinatorial auctions

10 Example: Nancys Experiences In Grad School: Parallel algorithms for computational geometry Since then: Computational Science – Designing parallel algorithms and data structures for particle transport, seismic ray tracing, etc. Simulating Molecular Motions – Outgrowth of work on motion planning, originally applied in robotics (apply same algorithm to bio problems)

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12 Colwell told the meeting that she had major difficulties over 20 years getting funding. But, now that the success of her project was accepted, Ive gone from being a pariah to being a guru. Her hypothesis [on cholera epidemics] was at first scorned. But it is now the basis of a global project involving space scientists, oceanographers, molecular biologists, social scientists, physicians, and high speed computing scientists.

13 How to do great interdisciplinary research pick a good problem line up the resources you need learn how to work with a team know where to publish make an impact and get recognition! learn how to navigate institutional barriers manage negative feedback

14 How to do great interdisciplinary research pick a good problem –keep your eye on the big picture: read, listen and share ideas –know your own strengths and interests –identify a piece where you can make progress –its all about the data –dont be afraid to dive in

15 How to do great interdisciplinary research line up the resources you need –people, expertise –background knowledge, through courses –your thesis committee –equipment –data –funding

16 How to do great interdisciplinary research learn how to work with a team –identify your roles in the project; expect to have both secondary and primary roles –learn the jargon –help your team and document your contributions (e.g., organize the journal club; maintain a webpage) –have a back-up plan in case the team falls apart

17 How to do great interdisciplinary research know where to publish –focus on quality! –assess journal quality (journal impact factors) –learn practices around listing authors –learn how to craft your writing for the audience –be aware of differences in publication strategies: highly refereed CS conferences vs journals in other disciplines

18 How to do great interdisciplinary research make an impact and get recognition! –make your software and data available –have different versions of your talk, for different audiences –take advantage of opportunities to talk with the media

19 How to do great interdisciplinary research learn how to navigate institutional barriers –can you take the courses you need? –do your advisor and committee know how to evaluate interdisciplinary research?

20 How to do great interdisciplinary research manage negative feedback –reviewers miss the point of your work

21 How to do great interdisciplinary research pick a good problem line up the resources you need learn how to work with a team know where to publish make an impact and get recognition! learn how to navigate institutional barriers manage negative feedback

22 Getting that job (or postdoc).... do an environmental scan –who has recently graduated with a profile like yours? –how do you fit with job ads? –if you are looking for an academic job, will it be in CS? in an interdisciplinary unit? a joint appointment? cultivate supporters and letter writers from multiple disciplines; educate them about your contributions be visible in your research community articulate why your contributions are important


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