Category Archives: Inspirational

The Amazing Miss A

Via this post in Michael Trick’s Operations Research Blog, I discovered a truly mesmerizing article about teaching: The Amazing Miss A And Why We Should Care About Her. I hope you would enjoy it as much as I do.

And after you have read Michael’s post and the article, I invite you to think about CS education.

The University of TED

I can’t find enough superlatives for the TED conferences. Great talks, great speakers! I listened to literally all the posted talks and keep going back to check for new ones. I start to feel like an undergrad in the “University of TED”, and I am not skipping a single class! :P

Really, check it out!

P.S. With so many good talks, it’s actually hard to make a recommendation. But assuming that we all care about education, this talk by Sir Ken Robinson on Do schools kill creativity? should get you hooked.

I have written you a long paper…

Roy Levin, a friendly CMU alum, told us a story a couple weeks ago:

A job applicant was asked to write a 10-page description of a project he previously participated. The documentation of that project was well over a thousand pages and so he said there was no way to describe it in 10 pages… (The rest is history. :P )

Then Roy offered the following wisdom:

In a field that prides itself with the very idea of abstractions, everything can be explained in 10 pages. In fact, everything can be explained in one page. Good authors abstract the material to an appropriate level.

I suppose everyone agrees with his advice, but I wasn’t fully aware of that property of my field until he said it. I could have been doing it subconsciously before, but I do it consciously from that day on.

Yet it takes time and skill to do the abstraction right. I’ve seen positive and negative examples. In this regard, I remember a quote from Mark Twain, or Blaise Pascal, or really, Google:

I have written you a long letter because I did not have time to write a short one.

Some days I need to keep screaming in my head: I can explain this lucidly in 10 pages!

Principles of Effective Research by Michael Nielsen

The philosophy underlying the essay is based on a famous quote attributed to Aristotle: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.’’ Underlying all our habits are models (often unconscious) of how the world works.

Thanks to Aristotle, and Nielsen. :P

You and Your Research

Note: it seeems that the web has no lack of copies of this excellent talk. This one is copied from A PDF version is available at and here is a local copy.

This talk really makes me think a lot… but…

Richard Hamming

“You and Your Research”

Transcription of the
Bell Communications Research Colloquium
7 March 1986

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‘You’ve got to find what you love,’ Jobs says

‘You’ve got to find what you love,’ Jobs says

This is the text of the Commencement address by Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios, delivered on June 12, 2005 [at Stanford].

I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I’ve ever gotten to a college graduation. Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That’s it. No big deal. Just three stories.

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