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501[Computational Complexity] The Secrets of Success

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  • Lance
    Jul 31, 2005
      What does it take to be a successful in our profession?
      • Intelligence. You need an innate talent in different forms to succeed as a scientist.
        • Problem Solving. Using well-established techniques in the appropriate way to find solutions.
        • Creativity. Original research means one needs to look beyond the current set of tools and develop new approaches to problems.
        • Vision. Discovering new problems and directions of research.
      • Hard work. Enough said.
      • Luck. Working on the right problem at the right time. If you work long enough` the law of averages will catch up with you (for good or for bad).
      • Discipline. The discipline to focus on research for a period of time without getting distracted from other responsibilities or by the internet or other activities. Some people find it best to schedule time for research and hole themselves up somewhere to think about a problem.
      • Commitment. Be willing to spend a considerable amount of time on a problem even if you keep running into dead ends.
      • Training. Taking and working hard in classes. Having and taking advantage of a good advisor. Reading papers and textbooks. When you see a theorem in a paper try to prove it yourself first. Only then can you truly appreciate a proof and learn from it.
      • Colleagues. Having co-authors, especially those that complement your talents, can help you do more than you could on your own. But just having good people to talk to, to bounce off proof ideas and discuss research directions can greatly help you find the right approach to a problem.

      Posted by Lance to Computational Complexity at 7/31/2005 12:30:00 PM