Conformant Thesis RSS

leaving a trace while finishing it

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Jan
15th
Thu
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Releasing Code

About the rest of my work: We have made a submission to an important conference (not a part of my thesis). I have bid on papers for reviewing for the same conference. The term has started, and I’m trying to do my best so that the students learn and approve, both.

I should have release the software I’ve done for my thesis some months ago. This is done, so I’ll do that in case any body wants to have a look at it. It’s not that bad, but it’s messy in some sense.

Also, I have set up a working meeting with a friend in my research group who is also trying to finish her PhD Thesis. Tomorrow is our first day.

At least I’m doing something.

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Jan
3rd
Sat
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Dec
18th
Thu
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Pulling yourself

Draft of chapter 1 finished. By finished I mean that it seems to have almost what I want to be in there. Let’s not talk about well said and so.

Working on next chapter, definition of the problem, is being harder. I decided to finish the part I know better: syntax, semantics, etc. Then attack the approaches I have to review for sure. Finally, I’ll put everything in perspective. That’s far harder.

In practice, I’ll collect comments we have made across all the papers we have published, to have something to work on. That would not be enough. When I started working on this problem, I just knew its definition and have a minimal idea of its relation with other topics. Increasingly, reading papers and working myself, I started to understand what was going around. Now, writing the dissertation, I need to behave as if it were known territory. It is, somehow, but there are tons of gaps. One thing is to claim something over a coffee or a beer, or to get a feeling while working on specific benchmarks. Totally different is to establish sharp opinions about the work of other people.

Let’s not run. Otherwise I’ll get stuck again.

(This was written yesterday, on Dec 17th).

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Offline and Online

I’m online while writing this. Coming back to the IVIC library to start working on thesis again. Being offline is good for finishing thesis, unless you need to find a reference, of course.

Now that we’ve got a car, it took me 15m to arrive here. (Well, leaving home at 10.30 really helped). The mountains are on my left side, the journals on my right. The main distraction, being connected, is at home and at office. Some of them are with me anyway. First, myself, wondering about pregnancy of birds (a made phrase we use in Venezuela). There is also a document on my Desktop title “Como escribir para la Web” (How to write for the Web). On my left there is some material I have to read for the new theology course we, me and my wife, just started. That’s for the brake.

The fear has also come with me. The immobility, the inability of doing something towards finishing. In the last few days I had at least a warming up session, considering some problems we have for a paper for next IJCAI conference.

So, I’m connecting myself now to the thesis world. Let’s try to do one step today.

(This was written on 16/12/2008)

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Offline and Online

I’m online while writing this. Coming back to the IVIC library to start working on thesis again. Being offline is good for finishing thesis, unless you need to find a reference, of course.

Now that we’ve got a car, it took me 15m to arrive here. (Well, leaving home at 10.30 really helped). The montains are on my left side, the journals on my right. The main distraction, being connected, is at home and at office. Some of them are with me anyway. First, myself, wondering about pregnancy of birds (a made phrase we use in Venezuela). There is also a document on my Desktop title “Como escribir para la Web” (How to write for the Web). On my left there is some material I have to read for the new theology course we, me and my wife, just started. That’s for the brake.

The fear has also come with me. The inmovity, the inability of doing something towards finishing. In the last few days I had at least a warming up session, considering some problems we have for a paper for next IJCAI conference.

So, I’m connecting myself now to the thesis world. Let’s try to do one step today.

(This was written on 16/12/2008)

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Dec
17th
Wed
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Good-Old-Fashioned Artificial Intelligence vs New AI

All started with this tweet from Eduardo Izquierdo, who also has a blog:
BBC’s Horizon “Where’s my robot?” focused far too much on Good-Old-Fashioned-AI, and not enough on Evolutionary Ro botics. Shame. cerca de 8 horas ago from web

Then we discussed about it on Twitter. It’s a little bit messy, as are conversations over twitter. Even worst, 140c make it even worst, but we don’t have to reach a conclusion after a few interchanges.

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Nov
29th
Sat
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Pain, Fear, Hope

It’s been almost a month since last post. That density is proportional to the amount of work done. I feel almost stuck, with some episodes of awareness. Episodes that have been sign of hope, but that have cause no real change so far.

I’ve been complaining about the daily traffic jump, and the hours invested on preparing to teach the Logic course. These are not the final reasons. That could have cause, let’s say, 50% less productivity.

Real reasons seems to be:
Fear of writing, specially in English. For example, I’ve work on introductory material, setting up definitions and frameworks, but everything I write sounds like crap.
Fear of not being able to write a dissertation. When I see small or big holes, weak argumentation, etc, I feel I will never be able to close the loop and have something meaningful.

