Master’s in C.S.

I think I have finally burnt out! So I must use hindsight.

These have been 4 tough months. Unlike India, where work was interjected with other concerns and occasional play, all I have done lately is work single-mindedly on my thesis and make a fair attempt to build my career. This usually takes up my whole day, 7 days a week, all days of the month.

Coupled with a surely too disciplined focus, things are starting to fall apart around me. Summer pay has been refused and I am going to have to draw out my savings. As if that was not bad enough, the heat wave is taking a toll on my overall well-being. If I stick to the basics, plan goals well, stay motivated, work smart, I am sure I will make the deadlines.

I like to think that I think I made it quite far in terms of balancing the discipline that is the hallmark of the west, and my hard working background. I was never born with much, neither did I have too less, lucky in that respect.

In the movie 'A House of Sand and Fog' the protagonist, aptly played by Ben Kingsley, is of Iranian origin. His slight contempt for the American way of life is evident from his quote, from the movie: "Americans have the eyes of little children, always distracted by the next toy that they see. They don't want to have any of the responsibility". I think he is being a little too harsh. He fails to highlight the other end of the spectrum.

I acknowledge that I would not trade my experience in RIT for a Master's in any other school outside the USA. One late evening with Rishabh and Arun while travelling through the University District in Seattle, I vehemently argued that a Master's here is not worth all the sacrifice. I acknowledge that I was wrong! It's not just education that people come seeking here, it is something a lot bigger than that, it is the opportunity to be all you can be.

My judgement was obscured by broken promises made by a few others, who I will most likely forget with time. I forgot that in the end, this society is built around the individual. Thus, in the end what your share is, is exactly what your willing to work for, to build for yourself. Selfish, but factual.

A few farewells have been said, Vin & Vis are graduating. Vishal graduated, having defended his thesis. I wish Vineet all the best with the future.

Almost 2 years at RIT, tonight is Senior Night…

My Master's were the 2 years where I gained the most value in all my life. The end is finally in sight, I don't have to wonder where I am going to be. Especially since, I am already on my way.

MS hurts prospects

We are trained to think in terms of associations, a Bachelor’s degree increases your probability of getting a job. A Bachelor’s and Master’s degree, it seems, the probability of getting a job is high too.

However, There maybe a negative dependence between getting a Master’s Degree and job prospects, although it is true that they pay more. The apriori probability of getting a job with a Bachelor’s degree is greater than the probability of doing a Master’s given that you already have a Bachelor’s degree!! I don’t have the data to confirm this, but I think it would not be too hard to prove! This is based on the notion that employers would prefer to hire either freshers or senior professionals rather than a Master’s student with a focus on one area of C.S.

For those who don’t look at the comments

Inspiring blog … The first week at RIT seems a ritual … Happens everytime with every1 ..
Am a newbie here at RIT drilled with a quarter of lost weekends, Insomnia and coding nightmares …
Couldn’t help but notice that 4.0 figure …
You must be GOD 😉
Bye, gotta go, Time for some willowy magic from dravid …
Keep the blog going, It makes good reading …

… always amok

Posted by Blade Runner at December 15, 2003 04:29 AM
Dear Newbie to RIT,

First of all, god bless you for adding a comment to an almost barren blog!

Next, don’t worry your life will return to normal once you have acheived your goal here in Rochester. Soon you will find that spending 30 minutes at a Shopping Mall will not result in a delayed Algorithms assignment. You will discover to your amazement that money is peripheral especially when you are no longer paying tuition. With chagrin you will find yourself with better things to do on a Friday night instead of debugging your Distributed Systems project.

You will, in short be enlightened as to why in the University of Life, a 4.0 GPA means nothing.

But always remember, RIT CS makes you slog now so that you don’t have to slog later!

Until that time, hold fort!

– Santosh

Posted by Santosh at December 15, 2003 11:06 AM


KDD 2003 – Accepted Papers
#117 Efficient Elastic Burst Detection in Data Streams
Authors: Yunyue Zhu, Dennis Shasha
#178 XRules: An Effective Structural Classifier for XML Data
Authors: Mohammed Zaki, Charu Aggarwal
#153 Proximus: A Framework for Analyzing Very High Dimensional Discrete-Attributed Datasets
Authors: Mehmet Koyuturk, Ananth Grama
#180 Fast Vertical Mining Using Diffsets
Authors: Mohammed Zaki, Karam Gouda
#264 Towards Systematic Design of Distance Functions for Data Mining Applications Authors:
Charu Aggarwal
#292 On Detecting Differences Between Groups
Authors: Geoff Webb, Shane Butler, Douglas Newlands
#358 Eliminating Noisy Information in Web Pages for Data Mining
Authors: Lan Yi, Bing Liu, Xiaoli Li
#375 Mining Concept-Drifting Data Streams using Ensemble Classifiers
Authors: Haixun Wang, Wei Fan, Philip Yu, Jiawei Han
#390 Maximizing the Spread of Influence through a Social Network
Authors: David Kempe, Jon Kleinberg, Eva Tardos
#457 Privacy-Preserving K-Means Clustering over Vertically Partitioned Data
Authors: Jaideep Vaidya, Chris Clifton
#469 To Buy or Not to Buy: Mining Airline Fare Data to Minimize Ticket Purchase Price
Authors: Oren Etzioni, Craig Knoblock, Rattapoon Tuchinda, Alexander Yates
#326 An Iterative Hypothesis-Testing Strategy for Pattern Discovery
Authors: Richard Bolton, Niall Adams

Are CS folks Mathematicians

> Since CS is (or at least should be) learning how to apply known algorithms to problems and the development of new algorithms to solve problems, CS should be very similar to math, and computer scientists ought to seem fairly similar to mathematicians.

For researchers in the ‘theory’ and ‘algorithms’ sub-fields of CS, I’d say they are mathematicians. They work with axioms and theorems and stuff just like other mathematicians do.

Other CS researchers are empiricists instead, e.g. most of those who do data mining or statistical natural language processing. And of course there’s lots of other stuff in between. (E.g., network researchers may start off with an algorithmic concept but then run simulations to demonstrate their algorithm’s effectiveness.)

There’s a family of jokes to the effect that PhDs in computer science don’t know anything about computers or programming or whatever. In actuality the individual’s engagement with computers/programming will vary very much with the sub-field he’s in. These days a theorist will need to be able to use LaTeX to write papers and read e-mail to see the conference announcements, but doesn’t need to program at all. OTOH someone doing experiments with genetic algorithms will probably write their own code for their experiments, and may even turn into a hardware geek by building beowulf clusters to run the massively CPU-intensive experiments on.

> Most early CS people, as I understand it, were math people with an interest in computers.

I think you can still find a lot of older CS professors with degrees in applied mathematics. Computers were around long before CS departments even existed.

“It has become very very clear that this war isn’t over.” — British officer in Iraq, June 24 2003