Wednesday, May 31, 2006

3 weeks to go

it's almost time for me to go home for the summer as far off as this date has seemed since i got back in january. i am diligently trying to get all my work tied up and in the best possible position for me to leave for 3 months. ideally, i would love to get my data collection started and let that be running while i am gone. it would beat having to wait three months for the data when i return. we'll see. it is still possible for things to work out like i want them to. i have started writing my first-year report finally. it coming along slowly, but i am reading some material now that should make my paper much stronger than i thought i would be able to make it at first.

Monday, May 29, 2006

i thought i was going to get work done

coming to work on a holiday, i thought that i was going to get some reading and writing done. guess again, i had to fight to stay awake while reading, then i got stuck trying to work out some equations and math that the paper contained. needless to say, i have spent 3 hours on this paper and haven't even gotten past page 3 (12 total). i think i will call it quits for today.

p.s. - The invisible cloak may be possible one day.

Friday, May 26, 2006

how did research go on before the internet???

i find it REALLY HARD to fathom how in the world research of any kind took place before the (1) internet and (2) google. anything i need to find, i can search and find on google. whether its something about my current research or if i want to know how many home runs barry bonds hit in his rookie year between the months of march and april. we are spoiled rotten by the internet......and we LOVE it. i always wonder how a researchers kept up-to-date with recent publications before the internet if they did not happen to attend the conference or workshop that the paper was in? anyway, thanks internet and thanks google. keep up the good work.

p.s. - My Supervisor is AWESOME!!!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

another question answered

ever since i started my phd, i have had this fear that i will get to the end of my degree to find out that someone has published before i have. as many researchers as there are in the world, it seems like an impossible task to find out if there is another group or individual researching the same topic as me. in the past few weeks i have defined my research space more clearly, and i have begun to read and look for papers to read with much better direction and specific topics in mind. as i read the papers, i look at the references and pick out the papers in the list that are relevant to me and my research. as one can imagine, this process is very recursive, but it has shed some light in helping me see that this is the way to know if there is anyone else researching my topic. this technique has definitely led to LOTS of reading, and there is plenty more to do. i can't wait till i get to the point where i can go through a paper's references and not have to go find anymore papers because i have read all the relevant ones already. that will be the day!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

not much to say

today was just one of those days where you get things accomplished, but the day is not terribly exciting. i continued to make progress with my research and preparing to write up my first year. maybe tomorrow will be a bit more eventful.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

the research environment is no coincidence

as i have seen this first year, the academic research environment is carefully crafted despite looking as merely a grouping of minds with like interests. the many times i have been unsure and felt lost, i was able to go and talk with an older student or research assistant, and they knew exactly how to settle any uneasiness that i may have had. i get so caught up with trying to produce a revolutionary phd at times that i forget that the other students felt exactly like i do not too long ago when they were in my shoes. the advice, words of encouragement, and the help with research ideas have been invaluable this first year. the whole phd process is very amazing when you sit and think about it. it is a growing process that kind of takes place right before your eyes. i have a new found respect for advisors and researchers because they are responsible for producing the next wave of phds to one day take their place. i sit and wonder sometimes that some lonely researcher had to be the one to get his phd before there were any advisors to advise him. i am VERY thankful that i am not him. i could not do this without the guidance and encouragement that my colleagues provide. my spirits have been renewed today, and i plan to hit the ground running tomorrow morning.

Monday, May 22, 2006

too many hours, not enough results

to have been at work for 8 hours, i do not feel like i got 8 hours worth of work accomplished. granted, progress was made, but not enough for my satisfaction. i am feeling a bit lost again at the moment because i do not have any idea what to do next. as a result of this, i am pressing myself to come up with some ideas by myself without anyone else's help. i just feel like it is time for me to break away from the other students and researchers that have been helping me and start flying on my own (maybe it is too early for this......???). either way, i stayed at work about 30 minutes longer to sit and think of some of my own ideas and where i wanted to take my research next and could not come up with anything. what a way to end the day!!! to top things all off, it wasn't raining outside when i decided to stay, and now it is pouring. lucky me.

Friday, May 19, 2006

procrastination at its finest

ok, its 8:20 and i am just leaving the office. that's what i get for putting off for someone else, what i knew i should have done in the first place. i am very tired and hungry, so this will be short. monday begins a very focused period until i leave on june 21.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

7 months in

as my first year begins to wind down......or at least me beginning to think about what to submit for my first-year report and thesis proposal......, i have definitely seen the ups and downs that i was told a phd came with. i have also seen that i am blessed to be in such an awesome group of researchers. they have been great and very instrumental in helping me adjust to my phd and also to a new country. the ideas and suggestions that different people have seem to always be right on time. others have helped me in areas that are not truly relevant to my research and i particularly may not be strong in. the enthusiasm that others have shown me as i continue to start developing my own ideas that research has been very encouraging and motivating as well.

i am dreading (come on, its about 60 pages. who wants to look forward to that?) and looking forward to (i am eager to see all the things i have learned and how much i have things together in the midst of me feeling like i have wasted the last 7 months of my life.) writing my report and proposal. i did a bit of brainstorming today, and it turns out that i may have a ground-breaking phd after all if things fall into place as i would like them to (granted, my phd may not be as monumental as some in the past, but i strongly feel many people -technical and non-technical alike- would want to read my work once done).