Meanwhile, I’ve been solving out infrastructure problems. I’m finally buying a car -from by brother- that will allow to choose want to stay or leave. I want to expend days in the IVIC library. It was great to work there. I still need to unlock my cell phone, buy a printer, change a router, visit our cable provider for a refund, etc.

These weeks I have work on the course I’m teaching, and the final exam is next monday. I’ll grade all the exams as fast as possible, and offer the revision oportunity, and that’s it. Done with teaching by this year.

Christmas is approaching very fast. We haven’t decide what are we going to do. Where with who, how many of us, etc. Anyway, I’ll try to hard work, to gain speed again. Not talking about deadlines or whatever this time.

My advisor wrote me an email a few days ago asking about the situation. I told him basically what I’m writing here. He insisted on having big blocks for working, alone, in a quite place, setting up deadlines, and don’t play too much with the document.

Another problem is that I’m lacking some of my basic infrastructure for recentering myself. I haven’t take space for silence and listening to the deepest causes of my fight for doing something in life. Me and my wife are about to start meeting again with church group related with one we had back in Barcelona. That sounds good, and will help me. But this is not a self-help actitivy, even though it has therapy effects. It’s more about what do I want to do with my life, and who I want to do it with. This is serious, and I like it.

I have tons of dreams for my after-thesis life, but all seems to be so far away. As I get stuck on this work, I accumulate lack of confidence in myself as a researcher. That’s probably not that true. And anyway, I’ve been able to overcome my limitations and do some work. I can’t deny that. I just have to work, and be careful my defects don’t interfere that much. This is possible, I have seen it in my life.

So, this weekend we will finish the exam. I’ll read some proof for a paper pending on in Barcelona, and try to finish a project to get some funding in my university. That’s like work. After I finish the exam, real work will come.

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Oct
30th
Thu
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New post: Overwhelmed

I guess it has to happen. I though it was going to be different this
time. Anyway, I feel deeply and widely overwhelmed by the situation.
I’ve started to convert my articles into chapters, and writing
introductory material for everything. It’s like being on a building that
just blew up and you have never seen. Getting some readable and
convincing sounds like creating a building from these pieces.

On the other hand, there is the course we are having now. I feel
terribly sad about my students, specially those who work very hard, and
got frustrated about yesterday exam. Something is terribly bad, and it’s
my duty to try to fix it. Nothing personal. It is just not normal that
most people that will pass the course, have seen it three times. What do
we really need of them to learn? That’s not clear for me. Anyway, I’m
starting teaching next week, and I’ll do my best.

Bad combo on having a thesis to write on the same time. Bye, bye to
submitting something in January.

There were interesting projects that are starting to appear around me.
Not yet. So, they are officially filed until I get some speed on the
main task I have to work on.

Of course, I shall overcome all this. I know. It’s just hard nowadays.

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Oct
16th
Thu
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New post: Not really

Did I said we set a deadline for the 1st draft? Well, I didn’t do almost anything yesterday, the same today. Why? Well… It was difficult to start, so I got into reading some stuff I need for a proof.

Today I lost the whole morning buying groceries. Actually, waiting for buying meat was kind of similar to a traffic jump, including the fact that I took the chance to read in my palm TX. After lunch I came here, went to class with my future students and chat with them about how to improve their chance of approve.

Ah, I also got more scared about the last part I have to teach. That’s not good. This is going to take time to manage all the material.

I’m sad and almost pissed off. I really need to keep centered, but I left in Barcelona all the structure for keeping me on track on my life, except for my wife and, in a general sense, God. Praying would help, I’m sure, but hasn’t found the space yet.

Houston, we have a problem.

……….

It’s OK, or it’s going to be OK. I just needed to say it loudly.

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Oct
14th
Tue
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Deadline for a first draft

November 2nd is our deadline for having a first full draft. I’m totally scared.

I need to find a balance between a self-contained thesis, more readable but with more text to be brushed, and a just-my-contributions thesis, more sharp for people who knows about the field. The straight way is to put all the publications in the form on chapters and fill up some pending gaps as proofs, etc. For me this is not enough, but I have to resist to the temptation of expanding it into vagueness and emptyness.

So, for the first draft I’m just going to put everything that will be included for sure in the form of chapters. I hope this will give me a more realistic view of what is need for finishing, incluiding both the proof-reading and filling conceptual gaps.

November 2nd.

I’ll keep this update with the advances.

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