Presentation on theme: "1 Interdisciplinary Research: Opportunities and Challenges Nancy Amato Department of Computer Science and Engineering Texas A&M University Lori Clarke."— Presentation transcript:
1 Interdisciplinary Research: Opportunities and Challenges Nancy Amato Department of Computer Science and Engineering Texas A&M University Lori Clarke The Department of Computer Science U. Massachusetts
2 Why consider interdisciplinary research? What are the benefits and drawbacks? The Good, the Bad and the Ugly How to address the pitfalls as a graduate student How to make sure you'll get a rewarding job when you graduate? What well talk about
3 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 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)
5 Example: Loris Experiences In Grad School: Software engineering, symbolic execution and testing Since then: Verification of distributed systems, req. eng., dev. env. Recently Applying SE techniques to different domains Medical Safety- verification and safety analysis of life-critical processes; Doctors, Nurses, Pharmacists, Industrial Engineers Scientific Workflow - modeling support, data provenance; Ecologists On-line dispute resolution - trust and security, experimentation platform; Mediators, Legal Studies, Psychologists
6 An opportunity to significantly impact another field Exciting and invigorating Provides a new perspective on your research New issues, new opportunities Often receive more appreciation than from the computing community Helps attract students
7 Need to be sure that there is an interesting research contribution Dont want to just provide programming support Can take a significant amount of time to cross the terminology and technology divide Delays progress and publications Funding may have difficulties Other disciplines may have different expectations for research assistants Other disciplines may be more interested in evaluating the use of technology, not developing the technology
8 Publication Venues Hard to determine the best venues where to publish the interdisciplinary work Consider the Impact Factor Other discipline interested in result, not the cs contributions Authorship can get messy Different communities have different expectations Ecology and Medicine: long list of authors Legal studies: single author Citation systems may not consider non-cs disciplines
9 Impact on future jobs? Interdisciplinary research is becoming more widely accepted, BUT CS departments still want CS background Need to be able to teach CS courses and do CS research Need to have published in CS venues Hard to please multiple communities Each may assume your real contributions are in the other area Researchers outside of CS may not feel qualified to evaluate the CS research contributions, and vice versa Usually, decision to be hired by a department is made by ALL the faculty, not just those in your research area
10 Realize there is a risk in pursuing interdisciplinary research Be aware of pitfalls and plan accordingly!
11 Have a strategy to build your research portfolio Put all your eggs in one basket esp. if the interdisciplinary area is well-respected by the cs community (e.g., bioinformatics) Both communities will still need to appreciate your contributions Hedge your bets Present your work to each community Medical community Medical safety research Software engineering community
12 Carefully pick your cs advisor Want an advisor who is aware of these concerns and can help you deal with them Look at their publications and where their students publish and take jobs
13 Discuss and decide authorship policy Revisit the policy frequently Decide on authorship for each paper before writing the paper Make sure there is a community that will praise and acknowledge your cs research contributions Pick interesting, difficult, and enduring problems that will have an impact
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