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

truckin' along

things are still rolling well, and i continue to make progress. i am still very pleased and optimistic about my direction and current work. i must admit that i am also proud of the results that are yet to come. this sounds so foolish writing it, but it is an honest description of the excitement that i have about what i "think" my tests/experiments will show. we'll see............................

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

it feels great

today may have been the best day of my young phd career. if not the best, it is a close second. the last few days have been awesome matter of fact. although there are a lot of things going on for me at the moment, today, i was able to sit down and put everything together and prioritize my next steps. i have been trying to come up with a way to tie all these different but related topics/ideas together for my phd for a while now, and in an impromptu conversation today, i listened as one of the ra's described to me how my advisor suggested that i bring everything together. it was like a breath of fresh air and a surge of excitement as i really felt confident and good about (1) my phd topic AND (2) myself as coming into my place as a phd student and researcher.

i came up with some awesome ideas and this sparked a couple conversations that added even more good ideas. i found out that a colleague down the hall has some tools he is no longer using that could not be any more perfect for me to begin to use in a few weeks. these tools will be my first chance at getting at some multicore architecture practice and understanding how to structure my thoughts and algorithms. this comes all as i prepare for my internship this summer. to top things all off, i successfully tested the circuit boards that some colleagues and i prototyped. so, now, i can begin the tests that i really have wanted to start.

i am really motivated right now and glad that i have some since of meaningful direction and work. i hope things stay this way for productivity's sake and encouragement to continue on and work harder.

Monday, May 15, 2006

so much to do

i guess i asked for it. things have picked up tremendously work-wise in the last couple of days. if the work that i need to get done is not enough, i keep finding out that there are more things for me to read, more tools to learn, and more thoughts and ideas to think about. hopefully, i can finish up all i need to do before i leave. only 5 more weeks.

Friday, May 12, 2006

overdrive........or at least i want to be

i had to catch myself several times today as i was trying to finish my phd in a day again. since getting back to work, i have been very excited about my research and what tests/experiments that i am running at the moment and preparing to run in the coming weeks. i guess that is not such a bad thing that i am eager to dive into things, but i am fighting to learn how to calm down and really sit back and think things through. the fact that i have to sit and wait for my tests to run should be helping me to be patient, but it is causing me to want to rush more. maybe, i feel a need to hurry up because i am leaving june 21, and i have this "image" of where i would like to be once i leave for the summer? and i know that there is a lot of work to be done before i can be where i would.

ANYWAY, its about time to sit down and read a LOT more. i printed off some papers to begin reading monday, and there are many other papers that i need to find. i am starting to understand how the reading is meant to supplement and facilitate your own research ideas a bit better. i guess before, since i had no ideas, i really could not understand the process yet. as far as my ideas go, i still am in the process of firming up a direct path, but i must remember that my knowledge at the moment is not at the level where i could have a firm idea. hopefully, my continued reading and summer research in berkeley will help me along. also, my tests and experiments i am in the process of collecting are the foundation for my current ideas for my phd topic. so, let's hope things fall into place because i would hate to have to start from scratch. however, as Rod Adkins described my current situation to me while i was in new york, "it is an iterative process"

p.s. - this article sums up some of my thoughts and feelings PERFECTLY. thanks veda

Thursday, May 11, 2006

back to business

i'm finally back from a much needed break. it was GREAT. needless to say, i had a pile of emails to sift through and many things on my to-do list for today. all things considered (being away for a week, jetlag, etc.), i think i did a pretty good job of jumping right back into work. AND, i actually made some good progress today. i have yet to sit down and think some more things through as far as my next moves. i really need to do this for organization's sake as well as my own sanity because i am beginning to feel the "what next" coming on. granted, the "what next" is about 3-4 months away, i guess i am just trying to prevent myself from "wasting" energy or driving into a dead end. i am really excited and proud of what i have going on right now. i simply need to begin "packaging" the research better and preparing to write everything up (what i have done, what i am doing now, what i plan to do, what is the big picture) in my first-year report/phd outline

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

almost there

my research is still coming together, and i am seeing a few glimpses of growth in me as a researcher. i have much more growing and learning to do though. after a meeting with one of the research assistants this morning, i have changed my previous ideas for one paper to ideas for two papers. the first paper which i can complete by the end of the year. i should be able to get started on the second by the end of the year as well. however, for the second, i need to sit down and think a bit more to really understand which way to proceed for the most effective and relevant presentation. my testing and experimenting phase will be put into overdrive once i can get all the resources i need so i can begin collecting, analyzing, and reviewing the data for these papers.

i am headed to new york for a week, so i will be back next wednesday or thursday.